A new approach in managing an Agile Adoption

Posted on Posted in Agile, Agile Adoption, Leadership, Lean Change Management, Organisational Coaching, Scrum

Our traditional thinking of managing change, when we look at the change models we currently use, suggest that we believe everyone changes at the same rate and intensity. A traditional change management process typically looks like: Assess, Prepare, Plan, Implement and Sustain the change.

A change team could take months to assess, prepare and plan for the change, only to find out that by the time the plan is executed, everything has already changed. People, process, technology,  even the market will have already changed. Change in people doesn’t wait for the plan to be executed, it starts with discussions at the proverbial water cooler already. Agile is not just about changing the process of how we work. Agile adoption requires a mindshift, a change in culture and even change in beliefs. Adopting Agile values and principles affects every part of an organisation.

In a complex change like an Agile transformation, a process driven linear approach is just not effective.

The results from the State of Agile survey 2017 report conducted by IQbusiness, (download a full copy here), confirms that our current approach to managing change is just not effective.



Most agile adoptions are mandated from top down and typically this leads to large resistance from the middle layer and the team level. How do we address this?


Lean Change Management is a modern, action-based approach, inspired by Agile and Lean principles and practices, to manage change more effectively. One of the key principles is to co-create change with the people actually affected by the change. In traditional change management, the change is managed by a central team, often not affected by the change. It is important that management focuses on steering the organisation, and to do this, change will be required. Rather than dictate the change, an alternative is to provide the business with the reasons why the change is important and let the people affected by the change co-create the how and what needs to change. 


Lean Change Management is an iterative feedback driven framework. You start with gaining insights to the change challenge, then create options to solve the highest priority challenge, and finally run experiments to test these options. Based on the feedback received, you either continue, pivot or abort.


You can still apply any traditional change models, for example ADKAR,  McKinsey 7S framework or Kotter´s Model. The key difference is that you run them in an iterative feedback-driven approach, rather than a linear approach.

“…our competition is changing and the market is changing, so how we are going to compete has to change, with our ability to be able to compete based on our ability to deliver as quickly as possible… change needs to happen, so whether you call it Agile or adaptable, flexible delivery, it doesn’t really matter, but there has to be some change in the way we deliver.”  ~ State of Agile survey 2017


Not only do we have to change the way we manage change, we need to change the way we react to change. We need to focus on Business Agility, which means the organisation as a whole needs to be able to deal with change quicker.


“… understanding the concept of trust, empowering people to make decisions and having self-managed teams is something totally alien to a lot of people. Leaders want this culture change, they want this transformation, this transparency… it’s so nice to have this massive focus on culture.” ~ State of Agile survey 2017


Agile adoption is an organisational change and will not be effective if “rolled out” in the organisation. A successful Agile adoption, is one that is co-created, cutting across departments and levels within the organisation.


“…you need to orchestrate all kinds of priorities between the different teams, so that we can achieve (customers’ needs). It all depends on the people. You can make any structure work, if the people make it work.” ~ State of Agile survey 2017


Join me at IQbusiness for a 2 day interactive Lean Change Agent Management Workshop and  learn how to apply these modern lean approaches to managing change in your organisation

Learning Outcomes:

  • Understand how to apply Agile and Lean techniques to Change Management
  • How to use Agile techniques within your existing Change Management framework
  • How to reframe resistance to change to respond to change
  • How to modernise your change management practices
  • Combine ideas from Lean Startup, Agile, OD and CM to develop your own contextual change framework
  • Alternatives to ROI and project management thinking
  • How to use light-weight planning and measurement tools such as Change Canvases, OKRs, Perspective Mapping and more.

What You Get:

  • A copy of Lean Change Management
  • Access to the Lean Change Agent Network
  • Lean Change Management workbook
  • Inclusion to the Happy Melly Ecosystem
  • A lifetime of connections with over 2000 people who have attended these workshops (as of Dec 2017)

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