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Agile, and Innovation in Italy. What I found.

Recently, I came back to Italy with my wife. It is now around 5 months.

I lived for 4.5 years in Australia, where I earned a Master degree of Computing, where I specialised in Project Management, Human-Computer Interaction, and Data Science.

I lived 6 months in Kyrgyzstan, where I also got married, and I kept going thought online work.

Now back to the old continent, specifically in Italy, the situation is… not easy.

The job market, allow me this, sucks and it seems I am too qualified for anything. However, apart that, the job market is open and there are a lot of ads out there.

I noticed a massive demand of Agile PM, Team Leaders, and SCRUM Masters! Cool, I am both!
And I am a qualified person, with education from the first university in Australia, and one of the top 20 in the world!

I did some quick research, and I could not find any university teaching properly Agile concepts here in Italy. If I am wrong about this, leave a comment and I will be happy to verify, and edit. At the moment, no one coverts PM in Agile environments as well as I did in Australia. Mostly, no one gives practice in these environments as I had and have. It means that I am the added value that 50+ companies are looking for, right now!!
Yes, I applied for 50+ positions offered by 50+ different companies covering Agile PM, SCRUM Master, and BAs positions.

There is demand, I am offering what they want!

However, no one contacts me, no one even calls. Correct? Is it correct this typical HR behaviour?
I think, no. If you don’t like me, tell me. Instead, they just disappear, making you think that the time you spent in preparing your resume and submitting it was simply wasted. Thank you!

This rant apart, that just confirms what everyone is feeling and living out there, I want to tell you what I felt, and I am living, here in Italy.

I saw fear!

Fear of innovation, fear of changing, fear of thinking outside the box. Fear of moving away from Gantt charts, waterfalls, and weekly “killer” meetings.

Fear of the new. Because executives are men with some ancient degree in business where they must command the entire work as a dictator. Anything outside their control is bad, or dangerous.

I had a nice interview with the CEO of a local company, that is enlarging to national level, here in Italy. They have big projects, and such. They are cool to be located where they are, giving them the status of innovators in a small reality. They have their philosophy, and I understood it.

Interview was based on the fact that I had Agile in my arsenal. They read about it, and they think they like it. They are a software house, so they should like it, right?

We talked for a good hour, and he told me that they are interested in that, that now they work on Gantt, and they do weekly meetings, that they are giving responsibilities to their developers because if not they wouldn’t work… and I listened to these things.

I listened, and I heard was: they wouldn’t work, we should punish them. They must be responsible for what they do. They must respect the Gantt because our clients are big. We want to do Agile to make things better, but we already deliver products that are perfect.

Ok… then… you are already all right with everything. Why do you invite me to talk about changing?

Your work is already perfect, with your developers (as it was a kind of belonging) pushed in weekly meeting talking about what they probably forgot they did. Believe me, I know developers, I did weekly meetings (as engineer), and no one was happy or on the same page. No one. Putting pins on Gantt charts to feel that you have some sort of responsibility, just makes you feel more pressure… developers out there, is it true or not?

And I am curious, the perfect final product, at which state of this kind of waterfall has been thrown in the trash, and started again? When the client, that never knows what he wants, could confirm that the product is perfect? At the end, when delivered, because that what I heard. What if the requirements are changing?

Can you believe that I, myself, find very difficult to keep up with my own website? My ideas change everyday, the need of a section or of another component comes and I just fix it. It is a simple blog and info website. Think about a big corporation context?

You implement Agile seriously, and you can tackle all these problems. These are not even becoming problems, if you have a PM like me.

So it was my turn, and when I talked about Agile, and how I could help, this CEO could steal the ideas (for sure he did), and then I started seeing fear in his eyes.

Fear that a different method would implement a sort of coupe against him. That he could not have control. Fear that I would have shown the company that I am a better leader than he was.

He left me with the promise of a phone call about a “one day of work for free for them” where I would have planned a project. They would have checked what I have done and decided if I was good enough or not.

I said: “OK, I prepare your backlog, I break down the tasks, I write user stories, or use cases, I set up a kanban, but I need to know the team and their skills.”

He just looked at me a little strange, and told me ok, probably without understanding what I said. I saw it in his eyes.
He said that his developers wanted to use Slack and Trello. I confirmed that it was a good choice, and they also integrate each other. In this way, he got another pro-tip for free.

OK, OK! I know what you think now. The CEO is a not technical person. However, you are wrong, in this case. This guy is a developer himself, he is young (around my age), and he studied IT subjects in the same high-school I studied, he never took a business course. He should know.

It is probably only difficult to put everything aligned on a Gantt chart.

In conclusion, that phone call never came. Now, it is 3 months that I am waiting.

Back on topic, what I saw, what I felt.

So far, I felt a complete rejection, and disgust about innovation, changing, and evolving. Perhaps, this explains a stagnant and rotten general job market.

HR are not ready to interview tech people. Managers don’t care. Companies are afraid of loosing control of their developers, as already said, like they belong to them.

Developers are people, where there is a person there are mistakes, and where there is a mistake there is chance to learn.
Isn’t it that simple? Or is it me that I am too Agile?

I don’t understand this. As I don’t understand why out of 437 resumes that I sent out in the world, very little or none have said anything, in 5 months.

Is it me? Tell me! At leat I know it, right?

I realised I praised myself a lot in this article, but I am just reporting provable and measurable facts.

The owner of that company, or one of his minions, will probably read this, in English or in Italian. I am ok with that, I am just showing again that I am competent and responsible for my actions.

Back to the real issue, where is innovation in Italy?

Why all over the nation they look for Agile people, no one studies it at school, and a qualified figure like me don’t get contacted?
Is there some sort of prize-money where if you try to hire Agile people, but in reality you don’t hire?

It happened to me that, too. It was short work experience that I omit in my resume, because it taught me only bad things about work management.

6 months in total, 2 consecutive contracts (3 months each). Hired as IT technician in this office because EU was giving money if you did that. After the two contracts EU changed its mind, and I was back home. Smart for them, comfortable.

This happened, years ago, I was just graduated from technical high school, but that was one of my first work experiences, just to make me understand how they roll.

So, is it the case? If it is, just shut all ads down, because we don’t need this kind of behaviour.

There are thousands of professionals that want to work honestly and efficiently. They want to do their best, not being fooled around. So please, if you want to be Agile, if you really need Agile people, honestly contact them in good or bad.

We spend time on searching, applying, and waiting, you are doing nothing, not even looking at application often. Our work is find a job, apply for job, your work is reply to people who invested time in it, dear HR and managers.

We are Agile, if we hear a “no”, we move on to the next iteration.

If you are scared of dark, you don’t go where there is no light. At the same time, if you are scared of innovation, you are not calling for innovators.

If you call us, we will change your world in better, we will make the difference. Agile is innovation.

We have to be honest, not all projects need Agile to run well, but Agile brings the added value, it can also mix with waterfalls, and keep moving, but you cannot do the opposite.

Your perfect product may become even better, or just cost less. Interesting?

But hey! I am just an unemployed qualified expert and professional in these fields. You guys are the hiring figures that look for someone like me.

Then, it means you should know better.

😉

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