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.
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.
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.
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.