Is Your Organization Ready for Agile Change?

Change readiness assessments aren't a new idea...but there's an easier way to go about them!
October 28, 2016
Jason is the author of Lean Change Management and founder of the Lean Change Management Association and Spark the Change Toronto

A couple of years ago I interviewed a colleague¬†who tried a perspective map in her organization. The idea of change readiness assessments have been around forever, but there is a quick way to figure out the answer to whats in it for me?” at different levels in your organization.

As a change agent, I want to know:

  • what’s the difference in perspective between the executives, management, and staff?
    • how seriously does everyone think the whole organization is taking agile?
    • how seriously does management and staff think executives are taking agile?
  • what’s the difference in perspective between business and IT?
    • does the business and/or IT think it’s a good idea?
  • what do people associate the word ‘agile’ with?
  • has the experience for executives, management, and staff been positive so far?

This is input into a conversation, and it needs to be collected in a safe way. Sometimes people don’t feel free to speak up for whatever reason, and most of the time the executives think that everyone has bought into the change. How many times have you jumped into a gig because you were convinced that was true, only to find out not a lot of people really cared?

Here’s an example built in Piktograph, which can be setup to automatically show data from Survey Monkey, Google Sheets and more. Here’s the generated image:

untitled-report_12921025_4723b4c5a173863ff6c6bbef5056748c3d386a75

Perspective Mapping a simple exercise to do. With a smaller organization, and when there is safety, you can do this in-person as whole group. The example below shows the perspective of the organization, management, and staff. For example: why is this change important to the organization? To the management team? To the staff?

The idea is to help people understand the perspective of others. Often I find that executives want Agile because they’re tired of dealing with escalations, late projects, and bad quality. Then, at the team level, they feel they always deliver and there is no problem. I suppose the easy solution is to have the executives GO SEE what’s happening, but sometimes that isn’t a reality.
perspective-on-change

Here’s a diagram you can use to visualize a Perspective Map.

  1. Decide which perspectives (or cohorts if you like that word better) you want to capture (executive, management, staff, business, IT etc)
  2. Decide on the right questions to ask:
    1. What are you trying to learn?
    2. Where do you see mis-alignment, and how will this help as input into a conversation?
    3. What are the hot-spots? (IE: does management think something is working well, but staff thinks it’s not working at all?)
  3. Do this anonymously so it’s safe.
  4. Make sure the data isn’t influencing people, so don’t show the results until you have data for each perspective.
  5. Use the same questions for each cohort!
  6. Make the findings public (which is why it’s important to make the data anonymous!)

 

Screen Shot 2015-04-26 at 1.43.54 PM

More Stories about Perspective Mapping

5 Comments

  1. Chris Enstrom

    There are some excellent suggestions here Jason. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and insight – I can see me trying these out with my current client in the very near future.

    Reply
  2. Kevin Came

    This is awesome. Once we have this information how do we ensure embeddment? Often some of the barriers are things that cannot be solved for or rely on individuals own tenacity, unless one starts “punishing” resistors…

    Reply
    • Jason Little

      What do you mean by “ensure embedment?” I don’t think ‘punishing resistors’ will ever work. If there are more perceived ‘resistors’ than supporters, it’s a sign that it isn’t the right change, or the right time for the change, or the approach for introducing the change is incompatible with the organization.

      There will always be barriers to solve, I think strong ‘resistance’ is a good thing because it tells us something is happening and that gives us insight into how to move the change forward.

      Reply
      • Kevin Came

        By embedment I mean finding the right motivators to ensure the Changes introduced are bought into by the affected people. Your answer makes a lot of sense though! Thanks Jason

        Reply

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