Agile for Human Resources

As an employee and as a team leader I have never been satisfied with the yearly appraisal system widely spread in large companies. I propose to complete it with additional tools for Department managers, team leaders and Human Resources managers.

Yearly appraisal system

The yearly meeting with your team leader defines objective for the year after. A year later you may end up concluding that your project and professional activities didn’t provide you with the opportunity to realise your objectives. Even worse, the yearly appraisal system might be connected to your yearly salary review policy and benefit plan. In such case, not meeting your professional objectives might impact you financially.

In the yearly appraisal system, people leaving the company are not often interviewed to verify how the objectives were met, how the company ensures that it will reach the objective associated to this personal targets ? And what about the resources engaged in these personal objectives which are not met, are they reallocated to the other team member to meet the team objectives of the current year ? The team will observe the results only in the next yearly evaluation, in the best cases.

Continous team feedback to gather project and team member needs

The key of agility for companies evolving in complex environment with a rapid pace of change is to continuously review the need for team member skills:

  • The identification of the team skills needed to complete projects of the pipeline allow the company to identify the future skills required by the projects about to start.
  • While projects are running, team members can lead frequent one on one meetings with each of the team member to understand their appetite for learning new skills to face the current challenges of the project delivery. It is also the ideal frame for detecting in the team who can support training of other team members for the challenges identified.
  • Project retrospective are occurring at regular interval of time in the iterative project management that Agile is fostering. When the project challenges are not addressed by the current team due to a common team lack of a certain skill, the project manager can try to find these resources in the other teams or raise a need for recruitment to the Human Resources.
  • Project post-mortem closure meetings are eventually the place for collecting lessons learned. Amongst learnings, the evaluation of the skill sets required to address such a project is source for continuous improvement for the company team member competences.

All these source of information can be gathered in a MeWheel radar skill map. The skill radar map can be handled by team managers And department managers with the support of Human Resources team. A radar skill map features the current skills sets measured in the continuous project feedback described above and the ideal skill sets needed by the company and the team member to thrive. It allow to visual easy identify the areas where improvements are required and the progression toward the goal. MeWheels radar skill map is a tool of PeopleBlendIT to support the acquisition, the follow-up and the implementation of the Human Resources strategy by department managers with the support of Human Resources managers.

Agility for Human Resources

I worked as an employee in very small structures, in international companies, as a consultant for a long-running mission during which I totally lost contact with my employer, as a freelance, as a team leader, as program manager. One element is common to each of these experience, at the maximum I had contact once per year with the Human Resources department of the company which hired me. I never found that convenient, neither useful nor productive.

When I had to manage people, my empathy was telling me that we, as a team had to find a way to be inclusive, caring and understanding of each other. Using my best practices with Agile I discovered that we had a way to build continuous improvement together.

MeWe cards in action

It started with replacing the annual appraisal interview with a continuous feedback loop. We also had to understand each other and improve our communication efficiency, we used some tools like DOPE to explain the basics. Later I discovered MeWe serious game to explain DOPE in a playful way. MeWe cards can be combined with Moving Motivator cards from Management 3.0, allowing to associate the personality and the motivational aspect.


When our team or department was too big we had to visualise the skills and interests for personal growth. We used a team skill map based on the radar view.

All the changes we identified as important to explore on the radar had to be tested and adapted, naturally, an iterative approach came to our mind.

All these practices are gathered on the Agility for HR poster:

  • Recruitment KanBan
  • MeWe cards and Moving motivators
  • MeWheels skill radars
  • HR development with PopCorn Flow

I am very interested in getting your comments if you have applied some of these solutions.
I am proposing this vision of Agile HR in Meetups. A Workshop of 2 hours can only offer an overview, feel free to contact me for a longer workshop.

Poster of Agility for Human Resources

Agile Gardening

Onepoint kitchen ready to host Agile Gardening

On Tuesday 11th June, Dahm Hongchai, Corentin Nile and Jord de Rengerve, three Agile coaches, invited 12 participants to discover Agile gardening at onepoint office in Brussels. Agile gardening is for Agile leaders. It propose to experience the creation of a team, discovering team members, aprehending customer needs, working in iterative way, removing impediment for teams, welcoming change, and letting the product go.

Upon arrival in the kitchen of onepoint, the participant discovered a table loaded with plants and decorations. They soon receive their first instructions: build a tiny garden in the 3 pots present on the table. The gardeners accepted quite too quickly to group in 3 people following the team composition imposed by the hosts. It was the first learning of the evening: you can compose your team based on affinities. While they started we asked the gardeners what were their feeling while they entered the room: feeling welcomed, curiosity, happiness. Soon the atmosphere will change, the stress comes in when we ask “who is your customer?” “what are your requirements”. Then the participants felt it was becoming serious. Corentin was the customer, he requested to have harmony in the garden composition. Harmony ? What does that mean ? Nevertheless they continued and composed three nice tiny gardens.

The customer destroyed the gardens

Before the second iteration, Jord gathered the participants in a corner of the room, turning their back to the gardening table. While Jord was giving instructions and attracting their attention with a loud voice and movement, the customer destroyed their garden. The customer was not pleased at all. When the gardener came back to the table they discovered the destruction. Emotions were strong: Anger, excitment, surprise. The customer expressed his unstatisfaction and requested the work to be started all over again. The gardener understood that they had to let it go, that they should not feel attached to the product. Even for the most experienced Agile practitioner, it can be difficult to see a nice garden being destroyed by an unsatisfied customer.

Soon after the second iteration started, the customer disappeared. Corentin had to take care of ordering the pizzas for the diner of the guest. Jord took the role of the subordinate of the customer; he didn’t know well the requirement but insisted that his boss would be satisfied this time. The stress was increasing. The customer subordinate was asking a lot of question while the gardener was busy implementing a second iteration, he tried to make sure the intention of Harmony was there, demanding that the composition was balanced and had a purpose. When the customer came back, the gardener could make sure customer satisfaction was delivered.

The hosts asked the gardener about their satisfaction with the second version compared to the first one: it was quite clear that creating a new one allowed to deliver a more beautiful tiny garden. The host then requested a third iteration; this time, the customer required the gardeners to create a rose garden. But there was no rose available. The gardeners had to plan for the future, project themselves to develop new capabilities for their team.

The three tiny gardens that the participants composed were photographed by a professional photographer,, to capture the memory of the evening. “A l’ombre d’une fleur” provided the flowers.

MeWe analysis

MeWe Analysis

After the gardening, the three hosts invited the gardeners to discover themselves and their type of personality by playing the MeWe cards.

“You are attending a Alumni gala diner of your High School, a were important networking event. You met good old friends and several new people at the diner table. You have to introduce yourself to all of these people, including to your good old friends that you didn’t see for twenty years , you changed with a lot of experiences, you have new hobbies compared to when your were attending school. You have to present yourself in a true way, you don’t have to fake or try to pretend to be somebody else.”

Each participant received a deck of MeWe cards. Each participant received for instruction to select thirteen cards bearing personality attribute that they could use to picture themselves while introducting themeselves during the dinner. After they selected the thriteen cards, the story continued.

“The diner is finihsed, you leave the place, while going toward the lift, you see one person that you truly wanted to meet during the evening but you could, this person was sitting too far on the diner table. You will have 30 seconds, just the time of the lift to come back to the lobby of the dinner place, to pitch yourself. Amongst the thirteen cards you selected, choose only 7 cards withthe attributes you would use to pitch yourself in these thirty seconds of lift time”.

After the selection of the seven cards, the hosts asked the participants to pitch themselves to the other participants of the workshop. After the pitching, the hosts requested the participants to face the cards up, revealing the animals hidden so far. Each MeWe card represents one of the four animal: mouse, bear, bull and eagle. The animal which is the most present in the cards selected by the participant reveal the dominant personality of the person. Mice are empathic; they care for others. Bulls are full of energy; they speak fast and want to achieve their one and unique goal. Bears are analytic thinkers; they like to collect information and create processes. Eagles are visionary, creative and risk takers. Learning to recognise yourself and other team members is a key for a productive team.

To discover how to improve the communication between each type of animal, the hosts requested that participants to group by the dominant type of animal they have and asked them to answer to the question “How do you like your colleagues to interact with you?”. Each group then shared with the others which communication method works best with them. Mice need to see that the opinion of each team member is heard. Bears need to be given space and time to think and elaborate on innovative strategies. Bulls need to be given direct and quick instructions, you need to go straight to the point with bulls. Eagles often use the primer “What if …” for sentences, they like to be given the possibility to express their creativity. These elements were gathered on giant posters prepared by Corentin with graphic facilitation technic.

The group picture of the Agile Gardening Meetup

The workshop ended with a long networking session. Onepoint offered Pizza and beverages to all the participants. It was time for all the participants to debrief on what they have learned during these two intensive hours full of discoveries. It was also the time to make new friendship and new connections. After the closure of hte events the three coaches, Corentin, the host, Dahm and Jord gathered their ideas for new workshops. We hope to see you in September for our new adventures.

Product Development and Innovation Summit – Berlin 28-29th May 2019

Speed Networking session

Qepler invited 15 speakers to present their experience with Product development and Innovation in various industries. Companies influencing today’s market landscape were present: Qualcomm, Henkel, Clariant, Siemens, Orange, Vodafone, Konica Minolta with people of fine quality including Vice-Presidents in engineering and Heads of Innovation departments.

The two days of the conference were articulated around three themes: 1. Product and process innovation 2. Customer-centricity and product experience 3. Digital and Technological transformation

Chairman introduction – Why ? Passionate stories
Golden circle – Simon Sinek

As a chairman, I launched the 2 days by questioning what is the definition of the Innovation. Following Simon Sinek golden circle, “People don’t buy what you do, people buy why you do it”. I proposed to discover the story of the speakers in the definition of a collective story which would define Innovation. According to Carmine Gallo, author the book of Talk like TED, stories have to be told with passion. It is then the passions of 15 participants that we were about to discover.

VP Engineering Qualcomm – Dr Eng. Grzegorz Ombach

Dr Grzegorz Ombach opened the first speech presenting the invention of wireless chargers for phone and how it lead to inventing wireless charger for cars. He explained how he managed the innovation teams in the creation of an international think tank. In particular, he highlighted the challenges and extreme benefits of mixing Cultures in an innovation team.

Thomas Förster, Corporate Vice-President of R&D Beauty Care at Henkel

Thomas Förster, Corporate Vice-President of R&D Beauty Care at Henkel, explained to the audience the necessity of sustainability in the product development. Product carbon footprint reduction at Henkel includes a 360 degrees approach to deliver an impact. 90% of the carbon footprint of a product is associated with the end user, Henkel is addressing directly the end user to reduce his footprint, for instance deploying Plastic Bank.

Lucia Chierchia, Managing Partner @Gellify

Lucia Chierchia, a Managing partner at Gellify, explained what is the importance of creating a trusted network of business partners to implement Open Innovation. Lucia presented some of the means of implementation of the Innovation put in place at Gellify to transform liquid ideas into solid products.

Asli Salmaz-Kaiser, VP R&D Innovation Tüv-Süd

Asli Solmaz-Kaiser enlightened the audience with 5 tips to success: 1. Design thinking 2. Focus on numbers 3. Ecosystem 4. Team Cooperation 5.Continuous Improvement. She illustrated her point with the success story of Ideo, the think tank responsible for a large number of innovations we are familiar using.

Richard Burton, Innovation and Transformation Consultant

Richard Burton, Innovation and Transformation consultant at Inovatia. Richard illustrated some of the innovation strategy successes and failures. Blackberry and Sony examples illustrated how customer advice in selecting innovation can be overrated. He concluded by presenting the “Polymath”, the ideal profile of the innovator that large companies need to find to secure their future in innovation.

Dr Stefan Schaper, head of Lean Innovation, Schaper Tech

Dr Stefan Schaper introduced TRIZ a structured alternative to Design Thinking. TRIZ was invented by the Russian Genrich Altshuller in 1946, nothing less than the ”
theory of the resolution of invention-related tasks”. TRIZ contains technics for innovators to trim problems, combine solutions, develop visions, and defined the next generations of products.

Dr Filippo Larceri, Global Implementation leader, Clariant Excellence

Dr Filippo Larceri presented the magic blend leading to Innovation in 3 dimensions (1. Business configuration 2, Product Perfection 3. Customer Experience) and 3 levels of intensity (1. Continuous Improvement 2. Evolution 3. Breakthrough). He pictured the profile of the excellence leader: a polyglot with broad horizons and unusual experience, multi-skilled, speaking each business language.

Alain Mavon, Senior Director of Science and Innovation, Oriflame Cosmetics

Alain Mavon explained that “similar to a parachute, the innovation works best when it’s open”. Anti-ageing cosmetics innovation are facing a growing demand not anymore to stop skin ageing but to age better. Ageing is influenced at 80% by the lifestyle of people and 20% by their genes. Introducing new cosmetics addressing lifestyle becomes necessary, this requires agility.

Rajkumar Ragupathy, Innovation manager, HarmanLifestyle Audio

Rajkumar Ragupathy, Innovation manager, HarmanLifestyle Audio enlighted the audience at the end of the first day, with a story of the impossible customer experience, following the user till inside the car to understand how he uses his sound on the trip to work. Raj explained that Innovation requires to understand the mindset and the culture of customers.

The first day was closed with a panel discussion. As a chairman, I summarised the first day ending with few drawings recording the essential learnings of the day.

The magic formula of innovation
Keys for successful innovation
Ana Esteban, Team manager customer research, Digital workplace R&D, Konica Minolta

The second day started with 2 speeches about customer-centricity. Ana Esteban is Team manager customer research, Digital workplace R&D at Konica Minolta. She explained how her team is collecting feedback of customers on an online platform rather than asking customers what they want. She explained the components of the interaction with the customer: 1. blogs and diary 2. forum 3. surveys 4. Creative sets (life collage inspired from journaling) 5. interactive playful tools using gamification. She explained how she convinced the business departments to move from a quantitative evaluation to a qualitative approach based on value creation.

Adi Chhabra, Head of Product Innovation, Vodafone

Adi Chhabra, Head of Product Innovation at Vodafone in the UK, enlightened the audience with a futuristic view of innovation. he explained that the future is about reducing the number of interactions. From the currently limited intelligence of the chatbots, he spined-off with the introduction of object recognition and Generated Adverse networks, in a baffling demonstration of future capabilities of computers. For Adi, the future is in the web 3.0: Virtual reality, Augmented Reality, 3D printers, semantic web and decentralised with blockchain.

Nicolas Bry, Orange Studio COO, Orange

Nicolas Bry, Orange Studio COO, opened the last block of the conference: Digital and technological transformation. He presented the open innovation initiative. Orange Studio creates interfaces and a framework for intrapreneurs. Its hackathons and crowd-sourcing platform Imagine at Orange are gathering 22.000 users. With Oranges Partners, Orange is creating innovation initiatives with the external partnership. Orange redefined the way Salomon users are perceiving the sports brand to refocus on social media allowing to share your sports experience with friends.

Joerg Hassmann, Head of Innovation and Portfolio Management, Siemens

Joerg Hassmann, Head of Innovation and Portfolio Management, Siemens, explained the latest trend in engine innovation (1.service offer 2. digital twins 3. Industry Apps 4. Connectivity 5. Simulation 6. Configuration ). He described how his team is reaching innovation in their “war room of war room” ( OoO, Obeya of Obeya, in Japanese). An Obeya is a control room where all the ideas are connected physically speaking on wall boards and giant canvas.

Jord Rengerve, Agile Coach, PeopleBlendIT

The day ended with the 2 last presentations: I presented Agile Story mapping, a tool and technic to reconcile the business and the development by using a single language and support for the conversation. This closed the loop of the questioning of the introduction of the first day about what is Innovation and the “Why?”. The Why is the conversation we need to build 360 degrees with customers, business and development teams.

Michal Dunaj, R&D director EU research Operations, Telekom Innovation Laboratories

Michal Dunaj, R&D director EU research Operations,
T-Labs – Telekom Innovation Laboratories, reflected on the topic of creativity in Innovation. He related the project T-Labs is delivering to support Magenta to shape the future using “Extreme Exploration”, the research of unconventional ideas, using de-focusing, bi-association, error and art to enable creativity.

Communication strategy based on personality styles

As a consultant, I worked for many companies; I visited many customers. After the first icebreakers, I often started to hear “In this team, we have a communication problem”. Even if you leave aside potential source of difficulties as teams which are working remotely or cultural differences, human nature is prone to create communication gaps.

The disc model

Even with a lot of good will, it is not an easy task to close the gap separating birds of different feathers. The human brain is made to push people to gather with people of the same kind. Our mirror cells are inviting us to mimic behaviour and to be comfortable with people similar to us. But you can not lead a ship with only captains or only sailors. You need diversity to manage a successful endeavour and companies need people of different talent. How to prevent these difference in personalities to impair your communication.

MeWe animals

The first step is to recognise the differences and to adapt to the style of communication of the person you are interacting with. Amongst many frameworks, the simplest I found to help people understand the model of communication is the DISC model. The leadership wheel and the 4 quadrant model are two similar useful variations. The concept is similar: people belong to one of the 4 groups. Each group has its own motivators and its own ways of communicating.

I am using these models for 15 years with great benefits. I recently discovered a serious card game allowing to introduce the model in a short amount of time and in a fun way. On Friday 1st March, I organised a workshop in Brussels at Alliance Merode to introduce the model and the serious game to new people. Now the game is being translated in Dutch and French to facilitate its deployment in Belgium and French companies.

Call me to organize a workshop at your place based on the MeWe cards, there is a lot to discover into this serious game.

Practice Team Collaboration by playing a board game – Fri 7th Dec 2018 in Brussels, Belgium

Play the board game Kitchen Rush to practice you team collaboration skills

Map to access l’Alliance Merode cafe –

When: Friday 7th December  6pm-10pm including a Vegan Korean dinner (10€)

Where: Brussels, Alliance mérode cafe, rue de la gare 44, 1040 Brussels

Registration: Free, contact  to register. Book a dinner for 10€. RSVP Wed 5th Dec 2018.

Detailed agenda:

Welcome 6pm
Game sessions 6.30pm-22pm
Dinner During game sessions – 10€ RSVP 5th Dec2018.
Networking 22.00-23.00pm

Kitchen Rush:

Kitchen run is a fast paced collaboration game in which the players are helping each other in developping a successfull restaurant.

Dinner menu:

Vegan Korean rice and veggies “Bibimbap” if you want to enrol, please send me a message at RSVP Monday 5th November.
The price for the dinner is 10€; payment is required to validate registration. Free beers and free game sessions.

The meal is taking place during the game sessions but is not mandatory to enjoy the game.

Negocards workshop 8th Nov 2018 in Brussels, Belgium


Acquire negotiation skills by playing an #OpenSeriousGame

Map to access l’Alliance Merode cafe –

When: Thursday 8th November  6pm-10pm

Where: Brussels, Alliance mérode cafe, rue de la gare 44, 1040 Brussels

Registration: Free, contact  to register.

Negocards workshop card game

The fundamentals of the negocards:
• Nobody is a born negotiator
• Negotiation is a skill that can be learned
• The negocards serious game allows learning by playing with negotiation best practices.
• Based on cards, best practice reference cards and role-playing session, attendees are learning by practising

The game material is available free of copyright to foster dissemination of knowledge. We recommend people willing to attend the workshop not to read the three last pages presenting the scenarii of the roleplay.

Detailed agenda:

Welcome 6pm
Workshop 6.30pm-20.30pm
Dinner 20.30pm-22.00pm – 10€ RSVP 5th Nov 2018.
Networking 22.00-23.00pm

Post-event dinner: 

egan Korean rice and veggies “bibimbap” if you want to enrol, please send me a message at RSVP Monday 5th November.
The price for the dinner is 10€; payment is required to validate registration. Free beers and free workshop. The meal is taking place after the event and is not mandatory to enjoy the game.

Negocards workshop 10th Oct 2018 in Brussels, Belgium


Acquire negotiation skills by playing an #OpenSeriousGame

Map to access l’Alliance Merode cafe –

When: Wednesday 10th October 6 pm: Welcoming dinner
7.30 -10 pm: Workshop

Where: Brussels, Alliance mérode cafe, rue de la gare 44, 1040 Brussels

Registration: Free, contact  to register.

Negocards workshop card game

The fundamentals of the negocards:
• Nobody is a born negotiator
• Negotiation is a skill that can be learned
• The negocards serious game allows learning by playing with negotiation best practices.
• Based on cards, best practice reference cards and role-playing session, attendees are learning by practising

The game material is available free of copyright to foster dissemination of knowledge. We recommend people willing to attend the workshop not to read the three last pages presenting the scenarii of the roleplay.

The 5 “Why ?” of PMP applied to Agile practice 

Why this article?

I recently wrote a post on online resources to practice for a PMP certification examination. When my wife read this article, she commented that she didn’t understand why I promote PMP everything in my daily practices and services that I sell to my customers is turning around Agile. 

Why introducing PMP in the context of Agile practice?

My company, PeopleBlendIT, promotes the idea that pure Agile organizations don’t exist. Even in the leanest organization, you will find a management board, one of the services like the finance or customer service which is organized in a traditional way.

When dealing with these parts of an organization working in a traditional way, it is useful to know how to structure the project assets. PMBOK remains the best source of inspiration of best practices when it comes to managing a project in the traditional way. And even without dealing with external a non-Agile team, you need to inject Project management best practices in your Agile project.

But why do you need these best practices applied in in an Agile project?

Because when it comes to lead an Agile implementation you still need configuration management to version documents; you still need to manage expectation of stakeholders; you still need to manage the end of life of a product. For these management topics, PMBOK best practices is a reference.

But why talking about PMP certification?

Reading PMP certification examination preparation is a good way to challenge yourself and review your knowledge. Going back to the basics is the occasion to find back the less common best practices that you don’t apply often enough. For instance, you most certainly often go to meetings or even organize meetings. But when was the last time you reviewed the best practices on how to organize a meeting, to be a good host for a meeting.

Doing so is a reminder for me that I need to practice my Agile mash-up skills in which I transform Agile into something more elaborated merging best practices from different project management methodologies.

But why do you need something better than Agile?

You think that Agile is the definitive model, that there is nothing after it? Think about SCRUM of SCRUM, tribes, Spotify, think about SAFe, scaling Agile for large organizations. All these approaches came to solve the limitation of Agile. Release trains in SAFe and story mapping are spin-offs of PMP road-map management. Weighted Shortest Job First, WSJF, is somehow an evolution of metrics like Earned Value optimization technics used in PMP.

If you listen to Lean and Agile Adoption with the Laloux Culture 

Model, you might become as convinced that I am that we need to look at the past to continue to re-invent our future project management methods. For me, looking at the past is digging into my PMP best practices. Looking at the future is finding ways to infuse participative decision making into the organizations I am working with.


Online resources to prepare PMP certification

Why ?

I received a comment from my wife when she read this article. Why do you speak about the traditional project management practices since your reason to live is Agile?  I realized that before explaining how to rehearse on PMP topics, I had to explain why PMP practice is essential to elaborate a good Agile practice.

This disclaimer delivered, I can explain you why it is necessary to find online resources to practice for a PMP certification or simply to rehearse your PMP knowledge.

Image result for PMP

Why free online resource ? When you are intensively preparing for examination and certification, it is important not to get you head stuck in a single source of information. You need to relax your brain by looking at the same topic from different angles: reading books, watching videos, taking hand written notes. This is own the memory works best.

It is assumed that if you engage yourself in a PMP certification, you have attended a training and you received a set of books and examination preparation material. Therefore the current web page is looking for the additional stuff: free online resources.

A short list

In the end of this blog post you will find many online resources. Here is a short list, because if you can’t use them all and have to spare your time, you have to go straight to the most useful one.

My preferred ones are those offering a long list of examination question accessible without having to register and those providing explanations for the answers.

It provides an interacive test with a countdown of the time, in the end it provides the answers.


It provide the answers immediately, you don’t have to pass the entire set of question to get the the answers. It provides only 75 free question, that’s not sufficient to get a decent test preparation

Capm time 150 question final key slide share

It is not the most interactive but it contains the answers and a decent set of questions. The positive point is that being on Slide share, you can print the PDF to work away from the screen and changing your rehearsal practice from the other online resources.

List of the website offering free support


Project Management Professional(PMP®) Certification