Special edition–ACMP annual conference: How “agile” is your change management approach?

***** Special Edition – ACMP Annual conference *****

Our most recent Brioches & Echanges, held on May 7, was dedicated to the annual ACMP Conference. We had the pleasure of hearing Christine Denny, Aline Baron, Sylvie Charbonneau and Caroline Ménard tell us about what they learned and experienced during their stay. Our upcoming blogs will also deal with the conference, focusing on the following topics:

1- The “Agile” Method, by Christine Denny
2- Meditation: A Powerful Change Management Tool? by Aline Baron
– Part 1: The Concept
– Part 2: The Results
3- A Look Back at Lisa Bordell’s “Kill the Company” Conference, by Sylvie Charbonneau



How “Agile” is your change management approach?

As we see more and more Agile working methods being used to deliver solutions in organizations, we must ask ourselves whether the way we carry out change management will have to change as well. I have just returned home from the 2015 edition of the ACMP change management conference in Las Vegas where this topic was discussed.

Agile is different from the traditional Waterfall development method in that it uses an iterative approach to design, development, testing and delivery.   Requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between the business and IT sides of an organization in order to speed up the time-to-market of a release.

Waterfall vs Agile ENG
This new reality is putting my beliefs on how change management needs to be done to to the test. I come from the “Waterfall world” where I can truly see the value in working hard at the front end of a change project to ensure there is a clear and common understanding of the end state among stakeholders. I also see value in formally planning all the required change management activities to contribute to their fluid and efficient execution. To me, these represent some of the key success factors in ensuring successful adoption of the change. However, this approach is not possible in true Agile projects.

Why? In Agile, the end state is in constant evolution and there is just not enough time for detailed comprehensive planning. Trying to do this will bog you down and drown you in constant updating. As well, because of the iterative nature to design, there is often a lack of information when you need it to build your change management materials. It is clear to me that with Agile approach, we need a more rapid and flexible change management approach.

Given the constraints listed above, some common practices were presented at the conference and outline key success factors for Agile change management:

Key success factor 1:

Équipe Scrum ENG

Key success factor 2 :

Everything is managed by Sprint..yes….everything. Since the end state is not known and continues to evolve, you can only manage what you know.

Key success factor 3:

User stories (which are like small functional requirements which are prioritized into different Sprints) are change management’s best friend and are at the core of all the activities for the Sprint.

Récits utilisateurs ENG

Key success factor 4:

Be willing to change your mindset to work differently. By letting go of some of our dearly held assumptions, we can achieve the necessary paradigm shift required to have an Agile approach in our change management.

Remember that the core principles that the CM discipline relies on to determine what activities are needed is not what is challenged with Agile, but rather, it’s when and how we will execute and deliver them that must change. Are you ready to embrace the possibilities of an Agile project in order to continue to have success in meeting the business objectives of a project? I know I am.