There are valid, non-linear approaches to projects that are used every day in many businesses. Could such a structure assist you in your job search?
In an Agile methodology, people are valued over process, change to the initial plan is treated as a ‘given,’ and iterating back (and back again) to update and improve a deliverable (such as a resume, LinkedIn profile, etc.) is expected. You aren’t expected to know how useful something will be, until you first make use of it. If you’d like to bring more of these dynamics into your job search, please read further.
Agile’s first tenet is that “People are valued over process.” This means that people should not be put under too much stress, as that will make them less productive. Although you won’t get away from all stress in job search, the emphasis is that YOU (and your sanity, well-being, etc.) are valued over, say, staying up extra late just to update your resume for the 10th time because it may not be perfect.
Also, a team-based approach, and being physically co-located with people on your team, are highly valued Agile aspects. These types of work environments enable the high amount of communication and information-sharing necessary for a successful Agile approach. You may have heard that staying in touch with other members of your Job Search Work Team, and “networking” with others to share information, is critical to helping your transition. Those points are very consistent with Agile.
Building something that is ‘good enough’ for now, realizing that you can return to improve it later, is another dynamic of Agile. To me, editing an existing document is always easier than trying to make the first draft perfect. For your (Agile) job search, you first have to complete an iteration of something before you can go back and improve upon it. Trying to “hold something back until it is error-free” tends to hide errors that you aren’t seeing yet (because you aren’t using the deliverable). Only by completing an iteration can you learn what works, and what isn’t working, so complete an iteration, no matter how small it may seem.
The more traditional form of project management is called ‘waterfall,’ and is much more linear in approach. Here, a full project plan is created for the project, and the emphasis is upon executing to the initial project schedule, and large changes to that plan are discouraged. Waterfall works best for projects that have been done previously, such as building a house, or planning a banquet. Although you may led a job search previously, the dynamics can be significantly different each time.
Agile is recommended for projects whose details are not sufficiently clarified at the beginning of the project or journey. We know that job search, and uncertainty are very good friends.
I witnessed many folks in transition beat themselves up for not having the ‘perfect’ resume format, credentials, or interviewing techniques. Agile methodology may provide a good structure to build your job search efforts and progress, as it seems more aligned with handling the dynamics of job search. You can find out more on Agile with an easy online search.
Allan Channell is a new ‘Blog to Work’ contributor. He has experience in software development, project management, and interests in communications, Tai Chi, and humor.
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