Tag Archives: lean change

15-min-on-air (1)

15-minutes on Air with Jurgen Appelo

I recently sat down with Jurgen Appelo to talk about the next edition of Lean Change Management which is being published by Happy Melly Express.

We talked about what’s in store for the next edition and how Happy Melly Express is helping new authors create higher quality content by offering a variety of services like content editing, image and media production and more.

I understand now what it means when I hear authors say writing a book is a labour of love!  I’m enjoying working through this and despite the late nights and giving up free time and weekends, I’m thrilled with the progress made thus far!

Support Happy Melly Express!
Happy Melly Express

Happy Melly Express is Disrupting the Publishing Industry

I am happy (pun intended?) to be part of the first crowd-funding effort for Happy Melly Express!   Happy Melly Express is a middle-ground between self-publishing and big publishing companies.

The problem with self-publishing is that the quality of the content and look and feel can suffer in exchange for little to no cost to the author, other than time of course.  The other problem is distribution.  I’m limited to my time and budget.  I suppose the benefit is that self-publishers keep the rights to their intellectual property.

The problem with big publishing companies is they have distribution reach but offer little to nothing by the way of content development and marketing assistance.  For them, it’s about the bottom line, not so much about spreading new ideas.  The other problem is that some publishing companies wish to keep rights to the author’s intellectual property and can prevent you from using your own ideas through different mediums.

I have experience with both.  My first publication was supported by a large publishing company and other than an agreement, big gantt chart of the schedule I had to stick to and arrangement for studio time, I didn’t get much (any?) assistance with marketing, content development, feedback etc.   I knew that going in but the time effort for me, as an independent, was extremely high.  The product is much more polished than my 2nd publication, which I self-published, but I didn’t feel a great deal of love from the publishing company.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bashing publishing companies, that’s the way it works and most authors know that.  For me it was spreading ideas and getting my name out there as a new author.

I’m expecting a much better experience this time around.  Happy Melly Express is going to help me with what I need help with by offering a bunch of a la cart services that I can choose from.   I am working with a content and structural editor so I don’t need that service but I do need help with marketing, branding, image production and other media production.  Happy Melly Express will help with all of that which is awesome!

Best of all, I keep the intellectual property and get the benefit of working with Vasco Duarte who I have the upmost respect for.  He has been extremely helpful getting me started with this experiment and most of all, we care about helping make each other successful.  He nags me when I need nagging to get something done and he’s already done so much work getting this crowd-funding effort off the ground.

Have a look at this quick video about Happy Melly Express to see how they’re different from traditional and publishing:

I’m excited to be working with Happy Melly Express for the 2nd Edition of Lean Change Management.  If you’re an author just starting out, I’d highly recommend them as a way to help get your ideas off the ground and into the hands of people all over the world.

Evolving Change Management

The Agile community talks a lot about “agile failure” and I’ve seen more than enough debates about “doing vs being Agile” to want to shoot myself, but what about failure of change initiatives?  Let’s face it, Agile is simply a trigger for change, not a destination.

Change efforts have a lousy success record according to this article.  Here are the success percentages with respect to change initiatives from the article to save you some time.

1995 – Kotter: 30%
1998 – Turner and Crawford:  33%
2005 – Procsi: 29%
2008 – Mckinsey: 30%
2011 – Standish Group: 34%

At the Toronto Agile Tour this past Monday (Nov 26), Andrew Annett and I presented  “Managing Resistance to Change” and our desire was to change that to “Managing Responses to Change”.  The important distinction is that people do not “resist” change.

What we label as “resistance” is simply a response from someone who, for a variety of reasons, doesn’t understand the need for the change.  I won’t go into details for the purposes of this post, but obviously it’s more complex than that.

Is there a better way to manage change?  Can you actually manage change?  The metaphor I like to use is about managing the ensuing chaos after the change, not necessarily “managing the change” itself.

Oh no, not another model

I want to keep this post at a high level of developing a more cohesive change management strategy.  Given the article I mentioned talked about lack of structured change management process and a simplistic view of human behaviour as the two major factors, I think this approach to creating a change strategy addresses both.

1) Understanding Change: Learn about the Satir Change model, Interaction model and Human Validation Process model.  This will prepare change agents for what to expect from people and teams.  Along with understanding how people process change, I’ve run sessions that map MBTI temperaments and function pairings on top of the Satir change model.  As a quick example, someone with a Guardian (SJ – Sensing, Judging) preference will appear to be resistant when change is pushed on them.  They rely on past experiences and value stability, hierarchy and process.   You can also use models like SCARF and the Fogg Behaviour Model to understand the human behaviour side of change.

2) Prepare for Change: This is where classic change management comes into play.  Using the ADKAR tool (awareness, desire, knowledge, ability, reenforcement) , collect data and filter by layers of hierarchy, teams and departments to paint a picture of where trouble spots may lie.  For example, you could discover that the “Ability” score is low meaning that more time may be needed to support people through the change.  You may also find out that certain teams, groups or people have lower desire to change than others.  This data will help you figure out your change strategy.  There are other methods like interviews, walking through Kotter’s 8-step change model, cultural assessments (William Schneider) and more.

3) Trigger the Change: For this post I’ll use an Agile Transformation.  Depending on what data emerges from step 2, the trigger may be a manager training program for example.  You may discover there is no desire to change and stop the initiative altogether.

You could use “Agile Transformation” as the trigger or “Agile Adoption” as the trigger or the 4 Disciplines of Execution.  There are many more triggers depending on what problem you’re trying to solve with the change.

4) Manage the Response:  We’ve been experimenting with using Lean Startup techniques (Lean Change) to manage introducing change into organizations.  Lean Startup shortens the feedback loop as much as possible, allows you to validate the “minimum viable changes” before introducing them and involves the people affected by the change earlier.

During this step you’ll see your organization move from complex to chaotic and you won’t be able to predict how people will respond and naturally, those who struggle with the change will be labelled as resisters.  This is where it’s important to put reenforcing structures in place to help people elevate themselves into the new status quo.

Using Management 3.0, Speed of Trust, complexity thinking, systems thinking, 5 Dysfunctions of a Team and other frameworks can help people learn new techniques for managing this chaos.  I suppose this could fit into ‘Prepare for the Change” but I’d prefer to wait until I’ve poked the bear before spending too much time, money and effort over-planning for a reaction you cannot possibly predict.

I haven’t mentioned the other hoards of models and instruments that can be used during these stages.  All I know is there are enough models and thoughts from the change management world that can merge with the ideas in the Agile community to help organizations evolve into organisms that can adapt to their constant changing environments.

Stephen Hawking said that we are entering the age of complexity and the average life expectancy of corporations has shrunk from 70 years (1938) to 15 (2010).  Organizations that learn how to adapt will survive.  Organizations that don’t will die.

There must be a better way to help organizations learn how to change.  I’d love to hear your feedback and thoughts about how we can bridge the gap between change management and “Agile” and start focusing on fixing real problems.