/ Sliips

Sliips — an Agile and empirical approach to pay

Some of you may have noticed recently that I have taken on a new role alongside my full time role as a Scrum Master: I am a guest writer for Sliips.

As Sliips is fast moving towards its Beta release, I wanted to share my affiliation and insight into this startup, and quite frankly, why I care enough to volunteer my time to their cause.

Sliips is a crowdsourced, pay comparison site with a difference: data will be taken anonymously from real payslips, ensuring data accuracy, and every user will be presented with a personalised dashboard that will give you a clear view of whether or not you are being paid fairly. The dashboard will allow users to see the difference between someone of a different gender, age, or any other variable you can think of, and give you a clear insight into how you are being treated.

Sliips has been created by two of my closest friends, who both believe in this vision enough to be living off beans on toast, working 7 days a week to make it a reality.

So, why do I care? For those that know me professionally, or follow my professional articles, the fact that my passion lies in Agile will come as no surprise. I love so much of Agile; the values and principles that the Agile manifesto gives us. I also love the three pillars of Scrum — often my Agile framework of choice — and the honesty, trust and collaboration that I see arising in teams using it.

Scrum has its roots in empiricism, and is guided by three pillars that underpin the whole framework. For me, Sliips shares the vision and aims of Scrum through these three pillars, with the intention of using them to achieve pay transparency, fairness, and equality.

Transparency

Transparency is the first pillar of Scrum. In the words of the Scrum guide:

Transparency ensures that aspects of the process that affect the outcome must be visible to those managing the outcomes.

However when it comes to pay, in most work environments this transparency is sorely lacking. Employees are often not aware of what they are being measured against with respect to how much they are paid. How can employees focus their efforts to produce a desired salary if they are not aware of the things that affect it?

Inspection

Inspection gives us the second pillar, and the Scrum guide tells us:

The various aspects of the process must be inspected frequently enough so that unacceptable variances in the process can be detected

Frequent inspection is the key here: companies cannot rest on their laurels by claiming they had a pay review however many years ago, and therefore the problem must be sorted. Conscious and unconscious bias is prevalent in society and the workforce, meaning pay fairness is something that needs to be constantly assessed and inspected.

Adaptation

The third leg of the empirical process of Scrum helps us to achieve continuous improvement. It states that:

If the inspector determines from the inspection that one or more aspects of the process are outside acceptable limits, and that the resulting product will be unacceptable, the inspector must adjust the process

This is where we will see real movement in pay equality: once transparency is encouraged and we are all talking about pay with candour and honesty, once inspection is happening and the problems in the process are being acknowledged, then adaptation gives us the chance to adjust the process to minimise any further deviation.
Conclusion

The gender pay gap and pay inequality isn’t going to go away without all of us working towards it.

As employees, we need to know if we are being paid fairly for the work we are doing regardless of gender, age, race or any other factor.

As employers, we need to have the courage to adopt the Scrum pillars to be transparent about pay, continuously assess the situation and take action to resolve deviation.

As a society, we need to understand that pay inequality affects all of us: you may think you’re unaffected because you’re a male from a majority background, but by empowering everyone with fair pay, we increase economic spending power, investment, and independence. By paying fairly regardless of gender we allow parents to take fairer shares of childcare, making it easier to find the right balance for each family.

When it comes to pay equality, there are no losers. We are all stronger because of it. The only way to achieve it is if we are all transparent about the process of deciding salaries, inspect the factors that affect the process, and continuously adapt and adjust to keep deviation at a minimum. Just like a good Scrum team does.

Join the beta of Sliips at: www.sliips.com