The Change Report
Fall 2018
Many of our clients have been managing change in fast paced, iterative, agile environments lately. There are some unique principles and practices that are necessary in these types of change environments that we explore in our latest book, Managing Change in an Agile World. Check it out! 

This newsletter focuses on setting up an infrastructure that is necessary to manage change in an organization that is releasing changes in rapid succession. We hope you find it helpful! 

Enjoy the articles below, and as always let us know what you think!  
Successful Change in an Agile Environment
Setting up infrastructure to ensure that change management tools can be optimized for an agile environment is important groundwork for ensuring that changes succeed when iterative agile work begins at full speed.

When changes are happening in rapid succession very quickly, it is important to have an infrastructure that allows the team to focus on the content of each change rather than some of the more structural foundations of change management work.
  • Clear team roles and responsibilities
  • Forums for leadership alignment and discussion
  • Mechanisms for documenting stakeholder impacts and communication delivery
  • Mechanisms for delivery of learning material
  • Feedback mechanisms that ensure employees have a way to provide quick input to the team.

Roles and Responsibilities
Clearly documented project team roles and responsibilities are particularly important in fast moving change environments. Letting each team member know who is responsible for performing different tasks, even at a high level, helps ensure the appropriate change management activities are planned and executed so employees are ready, willing and able to change. Establishing this foundation at the start of the change effort will enable the team to maintain the speed and efficiency that agile environments demand.

Leadership Alignment
Even when changes taking place are small, it is important that leaders are aware and supportive of the changes. At the start of the change effort, ensure that there are regular forums to share information about changes with leaders. These forums, used throughout the project, ensure leaders understand what is changing and how people will be impacted.

Stakeholder Impacts
Having a place where information about how each release or wave of change impacts people is stored and shared could be as simple as a collaboration software workspace such as OneDrive, SharePoint or DropBox. Making sure there is a place to hold the information, and that the people who need to see or use it know how to access the information sets the project up for success.

When changes are coming in a series of releases or waves, having functioning systems that efficiently and effectively get information out and back saves time and increases the value of the change management effort. Defining the key communication vehicles for the project at the very outset of the effort and ensuring the team and vehicle owners know that you will be using them, are important to ensure that people are ready, willing and able to work in new ways. 

When changes are happening every few weeks or months, you need to plan up front for an easy and quick way to get materials to people who need them. Defining the learning or training approach, the format of the materials, and how they are released to people should happen as the change team starts on the project to enable the team to focus on the content of each release rather than formats and delivery processes. 

Employee Feedback
Because changes happen in such rapid succession in agile change environments, often the inclination is to keep looking forward to what the next change is rather than supporting people who have just experienced a change. It is important to have infrastructure to gather feedback after a change is released to help ensure that people don’t revert to old ways. 
Infrastructure Readiness Checklist
As you set out on the project in this agile environment, take a minute to assess whether you have established the infrastructure necessary to support the pace of the changes to come. If you fill out the checklist and do not have every question as a 'yes', then make sure the 'nos' are addressed quickly. Click on the link below to access the Infrastructure Readiness Checklist.

In Your Shoes
Joy Love
Project Manager, Customer & Community Services PMO
Have you approached projects differently after your Change Management Certification? If so, how?
Yes, it’s been nearly two years since I was certified by Change Guides and I use the concepts almost daily. My organization has recognized my interest and education in Change Management and it has been put to good use. I have had an opportunity to partner with several Senior Project Managers that demonstrated strong technical or project life cycle skills; and my leadership team has asked me to join forces with these highly talented PMs to assist with the change associated with the project. This approach has helped develop and strengthen multi-directional communication, increase collaboration within teams and across business units, and prepare the people and processes for change that can be sustained over time.
What advice do you have for others trying to drive change?
If you find you can’t use the tools, try the concepts instead! Sometimes you may not have the opportunity to use the tools. Some may not understand the benefits that result from some of the assessments or audits, but that doesn’t mean you are blocked. 
  • Ask some of the same questions on the assessments. 
  • Use your personal experience in working with stakeholders or the experience of others to perform your analysis. 
  • Develop a draft elevator speech and ask for feedback from key stakeholders as an alternative approach; and then share it with others to use as a communication tool. 
I like to say, “If you can’t get through the front door, check to see if the side door is open”, in other words there’s always more than one way to achieve your change goals.  
What one thing has helped you the most in driving change in your organization?
It’s tough to select one thing, so I’ll cheat a little…
  1. Partnerships with those that have a vested interest in sustaining the change. I ensure they (typically mid-level and senior management) know I care about how the change will impact their staff and operations. I maintain communications and ask for feedback. I want them to know that they have a strong ally that is committed to their success.
  2. The Change Management Pocket Guide. If you’ve used it, no further explanation is needed. If you haven’t, I strongly recommend it.

Interested in learning more about managing change in agile environments? Change Guides has opportunities for you. Our 2.5 hour online training provides an overview of the principles for managing change in agile environments. This engaging session offers a forum to discuss challenges, proven strategies, and tactics when driving change in fast-paced initiatives.

We recently updated our Blog and are excited for you to check it out. Take a minute to see the updates we made and let us know what you think.

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