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Let's Grow Together: ip.labs Approach to People Development

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The way we think people development at ip.labs – this is what I am so happy to give you sneak peek about in this article. Whether you are one of my colleagues, another people or HR person or just looking for some inspiration – I hope I will be able to give you an interesting read and spark new ideas about people development.


Let’s start with what I, as part of ip.labs' people team, mean when I speak about people development: It is being an active partner in fostering individual growth, which can be professional or personal. Part of it is also taking over responsibility for my own development. In a business context, this also includes an alignment with the companies' big picture and goals.

For me, that personal & professional development has looked as follows in the last few months: I have always believed that personal growth is a human need and a chance for everyone involved. That belief has been supported by my studies in business psychology and my work experience in the People / HR field. Starting at ip.labs, I began in a more generalist position - which was a great jump start. I do believe that it is crucial to gain an understanding of the connections between all those people topics and the organization as whole, understand the processes and history. In the last few months, however, I found myself wanting to specialize in people development. As life plays out sometimes, this was also identified as a corner stone and lever towards ip.labs goal and further transformation within our strategy. So, we made people development a priority by anchoring it in our strategy and giving me the chance to drive the topic.

In this article, I'll share a few ideas for how we'd like to evolve our people development in sync with our company strategy.

People Development @ ip.labs

We've been on our agile journey for a while now. Starting off almost classically in the software delivery, introducing frameworks and practices. With formulating the goal to become an even more agile, customer-centric organization, we wrap our mind around the question on how to apply this to people development. How can we think people development at ip.labs in an agile way?

We let ourselves be guided by our lighthouse: We value and emphasize your strengths. We are an active partner in your growth. We provide the mosaic stones for you to create your personal design. And if you need a completely new one, let's paint it. Last but not least: We help fit your personal design in the big ip.labs mosaic.

Our Journey to Agile People Development

Our starting point:

We've made a few steps already and tried some paths on the more traditional side, like a 360-degree feedback, competency profiles and feedback forms. What we learned from these is that we need to think about people development as a whole. While trying out those methods and tools was a valuable experience, we now want to act more strategically and came up with the following ideas.

Growth-mindset & Ownership:

A vision we have, is to make a growth-mindset part of our DNA. This allows a focus on learning and helps us to evolve, personally and as a company. A first step in that direction is to give people development room and space. Timewise, and in all our heads. A concept which we have developed and rolled out this year are development talks. The goals with this are the following: give more room to speak about personal development as well as give and receive feedback, independently of financial topics. For this approach, leader and employee prepare themselves and focus on valued attributes, contributions to our big picture and learning moments. The idea is to speak openly about those aspects and come to a common understanding which is written down. An important part here is also creating action items and agreements - which brings me to my next point.

Walk the growth talk:

The new structure gives us a great starting point to talk about strengths, wishes, motivation, challenges and needs - and how ip.labs can be a partner in that. Where we still have room to grow as a company is following up on action items from these conversations continuously. We want to hold ourselves even more accountable. We are committed to these changes and engaged with the development of our people and the organization. We follow up on agreements we have made in the development talks regularly, aiming for once a quarter and always have an open door. This also means to make things happen. It could be an on-top role we create because we all think it makes sense or a meet-up to a specific topic where you are our ambassador. For us as the people team, it is exciting to be a contributor to our ip.labs journey by providing frameworks, like the development talks, methods and tools. Another method we would like to introduce is "tiny habits". Here, you create a small habit that is easy to implement, but really makes a difference. For example, always taking 2 minutes to think about what you would like to achieve today instead of diving deep into mails and messages first thing in the morning can make a huge difference in how satisfied you are with your work. Next to all those great methods and tools, we are a part of our growth by coaching leaders & employees, being a sparring partner and generating ideas to go the next steps. We feel connected to our employees by doing that and look forward to continue to grow together.

Growing together:

As we actively engage in all those people development topics, we learn. We grow together and that also means we put an emphasis on all levels of learning in our organization. From the individual level to the company level. Examples for the individual are discussed above, but it doesn't stop there. Our teams share their knowledge with each other, through pair programming, code reviews and working together on all kinds of topics. Each team, technical or not, has found their way of joining heads and sharing expertise. Supporting and furthering this is something we work on jointly between the People & Organization and the Scrum Master Team. One upcoming project will be to make each and every persons', and therefore teams', skills more transparent and create a framework to make use of this on a daily basis. You want to dive deeper into a certain programming language? This will help you to know who to learn from. Maybe this person even wants to give sessions on that and spark interest in more colleagues. Learning from each other is something we also foster on the company level. We use formats like Open Space, where people, who are interested, work on certain topics - one current example is our meeting culture. There are also Lightning Talks - short, concise presentations - about different subjects by a colleague. This is a great way of learning and expanding our horizons. A big thanks to our teammates for their engagement! Of course, learning doesn't stop at the doors of ip.labs. Meet ups, conferences and exchange with others is enriching. That's something we also want to encourage even more - already looking forward to the new insights


We believe that an agile people development has a huge impact on becoming an even stronger organization. It helps create an environment for happy, engaged people that do what they love and be who they are. It gives us, as an organization, the means to be active and successful. We build our own mosaic, today and for the future. We think the first step was to formulate our vision and values regarding that topic. Furthermore, we are excited to experiment, receive feedback, take a few detours and learn. What do you think? How did you go on the journey of (agile) people development?

Photo by Job Savelsberg


Written by Viktoria Richartz

As part of our People&Organisation team, I am a people person. I love being part of your journey and support you in your professional and personal growth.