An Agile Approach to Recruitment …

By Bridget Young1D6A0741

As recruiters, our clients provide us with a lot of ‘buzz’ words when describing roles that they would like us to recruit for. I was speaking to a BI Architect recently, who made an interesting point and valid connection to one of the current buzz words, which led my thoughts to actions I have been taking throughout my career.

Disregarding the usage of this word relating to software development and project management methodology, I have observed in my first quarter with Eden Ritchie that the term is being lent to the ideology and in some cases, the strategic directives organisations have started to progress to reduce risk aversion and stimulate innovation in IT business units and project teams.

To paraphrase my candidate, who had attended some interviews directly with employers and through other agencies, only to find that he was too experienced or too expensive:

“If only employers would apply an Agile approach to developing job briefs and position descriptions; I think that defining the role and responsibilities correctly are essential to finding the right candidate. Its’ what we do when we define a solution from business requirements using this methodology. We don’t need SAP for a small business even thought it is a best of breed solution – so why look for an Architect when you really just need someone to analyse data?”

A light bulb went off and I was excited – I had already been toying with some basic understanding of aspects of Agile in settling in to my role at Eden Ritchie. Tom and I have daily stand ups (though normally whilst we’re sitting down having coffee!); we work in “sprints” to manage our workload and fulfil KPI’s; and we maintain a visual representation of our issues, opportunities, deadlines and challenges on a white board so that at a glance, we know where we’re up to, what needs the most attention, and to pool ideas for how we can do things smarter.

Now, here was a high level candidate articulating my exact thoughts about defining client requirements for recruitment and my initial thoughts were, “Hey, I’m really on to something here, maybe I could revolutionise the approach to ICT recruitment if I looked into it further!” (Naturally providing full reference and credit to my wonderful candidate!). 

Sadly, or happily in this instance, it seems there is nothing new in the buzz word or it’s application to recruitment, as evidenced in the links provided below.

Reference 1

Reference 2

Reference 3

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Queensland’s Economic Growth through Innovation and Technology

1D6A0741An encouraging sign for IT professionals in Queensland is indicated by the recent release of GoDigitalQld – the Queensland Government’s Digital Economy Strategy and Action Plan. This roadmap, developed in conjunction with an independent consultancy, outlines ways forward to creating economic growth for Queensland communities, businesses and individuals alike. Queensland Government aims to work closely with other levels of Government, Business and Industry peak bodies to leverage opportunities, deliver better digital services and share information that will benefit all, including candidates in the job market seeking their next project, and clients seeking candidates with developing experience in emerging IT specialisations.

Demonstrated by the delivery of more than 50 new services online and with aims to reach 100 by the end of this year, we are already enjoying the “One-Stop Shop” initiative as consumers, which has resulted in reduction of red tape and time-saving for many, while the Government Wireless Network will deliver vital updates to improve multiple agency coordination by connecting thousands of police, ambulance, fire and emergency officers to the one secure digital network for the first time. In Health, we have started seeing better access to medical services via video link and pilot hospital constructions dedicated to innovation of services with Digital support enhancements. Tourism has received specific benefit from these initiatives reaching some of our far and wide destinations with ways to reach more visitors and promote our state. And for businesses, the Government will open up it’s data for public use with more than 800 datasets available on the Open Data Portal, which will help people use government data to create business opportunities and mobile applications.

With these offerings and innovations, we hope that we will see opportunities and growth in Queensland job markets continue as these strategies are embraced and delivered in our communities and businesses.

Happy 18th Birthday Eden Ritchie Recruitment!!

JustineBy Justine Eden

Hard to believe that our business is 18!  It only seems like yesterday that Kim and I decided to leave our jobs, put everything on the line and start our own business.  It was a big risk but I believe that had we not have taken that path neither of us would still be in the industry.  Recruitment is a rewarding and relentless profession, and sometimes not overly professional!  With two sets of customers, it is often impossible to meet everyone’s expectations.

When we started electronic job boards, social media and electronic networking did not exist.  I was never convinced that these new developments would mean the death knell for recruiters, as many in the business community predicted.  In business you have to adapt and reinvent yourself and leverage new developments to maximize your opportunities, and technology has given recruitment that.

I believe that to remain relevant you have to have your foundation – which to me are my values.  These include (but are not limited) to quality, responsiveness, empathy, professionalism and trust.  Back in 1996, Kim and I felt like our industry just wasn’t offering much of that, and that we could address that by starting our own business.  To a large extent we have succeeded and stayed true to our values, even when sometimes that drove people working for us crazy as we are not prepared to compromise.  You can’t keep everyone happy.

Kim and I have always been accused of not stopping to “smell the roses”, and over the 18 years I have learnt that relying on what you had last week is dangerous.  Two of the best decisions we have made in business was to leverage relationships and move into different recruitment specialisations.  The other was to not heavily gear ourselves and be beholden to the banks.  Growing organically is a more conservative way to go, but with low debt you can sleep at night.

Ultimately I think anyone who is in recruitment for the long term sticks at it because of the people.  I have been fortunate to meet a huge number of people working in all sorts of organisations and in every profession.  I love hearing their stories (sure some are more interesting than others) – but the relationships you build over time are precious.   It means a lot to me when I get a referral and I love the fact that many of our foundation customers still do business with us.

So thanks to the candidates, the employers and our team, because your support and encouragement fuels our fire.

So what does it take to be a great Project Manager?

Managing projects can be a complex and difficult task. So what is it that allows great Project Managers to build reputations people that will deliver results on time and within budget?

After discussions with a number of successful and senior Project Managers recently, there is a general agreement on the key attributes that successful project managers possess.

1) They understand the business! They have the patience and communication skills to listen to the key stakeholders and understand what the business is trying to achieve from the project. There is no point in delivering a product or service that will not fit the requirements of the organisation.

2) They are Problem solvers! Projects can vary in size and complexity and it is important that project managers are able to think outside the box to come up with solutions to overcome obstacles.

3) Flexibility! Some projects can change on almost a daily basis and thus, project managers need to be flexible when approaching a project. Project management methodologies are a great way to set the direction for the project but they are not strict procedures. Project Managers must have the flexibility to alter their approach to overcome any obstacles that arise.

4) They are delivery focussed! The reputations of project managers are made or broken on their ability to successfully deliver outcomes to the business. It is imperative that project managers liaise with key stakeholders to set the desired outcomes and do everything they can to achieve them!

5) Outstanding communication and leadership skills! Project managers must be able to engage with key stakeholders to get support from senior management. They also must be able to bring out the best in their teams. This means supporting and delegating to team members to make the most of project resources.

6) Ownership!! Project managers have to take complete ownership of their projects and have the drive and passion to do everything they can to ensure that the outcomes are achieved within time, budget and resource constraints. This is where project managers build their reputations as someone who will get the job done!

Do you have what it takes to be a great Project Manager? With so many large projects kicking off, the industry is booming in South East Queensland. It is certainly an exciting time to be involved in project management!!

Project Management – Challenges galore!!

What makes managing projects such a complex and challenging job? Projects can vary substantially in how difficult they are to successfully deliver, hence, the importance of the Project Manager understanding the organisation, the stakeholders, the time frame, the budget, the history and the outcomes required from the project.

Upon joining the project team, whether the project is at inception or already in progress, there are a number of things that Project Managers must do to set the groundwork for successful outcomes.

Firstly, they have to consult with the key stakeholders to best understand what outcomes are required from the project.

Secondly, the scope of the project needs to be agreed (including time frames, milestones, budget) as well as the most effective approach to achieve the desired outcomes. Project management methodologies such as Prince 2 will assist in setting the direction of what approach will be taken. Methodologies, however, are not strict procedures, they are simply there to facilitate the deliverables of the project.

Finally, it is important that Project Managers understand the environment and unwritten ground rules. This can take the form of policy and procedures that must be followed as well as the key stakeholders within and outside of the organisation. This can be particularly important within the government sector as many protocols differ from that of the private sector.

So what makes a project challenging for a Project Manager? Almost always, this will revolve around people, egos and agendas! Bringing team members together to form an effective team, gaining support and working with key stakeholders as well as dealing with processes and protocols. Therefore, it is imperative that Project Managers have excellent influencing, leadership, communication and negotiation skills as well as the ability to engage with people across all levels of the organisation.

Speaking to a Project Director recently, his most challenging project had revolved around coordinating the expectations of people at a variety of levels both externally and internally. Managing teams, stakeholders and multiple vendors is never easy task, but that is what separates the great Project Managers from the rest and a demonstrated track record in this respect is what organisations look for when recruiting.

So what makes a good Project Manager? Look out for next week’s edition when I discuss the attributes of great Project Managers and what allows them to deliver successful projects!

Exciting times for Project Managers!!

It is an exciting time to be involved in the ICT industry in Queensland at the moment!

Despite all the talk over the past twelve months of companies letting people go and budgets being cut, there appears to be plenty of opportunities starting to take shape as many organisations kick-off major projects.

There is an abundance of projects in road infrastructure, gas and mining, healthcare and local government as both the government and private sectors seek to provide infrastructure to the ever-increasing population, particularly in South East Queensland.

An interesting topic that came up recently was how these projects are managed to ensure they are completed on time and within budget constraints.

Particularly as so many organisations are currently recruiting for Project Managers and Project Directors to lead major projects and considering that there have been so many people looking for project management roles.

So what separates the best from the rest?

The goal of a project is obviously to ensure that the deliverables are achieved within time and budget constraints. Considering so many project managers are brought on to manage a specific project, it must be a hard task to come in and understand the business and it’s requirements and then manage issues around people, budgets and timeframes.

Not an easy job at all!

What does it take to complete a project successfully? What are the most challenging aspects of successfully delivering projects? And what separates the really successful Project Managers from the rest? An interesting topic that I plan to explore over the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned as I discuss some of the issues that project managers face and the attributes of a good project manager – straight from those who have successfully managed large-scale projects!!