Keeping Agile with Change Management

Many software start-ups and IT companies are now resorting to 'Agile' and change management. Agile methodology mainly refers to dissecting a project into short-term cycles which are commonly known as "sprints." The assumption behind agile methods is that the situation keeps changing throughout the project.
Agilists focus on the reality of the business and try to deliver the change projects within stipulated time by performing the project in short sprints rather than adopting a single change management process.

The Agile development process

The classic Agile development process case study has been detailed in the Scrum 1995. The critical observations of the Agile framework can be considered as:

  1. The disintegration of the change projects into short-term iterative cycles
  2. Less time and space to achieve the objectives as now you are focusing on completing one milestone after the other
  3. Changes and developments in the current plans
  4. Organizational resistance to change management
  5. Managing the impact of agile on the existing project managers, and IT team

The short tern iterative cycles are repeated every 2-3 months depending upon the size and requirements of the project. The steps involved in the iterative includes planning, requirement analysis, designing, building, and testing. These processes keep changing with every iterative due to the underlying assumption of the dynamic situation in an agile environment.

Agile Manifesto

Due to the flexibility and adaptability of agile methodologies, an Agile Manifesto was published in 2011.
The principles of the Agile Manifesto are:

  1. An interactive environment: Individual interactions at an organisational level is given prime importance. It involves coordination, teamwork, and motivational sessions.
  2. A pilot version of the project: Before the release of final version a demo pilot version of the project is adapted to understand best the requirements of the customers rather than depending upon documentation process.
  3. Continuous customer interaction: One of the most critical factors to be considered is constant interaction with the customers to understand the exact requirements of the customers.
  4. Quick response to change: Agilists need to work faster and quickly respond to the changing environment.

Role of Change Managers in the Agile framework

It is imperative to set up a highly effective change management team for successful implementation of Agile practices at the organisation. Since the success of the project is highly dependent on the performance of the change managers, it is imperative to have an experienced change management team for agile projects.
Training should be continuously provided to the teams according to the changing times and requirements. It should be focused, precise to keep them abreast of the current developments.
Communication should be direct, precise and frequently performed to achieve clarity on the topic.
The change managers should be able to tackle resistance at middle-level management through continuous communication.
A change management team comprising of professionally experienced change managers will contribute towards successful completion of the agile project.

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