How fast is your organization capable of changing to continue to remain relevant and successful in the marketplace?
The world is changing at an accelerating pace as new technologies are discovered, developed, released and adopted by consumers faster than ever before. At the same time companies are rising to global scale faster and large, successful companies are disappearing faster too.
In this new reality that we all face, organizations of all types are going to need to:
- Change how they change
- Increase their organizational agility
- Increase the flexibility of the organization
- Become capable of continuous change
- Inhibit the appearance and/or growth of change gaps that can doom your company
It is because of this tidal wave of change and a recognition that there is a need in the marketplace for more human change processes and tools that make change seem less overwhelming, that my next book for Palgrave Macmillan will focus on the best practices and next practices of organizational change (aka change management), and I’ve developed a new collaborative, visual change planning toolkit to go with it (but more about that later).
One way to do all of the items in the bulleted list above is to take more of an agile approach to change, to adopt some of the values and principles of the Agile Software Development methodology and use those to create a set of what could be described as Agile behaviors within the organization. If you are not familiar with the Agile Software Development methodology, I have included below the Agile Software Development Manifesto from http://agilemanifesto.org that details the values and principles of Agile Software Development. As you read through the manifesto I hope you’ll see that the values and principles can easily be applied to other endeavors outside of software development, whether that might in the project management discipline of your organization, or within your larger change initiatives.
Manifesto for Agile Software Development
We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it.
Through this work we have come to value:
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
- Working software over comprehensive documentation
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
- Responding to change over following a plan
That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items in bold more.
Principles behind the Agile Manifesto
We follow these principles:
- Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
- Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
- Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
- Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
- Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
- The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
- Working software is the primary measure of progress.
- Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
- Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
- Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount of work not done–is essential.
- The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
- At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.
You will see in FIGURE 1 that constant change sits at the center, Agile Values providing the initial direction for an organization with a committed goal of becoming more agile. Radiating out from Agile Values as we pursue success in coping with constant change will be our Agile Principles. But, ultimately we can’t live our values or follow our principles if we don’t exhibit behaviors that personify those values and principles. Unless our organizations begin to behave in a more agile way then the potential of truly becoming more agile will remain just words, and go largely unfulfilled.
It is because of the challenge of behaving in a new way that I encourage all of your to make a move towards a formal pursuit of organizational agility. To help you in this pursuit, I will soon be releasing my brand new collaborative, visual change planning toolkit for companies to use on their own (with free training for a select few who agree to use it and document their experience for the book). In addition I will be launching separate training for consultants so they can use the tools with clients in their change management and project management practices. Please register your interest here.
Using this new set of change planning and execution tools and processes will not only make change seem less overwhelming, but it will also help you build alignment behind your effort, help you work through as a group how to LITERALLY all get on the same page for change, and create a more agile organization as adoption of the tools spreads.
Stay tuned for more great change content coming soon!
In the meantime, check out the different ways to get involved.
SPECIAL BONUS: You can now access my latest webinar ‘Innovation is All About Change’ compliments of CoDev with passcode 1515 (link expired)
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