Enterprise Change Management in Agile Software Development

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management requirements might include:

    • create a stakeholder list
    • create a series of surveys on stakeholder attitudes
    • contact these stakeholders, and socialize the survey results

Tasks required for the delivery of iteration can then be broken down into stories, for example:

    • make a list of stakeholders in a certain business group
    • create a survey covering these specific questions
    • create an analysis spreadsheet

Creating ECM stories in the same manner as their development tasks deeply integrates change management into the Agile process. In fact, these stories can be created in a test-driven development manner. For the above story examples, a test could be written proving that:

    • a stakeholder from the business group is included in the stakeholder list
    • a survey covers a specific required content item
    • the analysis spreadsheet has a correct column

At the start of each iteration, these tests would initially fail and would begin to pass as these change management stories are fulfilled.

ECM tests and their pass/fail state can be illustrated on the Agile teams’ continuous integration dashboards. Making these dashboards available organization-wide provides all stakeholders maximum insight into teams’ overall progress to heighten project awareness across the enterprise.

By integrating ECM into Agile development, the development team can escape the project stovepipe and extend its vision to the greater enterprise. Every veteran Agile manager has watched hopelessly as a project that met every customer requirement failed due to external factors beyond their control. Although ECM does not give the project team absolute control over its destiny, it can substantively expand the domain of its influence.

Successful Strategies
Our company, Asynchrony Solutions, has been applying ECM principles within Agile development projects for both commercial and military clients. Here are a few specific strategies that have worked well for us:

  1. Using Video To Help Stakeholders See and Feel the Benefits of a New Mission-Critical Application. The new underwriting system we developed for a large insurance organization was designed to significantly improve the lives of the stakeholders who would use it. It would replace a grueling legacy process of underwriting that involved cutting and pasting information between multiple spreadsheets and the rekeying of data from image-based data sources. Although those closely involved with the project saw the benefits as self-evident, our client realized that people’s natural anxiety about change might negatively impact adoption. As part of a larger change management program around the new system, our team created an entertaining three-minute video that used humor to contrast the nightmarish manual legacy processes, with the highly automated ease of the new application. The video was presented in a theater-style setting to a group of more than 100 managers at an annual meeting. It contributed to a very successful implementation.
  2. Adding Change Management Roles to Support a Large-Scale Agile Initiative in a Government Organization . A transformational IT architecture initiative we are helping develop for a joint military organization would eventually have a significant impact on every major internal and external stakeholder group. Due to the complexity, scope and mission-critical nature of the project, two change management subject matter experts were assigned to the Agile team, and a detailed change management plan was created for the project.
  3. Hosting Stakeholders’ Conference to Socialize a New IT Strategy. A large-scale conference was hosted to allow stakeholder groups to come together to learn about a new SOA-oriented IT initiative. It provided a unique opportunity to capture their undivided attention for two days of focused education and communication. The forum provided stakeholders with the opportunity to voice questions, and gave our customer a means to address what might otherwise be unanswered concerns. The event increased stakeholder

About the author

Dr. Myles  Bogner's picture Dr. Myles Bogner

Dr. Myles Bogner is the Vice President of Research and Development for Asynchrony Solutions, Inc., an information technology software and project-based consulting firm. He is an advocate and practitioner of Agile processes and continually guides teams to apply Agile techniques. He leverages enterprise change management to help both Government and commercial clients implement enterprise and service-oriented architecture, software engineering, infrastructure, and business process management practices that allow these organizations to capitalize on and react to an ever-changing business environment. He is a long-time fan of both Kirk and Spock. He can be reached at dr.myles.bogner@asolutions.com.
 

About the author

David  Elfanbaum's picture David Elfanbaum

David Elfanbaum is cofounder of Asynchrony Solutions and has recently ditched his formal title, “Vice President of Marketing” in favor of the superhero moniker, “Geek Interpreter Guy.” David can be reached at dave.elfanbaum@asolutions.com.

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