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Why do people really want to implement Agile? For fashion or is it the future?

I’ve been working with a couple of organisations over the last months providing assistance with some organisational change stuff. The number of questions from many people across the organisations is mainly about implementing Agile Organisational Change.

Everyone – individuals, groups, teams, have been surprised by my reply (Not really everyone as those that know me well were not at all surprised).

My reply was something like this: why do you want to implement agile change management?

Their replies were consistent: it’ll be better, quicker and more cost-effective than what we’re doing now.

Our follow-on conversations were interesting and thankfully, as a Change Consultant – seen to be useful and practical.

These conversations had a very clear focus from me: what had been put in-place to create the culture, skills and most importantly mind-sets & behaviours facilitating the “better, quicker, cost-effective” benefits expected from an Agile approach?

Most of the time training was given on the technicalities of implementing Agile: roles, responsibilities and process.

What was missing almost across the board, was the skill-set required to be change agents/facilitators of the organisational change required i.e. the desired end-state.

In addition, there was almost no activity within the C-Suite in managing expectations. Just because the word “Agile” was used does not mean the C-Suite excused their responsibilities e.g. visible sponsorship and acknowledging that using “Agile”, leaves work remaining to be done – requiring their sustained support and understanding.

This brings me to the “Fashion or Future” part.

The ‘Fashion” part I’d summarise by saying there’s more to effective agile organisational change than sticking the word “Agile” in front of existing processes and practices. For evidence, even using a robust method such as Prince2®, what is the success rate of projects using Prince2 measured by C-Suite expectations of time, cost & quality as “agreed” at project initiation?

The “Future” part goes something like this.
If enough work is done with Front-end Loading, creating and sustaining mind-sets, behaviours and organisational culture supporting an Agile approach, then this could really be the “Future”.

Linking appropriately with robust methods e.g. Prince2, ITIL® and so creating a robust people and process framework for successful organisational change.

Contributed by;

Bob Black, Principal, People Skills Organisational Development Consultancy.


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