New Years provides a powerful trigger to do things differently and once you’re back to work, the status quo can settle in very quickly.

To start off the New Year, I wanted to tell you a story from Luis Goncalves, author of Getting Value out of Agile Retrospectives (co-authored with Ben Linders) and the upcoming Getting Rid of Performance Appraisals.

I virtually sat down with Luis and asked him a few questions about what prompted him to use some of the techniques in the book, and also, how he went about it.

Jason: What prompted you to want to start running change experiments?

Luis: Currently I work as an Agile Coach in HolidayCheck. I am responsible for driving the change in the company. As you know, I am co-author of the book: “Getting Value out of Agile Retrospectives”, therefore I am always looking for ways to reflect on what´s going on in our teams and organisations. After reading your book, I think this could be a fantastic tool to start running Agile Retrospectives on the organisation level.

Jason: That’s interesting, when people who are familiar with Agile Retrospectives ask me to summarize the book, I respond with: “It’s like Agile Retrospectives on steroids for your organization!” How did people react to this different way of exploring changes?

Luis: Until now we do not have much reaction from people, we drive changes on a very small scale. We try to get confidence in the tool/approach to try something on a bigger scale, but the ones that are involved are very happy and excited.

Scrum Masters create their own Hypothesis and Experiements

Jason: That’s a great lesson. Start sooner and smaller! Many people I talk to have a hard time understanding that. Sometimes they feel paralyzed by the status quo and overthink how to get started. Many organizations need some type of measurement for implementing change. Are you using any  measurements to show progress or success? why or why not?

Luis:  To be honest, the measure we use (at least now) it´s based on a gut feeling. As I mentioned before, we are trying to learn how to use the tool and then scale it. With the results that we have, we already have several ideas how to put some interesting measures in place.

Jason: That’s another great point. Getting caught up in measuring at times of great uncertainty might not be the right thing to do. I always propose the idea of relying on your gut when you don’t know what to measure or even if you should.  What would you recommend to other organizations that want to approach implementing change differently based on what you’ve learned so far?

Luis: One of the biggest learning that changed my way of acting came from your book, yet it was confirmed with the real experience. If you want to change something you must INVOLVE people… If you involve people and give them the opportunity to participate you will have so many great ideas coming from them, but most importantly, the resistance will be much lower… So please INVOLVE people in the change process and you will be surprised with the results...

Jason: Thanks Luis, I appreciate you taking the time to answer these questions! I’m glad to see that Scrum Masters in your organizations are able to freely create their experiments and hypothesis, and more importantly that it’s being visualized!Luis recently posted about his experience on the HolidayCheck blog as well.

Jason Little
Author, Lean Change Management at Leanintuit
I began my career as a web developer when Cold Fusion roamed the earth. Over the following years, I moved into management, Agile Coaching and consulting. The bumps and bruises I collected along the way helped me realize that helping organizations adopt Agile practices was less about the practices, and all about change.
In 2008 I attended an experiential learning conference (AYE) about how people experience change and since then, I’ve been writing, and speaking, all over the world about helping organizations discover more effective practices for managing organizational change.