Change management never seems to be straightforward in large, complex enterprises and this program was no different.This is the story of the journey to integrate change management into a continuous delivery model, from the perspective of 4 people and their respective roles as Change Managers (Portfolio and Project Level), Scrum Master and Agile Coach.
Here’s the situation.…
In a major Australian bank two change practitioners were assigned to a Digital Banking program of work. There were no change people involved until Kelly (Portfolio Change) and Lisa (Project Change) came along. Kelly and Lisa were from a separate functional area and felt on the outer from the start, particularly given the other team members had already formed into scrums.
And the complications.…
Firstly the organization was moving away from a waterfall model to an agile approach, requiring a new mindset and ways of working. And this was the first agile project for both Lisa and Kelly.
So they were thinking, “what’s going on and how does change fit in?” The Change team was feeling isolated, confused and disheartened at the first PainPoint with a ‘Us and Them’ mentality all round. The Change team looked for opportunities to show their value.
Trying New Stuff….
The first change experiment was to introduce a Strategic Change Canvas to align to the agile ways of working. Initially, the Change team felt the Delivery team had little or no understanding of the value of change (PainPoint2). The Change Canvas provided a conversation tool and aligned people on what was changing. The Change team was making headway, starting to feel more positive and showing the delivery team what change skills and support they could bring to deliver to the customer. They were moving away from a heavy reliance on documentation and really considering that the ‘change’ was being supported.
“As the portfolio leader, it is very important that I set up the right learning environment for the change practitioners and allow their own learning by empowering the team to try new stuff. Co-creation and collaboration was key”, shared Kelly (Portfolio Change).
The Agile Coach.…
This was supported by Stephen, the Agile Coach. “Collaboration was key early in the project lifecycle, as was facilitating discussions between people/groups/teams. Taking a product view helped drive the mindset of agility as change and change as a part of agility!”.
Further Insights were gathered from applying Human Centred Design thinking for the Banker Journey. The Change Team strived to consider banker and customer need to ensure the change landed well, had strong uptake and that benefits were realized. A Change Wall was created to make the change plan visible and to engage discussion and alignment to the change activities. Then the challenge was how to create a change backlog. An Experiment Tracker(PDF) was later created to capture outcomes of experiments and help with gaining insights. “At each step, it was important to understand the problem you were trying to solve, to then test options and learn from each of the options identified.” said Lisa (Project Change).
The Scrum Master….
The Scrum Master (Delivery Manager) Susie, incorporated change into all aspects of the Software Delivery Life Cycle (SDLC). She ran daily agile stand-ups with the team members and twice a week held a Scrum of Scrums stand-up with the Delivery Leads, Change, and ideally with the Project Managers and Product Owners.
On the program wall, the features needing change management were flagged with the key items and activities. Change Management was introduced at the start of quarterly planning and then the change activities were followed up through the Backlog grooming, sprint planning, development, and delivery.
“The Product Manager and Change Manager worked closely together. This focused on when features need to be released, how they integrated into Enterprise Releases and importantly linked into key change activities. Involving the Change team provided the development team with a much stronger view into the customer needs”, Susie told the group.
“This began as an experiment to test and learn on how to integrate change activities into the SDLC. From the success of this experiment we have been able to successfully adopt this integration across the platform“.
The Business enjoyed the journey and had strong adoption of the product, which was rewarding for the team. The challenges of shifting to embrace an agile and lean change management mindset, while working in fortnightly sprints to introduce changes is not to be underestimated. The Journey took 2 years and incorporated a feedback-driven model for managing change and integrating Change Management into Delivery. Having an environment supportive of ‘trying new stuff’ as well collaboration and co-design were key success factors.
Lastly, Key Takeways (from Meetup Participants)….
Experiment canvas clearly showed the value of face to face interaction.
Great example of forming a hypothesis on the most useful methods to get business engagement.
Moving from short term project thinking to products is vital.
Importance of understanding and learning from the customer.
Getting the right people in the room early in the process.
Importance of building relationships and collaboration
Written by Vicki Young, Co-Founder Melbourne Lean Change Management Meetup and facilitator of this session. The session was run “World Café” style, with 4 concurrent sessions for each presenter, followed by Q & A. Each participant group rotated through each of the 4 presenter sessions (representing a different perspective). This was book-ended by an all group intro to frame up the Meetup session and a close out to gather participant insights.