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Let's demystify agile change management

Agile change management has been a hot topic for a while now.

There’s a lot of content around on why we need agile change management and we’re seeing more linear models circulating. Yet, we see less content on the activity that is carried out by agile change professionals.

Now, as we are starting see job adverts asking for experience in agile change delivery, it’s time to take a closer look at what ‘agile change’ really means for the practitioner.

The big leap: from DOING to BEING agile

When we first start working on agile projects, we typically do agile. We attend stand-up meetings and add our change activities on a Kanban board. We look for ways to integrate agile practices to our existing change framework or methodology. Often, in our early efforts, we create lighter versions of our existing change deliverables to match sprint cycles.

Eventually, this lets us down because we are trying to anchor agile ideology to an incompatible, linear construct. We’ve probably all been there! And if that’s where we are at now, that’s okay too! It’s part of our learning journey.

Don’t despair! At this stage, we have the right intent. We just need to tweak our approach and really dive into what it means to be agile, rather than just doing agile.

Doing agile is about following the technical practices and ceremonies of Agile, such as Scrum, Kanban and Retrospectives. Being agile is when our mindset and behaviours are aligned with the values and principles of the Agile Manifesto. This is where agile is not just about software development and projects. Of course, we don’t stop the “doing”; we seek to adopt both.

For change practitioners, the leap occurs when we can let go of our current approach to our work, adopt a beginner’s mindset and experiment with new practices.

For organisations, the leap from doing to being agile is the path to building enterprise or business agility.

No, not another change model!

Once we dive further into agile change delivery, the temptation is strong to look for (or develop) an agile change model or methodology. But we know that adopting yet another linear change framework won’t shift our mindset to think differently. It’s evident we need to take a different approach, but what does that look like?

We created the Agile Change Playbook to introduce a unique approach. Our capability-based approach to agile change delivery liberates your thinking from trying to anchor agile approaches to existing methodologies. It helps your mindset lean into new and agile ways of working so you can deliver maximum value and influence as a change practitioner. At the same time, you can apply the 30+ agile practices showcased in the Playbook to any change initiative. If your organization is already committed to a change methodology, these agnostic agile practices won't get in your way; they will complement what you do.

The idea is to:

  • explore new activities

  • tell your stakeholders you are experimenting, so it’s safe to introduce new practices and tweak as you go

  • introduce change activity that is lighter and ‘right-sized’ for your change initiative

  • invite people to contribute and iterate together

The Agile Change Playbook also answers questions such as:

  • How do I get started in agile change?

  • What do the change activities look like?

  • Do I need to be on an agile project to use agile change practices?

  • What if we already have a change methodology in place?

  • How can I future-proof my change capability?

Making the leap in agile change maturity from doing to being agile takes patience, courage along with a spirit of curiosity and experimenting bravely.

Agile change management continues to evolve, as does the change practice itself. It’s time to experiment! Let’s demystify agile change management and #letsplay!

For more information checkout the Agile Change Playbook at the Agile Change Leadership Institute here.

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