On change

A wise man once said that change is in the centre of the universe.

As a Business Analyst and Scrum Master change is part of my daily activities and on a larger scale change is a constant part of our lives.

But what is change exactly?

According to dictionary.com change is:

  • to make the form, nature, content, future course, etc., of (something) different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone
  • to transform or convert
  • to become different

Sounds simple, isn’t it? Yet the reality proves to be different.

It is in our human nature not to like change or be enthusiastic about it. Once we are comfortable to do things in a certain way they become habits and for this reason, we are reluctant to change our approach and consider other approaches as criticism towards own actions.

In my experience I dealt with change in 2 main types of situations:

  • things are going well, but the business goals are more and more ambitious hence the team objectives are more challenging
  • things aren’t going well and the team results are under expectations

No matter in which of the above situation I was I prefer to consider change as a product by itself. It needs to have a vision, a roadmap, a backlog (which will be prioritized), a couple of backlog items, acceptance criteria for each item, an owner and a changing development team.

Either you are the Change (Product) Owner in your team or within your organization here are my top 10 suggestions for successful changes:

  1. Start with sharing the change (product) vision and the roadmap to the change development team
  2. Create the change (product) backlog consisting of the items that will be changed
  3. Add clear goals and acceptance criteria for each backlog item and don’t forget to mention the benefits of changing the status quo
  4. Prioritize the change (product) backlog but be careful on the approach. If for software development the backlog items with high priority are the most complex ones for change backlog a few easier backlog items should be a top priority. This will result in backlog items completed fast having a big impact in the development team morale towards change
  5. Schedule a change kick-off meeting with all stakeholders involved and discuss high-level the change (product) backlog
  6. Work with change as a Scrum Team having 2 weeks sprints. Follow the Scrum Events as described by the Scrum Guide: Daily Stand-up meetings, Backlog Grooming meeting, Sprint Review meeting, Sprint Retrospective meeting and Sprint Planning meeting
  7. Inform offline the business stakeholders about the results of each change sprint, if they are not able to participate at the Sprint Review meeting
  8. Always keep an eye out on the change (product) vision, not only on the individual backlog items
  9. Be prepared for change sprints in which the results will be lower than expected. Take care of the team morale and continue to energize the team in the change direction
  10. And last but not least don’t forget to enjoy the change ride

The Take-Away

Not all changes are good and not all changes lead to reaching the change (product) vision. Still, I think that change is a very important culture component for any organization that considers the continuous improvement to be part of the company strategy.

Having difficulties embracing change in your organization? Let me know and we will sort things out.

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