Thursday, March 22, 2018

Minimum Viable Job Descriptions

To make truly responsive digital organisations requires an insight-led approach to creating new value, shifting the way we work and the technologies we need to support us.  But it also requires a change in us.

One thing the AI revolution is teaching us is that work (at least the bit left for humans) is less about repeating tasks and much more about striving for goals.
Yet job descriptions, which function as both recruitment rule book and measurement and guidance tool, have mostly remained proscriptive and remarkably static.

Most of us know job descriptions rapidly become unsatisfactory. Today it seems they become a poor fit with reality faster than ever. Perhaps it is time to formalise and recognise this.? Understanding what we do often helps us improve it.

So let's abandon the job description in favour of the Job Hypothesis  (or at least pass it to the task-compiling world  the bots better manage). The Job Hypothesis - a minimum viable job description - should be our start point. It should provide a framework to seek candidates within and to give new starters an initial steer.

The hypothesis should emerge from your initial insights; about the market, the needs of customers and trends emerging from impacting technologies.
Add an understanding of the organisation's Why and What and you can start to work out How the role in question should support these.

From these insights you can shape what the purpose of the role is; the roles it plays in supporting the organisation's Go To Market strategies (by audience); and - crucially - the responsibilities versus gathering more insight in all of the above.
These will help define what success will look like (ie in meeting requirements in x way or by y degree).

But this first draft must only be described as a hypothesis. Success is in further, continuous refinement - making the role flexible to live market and business need and to emerging trends. This places the focus on change and rewards and formalises constant learning about the market, customers, technology and other drivers - with the intended benefit of iterating roles towards greater market fit - now and in preparation for the future.

This will not be helpful to those who are only comfortable being told what to do, or who want to do the same old things days after day. But you probably aren't recruiting many of those.  Bots have that covered.

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The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?