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Changes in sight: Perry’s TOP 3 for agile HR

By: Perry Timms, Chief Energy Officer – PTHR

It is a very transforming world of work we’re in.  Wherever we look, something is either about to, or is, transforming what we know work to be.  Whether it’s digital technology automating more of the tasks people were previously tasked with, or what it means to lead people in an age where power is dispersing and the key method is inspirational influence.

My good friends at the inspirational talent outfit Competo d.o.o asked me if I’d have a look at compiling some insight about the world of Human Resources and what is showing up as the key insights to transforming the work and approaches of that profession.

Perry’s TOP 3 for agile HR

  • top 3 books related to agile/transformational HR
  • top 3 podcast or youtube channels related to agile/transformational HR
  • top 3 linkedin influencers related to agile/transformational HR

TOP 3 books

When it comes to books I’ve been consuming a lot of this lately where people’s experiences and methods are brought to life through stories, case studies and downloaded theories.

  1. Firstly there’s Scrum by Jeff Sutherland.  The definitive works on the concept of iterative, fast-paced, prototype led ways of working has guided one of my clients – River Island retail in the UK – to being more adept at new forms of HR (or as they’re calling it People Experience).
  2. Secondly, there’s Sprint by Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky and Braden Kowitz‎.  This amazing technique shows how a compressed and intense week’s build can take you from vague aspiration and idea into a fully fledged product or service (not just of the digital kind but mostly).  Experimenting with this has given me the chance to show clients how quickly things really can be done where you negate distracting elements and push on to focus on something creative and useful.
  3. Thirdly there’s Scrum and XP from the Trenches by Henrik Kniberg.  Lots of intricate and interesting concepts in how you can take some of the smaller bursts of agile innovation and bring them to bear in large, complex organisations. Whilst I’m yet to deliver this with my clients, close contacts of mine are using this type of method with huge 80,000 strong finance companies.  And it’s working.

Spremembe v podjetju: Perry Timms top 3

Top 3 podcasts or YouTube content

…is tough with so much of this content to sift through on the web.

  1. The aforesaid Kniberg has the legendary Spotify story set out across some explainer videos.  The epic version is here but there are smaller ones to consume.
  2. A podcast of interest to HR professionals is likely to be Agile for Humanswhere the interactions and individual perspectives of this super-charged team sport of agile and scrums is covered by Ryan Ripley’s interesting conversations and provocations.
  3. It would be wrong of me to not mention Lisa Gill’s excellent Leadermorphosis podcast.  Not strictly Agile but looking at the world of leading in more unorthodox systems.

There’s also a lot of curated content on – more than just training and “geeking out” on scrum, agile and all things backlogs!

Influencers for HR

…this is  a little easier for me as I’ve met many of them.

  1. Firstly Stelio Verzera: His Liquid-O concept is a really sophisticated collision of Organisation and role design and agile and self-managed concepts. He publishes his blog on Medium.
  2. Secondly, Natal Dank and Riine Hellström and their Agile HR concept.  More available here but Natal and Riine teach practitioners the concepts and application of Agile in HR with some great workshops and events.
  3. And lastly, the marvelous tour-de-force in Organisation Development that is Linda Holbeche.  She has a book – the Agile Organization – and a wealth of knowledge about the world of design, development, leadership and the concept of Agile.

So this world of Agile is making its way into change, transformation, HR, OD, L&D and beyond.  To many it’s still a trendy fad that technologists and developers use.  To many in HR it’s the dawning of a new way that work is getting done.  Many companies and clients of mine are moving to this way of working and seeing energy, pace and results.

Maybe it’s time for HR to be known as an Agile function and reinvent itself to influence the world of work for the good of us all.


Perry Timms, Chief Energy Officer – PTHR

Author: Transformational HR

HR Magazine’s 5th Most Influential Thinker in HR  2018

Guest Professor – GEA College and Hult International Business School.


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