Last week, Don Harrison, developer of the AIM Change Management Methodology, led a webinar on Implementing Agile: Integrating Change Management for Sustained Adoption. If you don’t already know AIM, you’ll find that it not only complements Agile, it is Agile, and was way ahead of its time! In the session, Don provided practical, realistic guidance on what it takes to become an Agile organization, and what risks you need to be prepared for.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published in July 2017 and has quickly become one of our most popular blogs to date. Because the topic is so timely we have chosen to republish it as this week's blog!
As change management consultants, we’re often asked how Agile and change management fit together. There are a lot of questions about how adding change management to an Agile project management cycle works; there are concerns expressed about whether change management will slow things down, and get in the way of the speed and innovation derived from Agile.
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Whether your organization uses Agile or a more traditional Waterfall approach to project management there is no doubt the end goal is the same. Getting to value realization for every business initiative is, of course, the name of the game. But, while project management protocols focus on delivering projects on time, on budget and to scope, as change management professionals, we know that is not going to be enough. In order to get to full value realization there is more that needs to be done!
We’ve all seen them. Projects that are being governed by a Steering Committee that is nowhere near as effective as it could be. Or Project Teams that aren’t made up of the right kind of resources causing a project to slow down to a crawl or even stall out completely. As experts in Change Management, we know Steering Committees and Project Teams who don’t work well together can be a fatal flaw in any change initiative.
Change saturation is quickly becoming one of the biggest challenges in organizations across the globe. Our Change Management Consultants see it everywhere they go. “Sure, we can do that.” “Oh, that initiative will improve sales. Let’s get going on it quickly.” While there certainly isn’t a shortage of good ideas out there the bottom line is almost every organization we know has too many initiatives chasing far too few resources.
Imagine a world in which your organization’s most complex issues are solved by a continuous improvement effort and then the new processes are implemented seamlessly into the organization. Where Lean isn’t just a process improvement approach for a few, but a culture shift for the whole organization. An organization that just doesn’t do “Lean,” but where a Lean mindset permeates through the organization. Sounds perfect, right?
In conversations with potential change management consulting clients about a troubled project, or about the need for a change management methodology in their organization, they will invariably mention past projects that have failed but have not been forgotten. There is the ERP implementation that was quietly withdrawn, or the acquisition that has never been fully integrated. There is the shared services implementation that hasn't delivered the intended value.
One of the most significant stumbling blocks that business process re-engineering initiatives encounter is in the deployment phase of the process improvement process. There is logic and data to suggest that although statistical analyses can improve organizational effectiveness, reduce unnecessary activities, increase productivity, and reduce costs, no process improvement or culture change will occur unless solutions can be implemented through to utilization and Return on Investment.
Here’s the reality: Many project teams are focused solely on time and budget and the technical project milestones. All good, but that just will get the team to “installation!” The team is off and running, but if the end-goal is, as it should be, business realization (also known as value realization, ROI, or benefit realization) the project is sure to fall short in the end in achieving sustained change and long-term business results.