Agile—it seems to be everywhere these days.
Originating in the world of software development, Agile can now be found in all corners of the work world, from Fortune 500 behemoths to, apparently ineffectively, the Department of Defense. One 2017 study, in fact, found that over 70% of organizations now report using some type of Agile practice in their work.
What, exactly, is Agile?
Agile, in short, is an approach to work. As a mindset and series of practices, it aims to allow for effective creation and responses to change in an uncertain environment.
Within and beyond software development, there are many different core Agile methods. Here, we’ve picked a few of our favorites that you can use in your internship or job search.
3 Agile Practices You Can Use in Your Internship or Job Search
Tip #1: Implement Check-ins Through Retrospectives
What’s a retrospective?
Retrospectives are meetings for reflection on a project in progress, often guided by a facilitator. During the course of the project, Agile teams use iteration retrospectives to talk about significant things that have happened since their last meeting, as well as opportunities for improvement. The goal is to create a trust-based environment where team members can feel ownership over the project.
Using retrospectives in your search
By using retrospectives, you can purposefully carve out time for reflection on your job or internship search. Whether with a career counselor, in line with the Agile idea of facilitated reflection, or on your own, this can be an effective way to take stock on your search so far, celebrate milestones, reflect on challenges, and identify one or two next steps.
Tip #2: set goals and limits using sprinTs
What are sprints?
A sprint is a short, time-limited period in which a team works to get done a specific amount of work.
Using sprints in Your Search
An internship or job search can feel large and overwhelming, and breaking it down into pieces can help you effectively chip away at it. You can schedule short sprints during your week and, in advance, identify a manageable amount of work you want to accomplish. Then, celebrate those accomplishments in your retrospectives!
Tip #3: a lot on your plate? organize it Using a Backlog.
What’s a Backlog?
A product backlog, or a “backlog” for short, lists the possible features, changes, fixes, and other activities a team may undertake in order to achieve its desired outcome. They are, in other words, lists of possibilities that remind the team of future conversations you they want to have about ways to meet their end goal.
Backlogs change over time as the team better understands its desired outcome and how they’ll achieve it. That means that the priority level of items may change, new items may be added, and others deleted. Teams may also use their backlog to communicate their project progress with other key stakeholders.
Using a Backlog in Your Search
In contrast with a to-do list, a backlog represents options, not commitments. Because of this, it can be a great way to document and prioritize your job-search related tasks and ideas without worrying about having them fully fleshed out or doing them right now.
Using your desired outcome as a guide—whether narrowing career options, creating a tailored version of your resume, or crafting compelling interview stories—create your own backlog of things you could do in order to achieve this outcome. Consider sharing your backlog with your career counselor, or working with them to generate one. Then, use backlog refinement to continually reassess what’s on your list.
Try it—we promise, it really takes the pressure off.
Learn More About Agile
If you’re new to Agile, we recommend the Agile Alliance, whose Agile Glossary we drew upon in writing this post.
Your Agile Team
While you are your own scrum master, we are here to support you as part of your team. Meet with one of us in our drop ins, Quick Questions, or make an appointment with a career counselor to strategize, prepare, and reflect on how your agile job search is going.