I’m sure we’ve all read recently of more and more organisations choosing to ‘go’ agile through ‘shock and awe’; aiming to complete the transition to “better ways of working” in a matter of weeks. In some instances, we’ve even seen the organisation issue new employment contracts and give staff 48 hours to accept them or leave. I’m not kidding. All in the name of ‘agile’. What happened to “individuals and interactions” being the most important value? It makes me want to weep; but instead I’d rather do something about it.

What if there were other ways to introduce such changes to large organisations? What if there didn’t need to be a large formal change management plan? What if it didn’t need to be force-fed at speed? What if we could help those affected by the change co-design the change? What if we could embrace uncertainty and try small incremental changes, gain feedback and insights? You know, what if we could apply lean and agile value and principles to the way we shift to more lean and agile ways of working? It seems kind of obvious, but it’s not that common.

My name is David Morris, and I am a lean change facilitator. Join me as I share my journey from seeing the darkness in my consultancy ways and the dawning realisation that following a plan-driven approach to implementing feedback-driven practices was just plain bonkers. Together we will try out some techniques for applying lean, agile, and systems thinking to large-scale change. You should all come away with some actions you can try out straight away.

 
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Outline/Structure of the Workshop

  1. Insights:
    • Why I care: a short story of some of the horrors witnessed (and committed) in the name of helping clients become more agile.
    • Who else cares: a brief touch on research into this space (the good, bad, and ugly).
    • Exercise: Experience compass. Aim, to build a few teams with a range of experience in lean/agile/systems thinking and in change management.
    • Exercise: What's your problem? In each team, silently write out a sticky-note for the challenge you'd like to overcome. Take turns pitching to your team members. Then dot vote on the issue that looks like it will be most productive to work on.
  2. Options:
    • What we can do about it: an overview of some change approaches and introduction to the lean change cycle and it’s agnostic use of techniques.
    • Exercise: What can we do? In each team, silently write some ideas (one per sticky note) for what you each think could be done (the wilder the better). Collaborate on mapping out these options (effort vs value). Then select the option that looks like it will yield benefits in a reasonable time-frame.
  3. Experiments:
    • A brief overview of the types of change (activities, experiments, and culture hacks). An introduction to minimum viable change and safe-to-fail experiments.
    • Exercise: Trying out an option. In each team, co-create a hypothesis statement (defines what you are seeking to change, why, what the outcome should be, and how you will measure it). Using some reference frameworks, consider what might be impacted by the change, and silently write how you could take small steps to address each of those. Rank these in order of dependencies, importance, and urgency. Agree which you would start first.

Each of these three segments will be approximately 25 minutes (including the explanation and exercises). This should leave sufficient time for wrapping up and Q&A.

Learning Outcome

  • Understanding of the lean change cycle
  • Practical experience with some techniques
  • An agreed action to try out straight away

Target Audience

Anyone affected by change, whether leading, influencing, or at the mercy of.

Prerequisites for Attendees

It will help things along if you take a moment to think about what change challenge you have before you right now. It could be large or small, but the more current the better.

schedule Submitted 11 months ago

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  • Matthew Hodgson
    By Matthew Hodgson  ~  10 months ago
    reply Reply

    Hi David

    How are you planning on delivering this as a workshop?

    What workshop activities are you planning on running? What are the timing of the activities? How do these things relate to "calm down" and "transformation"?

    • David Morris
      By David Morris  ~  10 months ago
      reply Reply

      Hi, Thank you for the question. 

      My masters research (see link to paper in the links section) tackled why so many agile transformation fail. Chief reason I found was the change approach was antithetical to the change outcomes (i.e., don't follow a plan-based approach to becoming feedback-driven). A surprisingly high factor was also the emotional response, the so called 'resistance' people have to any change done to them. In my research, I proposed an adaptive change approach, and then came across the lean change management space (Jason Little and Jeff Anderson). 

      This talk shares my reasons for conducting the research and a very brief overview of the findings (similar to my five-minute lightning talk at Agile 2018), then takes people through an immersive lean change approach through the activities. 

      The outline agenda above is titled after the three main steps in the lean change cycle (insights, options, and experiments). The techniques are all ones I use on the Lean Change Agent course (which I have run several times), and I shall be running an event to the same format at the Auckland Agile Coaching meet-up tomorrow evening. I intend to update the agenda with timings based on how that goes. 

      The title "calm down, it's just a transformation", is a reference to an old TV ad with Michael Winner for car insurance "calm down dear, it's just an accident". In essence, this relates to transformation because it will teach a framework for lean change that enables people to conduct change programs with people at the centre, breaking it down into small slices of minimum viable change and safe-to-fail experiments. It relates to calming down, because it deals with the emotional response people have. 

      The activities will use a range of techniques, including: experience compass (arranging ourselves N<>S on lean/agile experience, E<>W on change management experience), silent brainstorming (no more than 2 minutes), dot voting, the hot seat (one person per group champions a change and has to answer questions from the rest of their group), change canvas (describing the what, why, and how), options mapping (ranking by effort / value), hypothesis forming (what change do we want to try and why), and finally generating experiments and forming a backlog to get started. 

      Hope that helps. Happy to answer more questions. 


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