What is the best way to integrate change activities into Agile processes to improve returns?
This is the answer we set out to address in this post.
Change has been, still is, and likely will be caught up in the shift in organizations either partially or fully to Agile ways of working. In some sectors Agile has been long standing. In others it is just arriving.
In many it has had a profound influence, initiating a fundamental re-think of outputs by incorporating ideas such as minimum viable product to client-ready development processes.
But one thing is clear, assessing change risk is a critical element to successfully implementing Agile products/outputs. This is because successful implementation requires user adoption of outputs delivered via Agile processes.
Fitting Change to Agile:
Having come up against the question of how to address change in the Agile process, we thought to provide an example using ChangeVU‘s virtual change risk assessment (Click here). This application is itself designed to fit to an Agile process.
We refer here to the generic Agile process including the 4 Agile values, 12 Agile principles, Scrum Roles and the Scrum process itself (see link to an example of these elements of Agile (see bottom of post *)).
We raise these items because the change process needs to fit with the Agile process.
And an optimal way to apply change to Agile is to assess change implementation risk at regular intervals that synergize with the Agile process.
Having a change process that enables teams to self-organize and adjust as things change is a pre-requisite to integrating change with an agile process.
And the challenge is, there is not much in the classic Waterfall Approach to change management that correlates well with Agile.
How does ChangeVU fit with Agile?
The ChangeVU change risk assessment process can be run in a recurring cycle, similar to Agile processes. So it suffices to review your scrum process and provide opportunities to assess Change Risk as you go.
The 5 main elements of the generic Scrum process are Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Backlog refinement, Spring Review and Scrum Retrospective.
Assessing change risk is an evolving aspect of the development cycle. Here’s an example of how to apply a change risk assessment process to your Agile scrum.The objective of the exercise is to minimize your change risk as it changes over the lifespan of the project:
1. Integrate the ChangeVU change risk assessment at the beginning of the Scrum effort.
Creating a baseline for your change risk is essential to creating eliciting key change issues and viewpoints. When this is done, regular review of change risk can enable rapid changes in priorities, which keeps resources free and responsive.
2. Update Change risk during Sprint Planning:
After establishing a base read on your change implementation risks, changes in the scope of the project can feed into subsequent change risk assessments by taking note of them at this step of the Scrum process.
3. Sprint Review:
If a discussion of change risks and mitigation actions is added to the Sprint review, there are two main advantages. First, regular review means that this process can be done quickly. Second, by including the change discussion in the Sprint Review enables a direct update to the emerging / changing change plan.
In summary, change risks are never stable – they change and require regular monitoring. Initiatives roll up into projects and programs, and it is not unusual for prioritization to change – meaning being able to adapt your resourcing, pacing and change communications quickly mean less time managing the change and more time available to do the change!
* Supporting Data
Of importance to change in the Agile process are the following aspects of Agile:
Agile Values: “Responding to change” (value4);
Agile Principles: 2 Welcoming Changing Requirements; 4 Work Together; 11 Self-organizing teams and 12 Regular reviews.
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