Nadine Wischmeier

Agile Change Process

5 steps to guide the organization, teams and individuals through the change

Becoming an Agile Organization is like becoming a driver. As child you are not aware, that you can't drive, because your parents take you everywhere.

As a teenager the desire to drive is rising, depending where you want to go on your own. As soon as the pain about not be able to drive is strong enough, you start making plans to visit a driving school, begging your parents for money or taking on holiday jobs to pay the driving school yourself.

Now you learn to drive. After the final test you are able to drive, but you are still very insecure.

Now you need a lot of practice and re-assurance, that you keep going....!

Change begins with the awareness, that the current situation is no longer desirable. Often, it is a long process to become aware and if parts of the organization or even the whole organization is still believing, that everything should stay the same, than you really need to work hard to make awareness happening. Make sure you communicate, that there's a problem, use as many metrics as you can and provide exposure to new people and experiences. You can also run an agile pilot project to create awareness.
Changing is hard and for many people also very scary. Until the awareness turns into desire, everything stays the same. Communicate, that there is a better way, create a sense of urgency and also address any type of fear in that phase. It is also important to build momentum through early success stories.
Besides providing a classical Scrum training or course, it is very important to coach the team to learn new technical skills, learn to think and work as a team and also how to create working software within shorter timeboxes. Make sure you set reasonable targets, share information and hold individuals accountable. Last but not least: Just go and do it.
Make sure, that success of early agile adopters will be shared with the team and the rest of the organization. Publicize those stories and also use metrics to support your message. It is also important to attract attention and interest. Let the people see and experience those changes as often as possible. Google for example is hosting "Agile Safaris". Team members can go and work on an agile team for a couple of weeks to get a feeel of what agile is like and how it works.
Make sure that other parts of the organization like Marketing, HR, Finance etc. also learn and understand, how and why development teams are working agile now. It is not neccessary, that they also use Scrum or other agile methodologies. Still these teams need to make small but important changes in how they interact with the devlopment group, because that will affect the development group's ability to be agile.

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