Integrating Agile with Change Management Principles to develop a Framework

In a period of time where  the level of competitive and external disruption is at an unprecedented high, many organisations are focusing on developing agility across their enterprise. 

So why the focus on Agility at an Enterprise level? Put quite simply, as demands from customers and competitive pressures increase, agile enterprises are far more able to pivot and adapt than their counterparts. These businesses have the ability to innovate, be quicker to market be more productive and keep costs down. To play their part, change managers need to adapt their approach, mindset and toolkit.

Agile Change Management

So what is an agile change management framework in supporting this ground-shift in approach?

Many of the values and frameworks that underpin agile delivery can be applied to delivering change.  Agile change management can be seen as a set of principles that can help change practitioners focus efforts on the most important activities, determined by customer value and stakeholder impact.

Agile change moves away from a set of rigid change deliverables that need to be articulated up front, and focuses on the right change, at the right time, to enhance customer and stakeholder outcomes. It provides a lean, flexible and iterative approach to achieving sustainable change in an agile environment.

Agile Change Management Principles

  • Focus on the change experience for the stakeholders and users – Spend less time and energy on creating slides and spreadsheets and more on meaningful engagement with stakeholders, co-designing the change experience around them. Ensure customers have the right knowledge and skills at the right time to use the new capability
  •  Transparency and Trust  – Invite your stakeholders to be part of the process, shifting focus from a ‘comms and stakeholder engagement plan’ to engaging stakeholders early with regular feedback and allow them to see more of the process earlier. Agile events such as sprint planning is a critical event for stakeholder to see what is proposed next sprint and clarify any issues, likewise, sprint review is the feedback opportunity to inspect the product and adapt what’s needed next.
  • Integrate Change with Agile – Embed change managers into the scrum team, align ways of working and delivery cadence and share responsibility for driving change and adoption. Embrace agile way of working , set expectations, highlight differences to other delivery approaches and invest time in helping stakeholders understand the new ways of working. The change team can also help build change resilience by equipping leaders with
    a compelling narrative to connect the long term vision with tactical changes and embracing enterprise agility as eveyone’s business not just the solution or technology  team.  
  • Understand the Minimum Viable Change – Agile encourages early and continuous delivery of working product to the customer. The concept of Minimal Viable Product (MVP) allows for a focus on speed of delivery and getting ‘basic’ functionality out to users quickly. Change practitioners can adopt a similar philosophy and focus efforts on the key change activities that add the most value for business stakeholders and end users and free up time for meaningful stakeholder interactions.
  • Welcoming Changing Requirements – It isn’t possible to plan and accurately predict upfront exactly what is needed therefore change agents in agile environments need to be comfortable with some degree of ambiguity. Agile governance and feedback loops are designed to help pivot and adapt to changing requirements  to cope with the rapid changes in environments and evolving customers needs.  Any new requests and changes are handled in the product backlog and priroitised by value and eliminates the need for writing and approving change requests.
  • Evolving HR role in delivering change at an enterprise level -rather than expertise, resources and planning being held at the center of the organisation, create a more supportive and agile approach to change management that is based more around focusing on providing skills and resources so people can help themselves, rather than doing it for them. Enabling people in the organisation to act quickly, and ensuring processes and systems enable the HR team to also move faster. Hiring, training, communications and performance need to be done at a pace to match the new agile ways of working

Agile Change Management Framework

The requirements and demand of rapid change in our environments means that organisations need more focus on managing change and not less; but change management must become Agile too. An agile change management framework needs to look at where change management can be integrated with the agile framework to embed “change” as part of the new way of working. 

Enterprise  Agility requires that all areas of leadership are in sync and enabling empowerment f to allow the organization to act rapidly in a time of unprecedented change.Embracing agile change principles can make you a more effective, customer-focused and integrated change manager and bring faster, better outcomes. 

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