Transition to Enterprise Agile: How to Ease Fear of Organizational Change

Most people have a fear of change. The organizational change could not take effect if management ignores people’s fear of change. The workshop proposes adopting attachment theory to ease people's fear when organizations are ready to adopt Agile at the enterprise level. Dr. Victoria Grady, a professor at George Mason University, said people usually are not resistant to change, but just express the feeling of future inconvenience. In general, human’s nature does not like change because of attachment theory, per Grady. The attachment theory is as simple as babies are attached to their mothers. People do not consciously resist changes but naturally, react to something of the loss of an attachment. For example, what would infants react when they are separated from their mothers? What would employees react when their organization is ready to use a new process?

What if we don’t deal with the loss of attachment, what are the impacts? Many lessons learned told us why scaling Agile failed, but it is not clear how organizations handle people’s fear during the organizational transition. The evidence also shows that 68% initiates failed because organizations do not understand attachment theory. For example, employees’ frustrations may decrease productivities. We certainly don’t want the organization to fail when transition to enterprise Agile. So, we will learn how we can ease people’s fear of organizational changes based on the theory. Once we understand what behaviors caused by the loss, we can seek solutions or mitigate the risks for a smoother transition. For example, the organization is under the functional organizational structure. Each team member has the same function, but now the organization requires cross-functional team structure. The solution would be to advocate employee engagement and leadership support.


Outline/Structure of the Case Study

  1. Opening – (2 minutes)
  • Self-Introduction
  • show gratitude and admire that everyone could come to the session
  • Ask audience about their role
  1. Agenda Introduction – (2 minutes)
  2. Quick survey to audience if they have any fear of change in general - Questions to audience (2 mins)
  • Do you like changes?
  • Are you resistant to change? If yes, why?
  1. Review Survey (2 mins) – use poll (
  2. Explain attachment theory (5 minutes)
  3. Activity I (Individual to share at each table) – personal attachment (5 minutes)
    • Identify your personal attachment
    • What is your reaction when you lose your personal attachment?
    • Do you have any replacement?
      • If yes, what happen?
      • If not, what happen?
  1. Activity II (Individual to share at each table) – Identify your workplace attachment (5 minutes)
    • Identify your personal attachment
    • What is your reaction when you lose your personal attachment?
    • Do you have any replacement?
      • If yes, what happens?
      • If not, what happens?
  1. Activity III (Organize some common symptoms of organizational change such as enterprise Agile) (5 minutes)
    • Fear of losing their teams (functional team to non-functional team)
    • Fear of losing deadlines
    • Fear of losing a plan
    • Fear the culture does not support
    • Fear the leadership is not a part of the change
    • List some possible replacements to deal with common symptoms when transition to enterprise Agile
  2. Activity IV (Group discussion per table) – Reaction to organizational change such as scaling Agile (10 minutes)
    • What is your reaction to organizational change such as scaling Agile like adopting SAFe?
    • What attachment would you lose?
      • Process? People? Project?
    • Do you have any replacement?
      • If yes, what happens?
      • If not, what happens?
    • Presentation Per table about their findings (5 minutes)
  3. Closing and takeaways (2 minutes)

Learning Outcome

The audience will learn it is OK to have a fear when undergoing organizational changes. The workshop provides exercises to help the audience learn what they are attached to and how to overcome the fear in order to obtain a smooth transition during organizational changes such as scaling to enterprise Agile. We expect the audience to walk away with a nice long list of attachments that can be replaced with a list of new behaviors when organizations are ready to become an enterprise Agile.

Target Audience

Manager, Scrum Master, Product Owner, Team

Prerequisites for Attendees


schedule Submitted 5 years ago