Change Management

Make It Stick



Recognizing that Agile is a significant change in the way people think and do work, it is important to create excitement and get buy-in from everyone involved early on, address fears and reinforce the change through education as well as communicating, celebrating and rewarding Agile success.

Change management is a discipline focused around how we help individuals change. In an Agile Transformation, we can mistakenly think that it is the organization that we are changing when in fact it is people that we are changing. By integrating sound change managements practices within the Enterprise Business Agility framework, we are ensuring a structured approach is taken to fully support people through the transformation.

The Change Journey

Change happens over time, through a process that begins with learning new information, overcoming any resistance to the change and then integrating new behaviors and practices, which are eventually normalized and become ” the way things are done around here.”

Common Challenges

  • Breaking the predefined silos is not easy!
  • New Product Owner role requires new skills and engagement
  • Inexperienced ScrumMasters may lead teams to revert to old form
  • Learning to change command and control leadership style
  • Agile exposes many things that need to change
  • Getting a cross-functional team to ‘Done’ within each iteration is very hard when starting!

Key Success Factors

  • Build a collaborative environment
  • Establish a sustainable cadence
  • Don’t expect perfection!
  • Focus on practices that add value – eliminate waste whenever possible
  • Communication – transparent and on the main path
  • Inspect and adapt always!

Barriers to Agile Adoption

The greatest obstacles to overcome when adopting Agile are related to culture and general resistance to change. Without a comprehensive and intentional change management strategy, deeply rooted organizational patterns and beliefs will hold strong, even as new processes and organizational structures are created. See The Early Warning Signs of Project Trouble Cheat Sheet to learn more about what to watch for and how to remediate issues.

Organizational Barriers to Agile Adoption

  • No executive/management buy-in or support
  • No Transformation Roadmap or Strategy for Scaling
  • Customer does not buy-in to Agile or commit to collaboration and engagement
  • Resistance to change
  • Lack of knowledge and experience with Agile
  • Lack of Agile Servant Leadership and Team Collaboration skills
  • Multi-tasking, lack of portfolio prioritization and team stability

Overcoming Resistance

Use a thoughtful approach to work with people within the organization who are resistant to the change.

  • Sell the problem, not the solution
    No one wants a solution to a problem they don’t think they have
    Be open to hearing better solutions than you have

  • Emphasize the benefits of change
  • Put team members in touch with customers
    Let them hear the problems you are hearing
  • Help resistors find new roles

Change Management Models

There are several change management practices and methodologies in the industry. By integrating in a change management model as part of the transformation to EBA, you not only enhance your organization’s ability to successfully move to EBA, you enhance your organization’s ability to continually adapt, change and be Agile over the long term.


Traditional change management practices focus on the implementation of change through projects.

McKinsey 7-S

McKinsey 7-S provides a structure for analyzing the organization’s readiness and ability to accept change. The following areas are included in the analysis:

  • Strategy: the plan devised to maintain and build competitive advantage over the competition
  • Structure: the way the organization is structured and who reports to whom
  • Systems: the daily activities and procedures that staff members engage in to get the job done
  • Shared Values: called “superordinate goals” when the model was first developed, these are the core values of the company that are evidenced in the corporate culture and the general work ethic
  • Style: the style of leadership adopted. Staff: the employees and their general capabilities. Skills: the actual skills and competencies of the employees working for the company

Prosci ADKAR

Prosci ADKAR focuses on the people side of change and provides assessment, measurement and a change management process.

Cynefin Framework

Cynefin is a framework for decision making in the complex context of change. The Cynefin Framework allows executives and leaders to see context from new viewpoints, assimilate complex concepts and address real world problems and opportunities.