During times of increasingly complex change and disruption, organizations are successfully using an Agile approach that allows projects to deliver results more quickly. Agile delivers software and business improvement project work iteratively, working through an entire development lifecycle within each release iteration.
At Percipio Group, we believe that change management is critical to Agile success. Our clients hire us to use an iterative and fast-paced change management approach that helps achieve both successful implementation and adoption of an Agile project. Since 2002, we have learned to adjust our change management practices to better support delivery of an Agile project.
Redefine the Definition of Change Manager
When applying change management in an Agile versus Waterfall environment, the frequency and how change management activities are completed are different, even though the what and why remain the same. Change management activities become iterative and faster-paced, with work-in-progress plans aligned to Agile sprints and releases. As a result, think of change managers as part of the project team – not just a resource called upon when communications or training is needed.
Market Agile, Not Just the Project
Just as understanding the why behind a change can be a powerful motivator and inspiration at the start, understanding what Agile is, the benefits, and what it means can help drive project adoption. Communicate why an iterative approach is being used, identify clear success measures aligned with each Agile project phase, and ensure Agile project team experts are involved in the change management effort.
Prepare Your People Managers
Consistent and rapid user feedback throughout the project is foundational in an Agile approach, and manager support is key. Agile embraces a test-and-learn approach, and people managers can help identify improved business process, encourage continuous feedback, address barriers as they surface, and manage resistance.
Communicate More Often and More Informally
With Agile, project teams operate with increased and informal communications, such as daily stand-ups. Be sure to schedule time for communications between the project team and change manager at a higher level of collaboration. Use less formal stakeholder communications with increased frequency, keeping the overall communications plan in mind to avoid message overload. Finally, shift from long-term to short-term accountability, focusing on small wins and progress along the way.
Make Change Management Visible
Adoption is critical to Agile delivery, as each iterative release lays the foundation for the next. Help keep people adoption in the forefront by ensuring people risks are discussed in daily stand-ups. Be selective and visual about what drives adoption value. Lastly, keep motivation and hope strong along the journey with reminders of the project’s final objectives and clear, bite-sized steps on how to get there.
It is our belief that Agile projects needs more change management, not less. Planning for and building change management capability within your business will support the successful delivery of Agile projects and enable you to remain agile in the long term.
You are not alone in your change journey – we are here to help! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about our change management expertise and how we may help.
Kris Peet Senior Manager | Percipio Consulting Group, Inc.