Managing Organizational Change as a Result of the Agile Process


plan for agile and for this level of change, the primary emphasis is on something we refer to as cultural change management. To understand this better, we will discuss the main points under this topic. For starters, any time a change program is introduced, it is expected that there will be points of resistance throughout the organization.

For this reason, one of the recommendations often made is to employ a practice called Customer Value Analysis™ (CVA). This process uses well?known business and functional analysis techniques to quickly and reliably derive user stories from business goals in an incremental and iterative way.

The process won’t tell you what the solution is, but will help uncover the questions that need to be answered. Understanding what is needed to make the program a success is the greatest challenge with any program. A complementary set of tried and tested business and functional analysis techniques enable quickly and correctly determining what the different people involved in the program really need to achieve their goals.

Think of CVA as the initial level set to get the organization and its key stakeholders on the same page regarding what “being agile” really means to them. The approach helps the team to reason backwards from the path of least resistance and identify real options for change; options that can be estimated in terms of their value and effort to the company.

From the onset of CVA, a systems thinking approach is used to identify and challenge assumptions that the team has. This is followed by dispelling the assumptions one by one so the logical flow is clear to everyone.

The success of cultural change management is predicated on the ability to do this work upfront. Rather than just gaining consensus, this demonstrates a reality that shows an iterative and incremental path to change, in true agile fashion.

The change path also involves introducing the teams to specific tools and practices that will benefit them. One common mistake organizations make when adopting agile is the assumption that all the known agile practices must be used and understood. While that type of knowledge and know-how is helpful, it is often an impediment to change. Being agile, as you would expect, means adopting only what you need at the moment with visibility into what else may come later.

Some of the key practices used to drive adoption for change include:

  • Visual Management
  • Business Value Modeling
  • User Stories

Visual Management

Agile is very much about visual tools and management. The agile community has rejuvenated the Post-it ® all over again. Perhaps the most well known visual agile tool is the scrum board, or as we referred to it earlier in this article, the Kanban board. This is the visual tool that represents the four columns that allow a team to move the stories, noted on Post-it notes or index cards, from left to right to get them to the “done” or completed column.

Having the scrum or Kanban board is a mandatory tool, however we recommend that organizations using agile to drive a change program also employ some type of visual stream mapping, a more commonly known lean practice.

The idea of visual stream mapping is to visually display the change program, identify desired and undesired effects, understand prerequisites, and begin to develop a view of which people and teams will be impacted and responsible to help drive the change.

While a scrum or Kanban board are great progress tracking tools, visual stream mapping helps shape roles and responsibilities and it allows for risks and impediments to be surfaced.

Business Value Modeling


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