For the Agile-folks who read this blog, you might not be aware that the Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP) is proposing a standard, called The Standard, for managing change…and a certification.  I know how much the Agile community loves certification!

For the change management professionals who read this blog, I’m sure you’re intimately familiar with The Standard!

So what does it mean for change management, and for Agile practitioners?

I think experienced Agile practitioners recognize that introducing Agile into an organization is more about managing change than ‘Agile’ itself. Imagine starting an Agile transformation in an organization that is following The Standard. Instead of using your instincts and experience, you now need to follow a ‘legally defensible’ standard. Will that help or hinder your efforts?

Have you seen your Agile transformation unfold exactly how you thought it would? Doesn’t following a plan versus responding to change seem backwards?

I think the volunteers at the ACMP who are creating The Standard would be well-served to learn about The Law of Requisite Variety.  Change in a complex adaptive system cannot be managed with a linear and standard process, because organizations rely on the reciprocal relationship of amplification, opposing forces and feedback to remain in balance.

Without that balance, organizations spiral into chaos, and a linear, standardized process is not equipped to manage the chaos, let alone prevent it.

What do you think?  Can an approach to change be standardized or is this ‘Standard’ setting back the profession of change management a few decades?

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.