We organized a two-day training for the affected teams, and made sure that it did not adversely impact their scope nor their delivery. At the time, I was very close to my pregnancy leave and I was even more eager to make sure they understood what they were going to receive from this training… additional knowledge that would help them move towards positive change and resolve the lingering problem.
I was anxious to make sure they could successfully address the change they wanted to see in their current project. They were all a fantastic group of developers, QA, solution architects, etc. What they lacked was proper change management experience to help them solve these problems. After successfully attending the training on John Kotter’s powerful principles for change, we opened up several discussions.
We were talking about what would be the best to do, in order to create a powerful change plan. We started with Creating a Sense of Urgency.
We all voted our solutions architect as one of the most respected people on the team, to email our delivery manager and add our branch manager in the loop.
What we got was neither success nor failure. We received a vague response, as we expected. It was full of resistance to changing her behavior, with little commitment to effort, and no mention of the reasons why our delivery manager’s behavior was the way it was. But not everything was adverse, we certainly did something great…. we raised attention to our general management. This was the key factor in us not giving up. Our following step was to make sure we create a Guiding coalition. It was the key people in our teams who stood behind this change initiative.
Our third step was to form a Strategic Vision, we made sure we didn’t stop with the first email communication, and we followed that conversation and continued to talk to our branch manager about the persistent problems, as well as the zero trust derived from our delivery manager. It was a difficult game to play during a period of time when the scope was tight and no delivery or process alterations were allowed.
We quickly listed our Volunteer Army. It was our Solution Architect, our tech leads and our branch manager who joined our “troops”.
We removed barriers. We managed to enable action by speaking to all our members, and making sure we are all on the same page. We were also making sure everyone in the teams wanted to achieve the same thing.
Getting a better delivery manager to support us and make sure that we were heard, listened to, and can be trusted for all actions towards the customer relationship. Our teams were glad at the time… a few months into the change plan. They managed to have more than one conversation with the company’s executive team and with the customer. Both parties were completely dissatisfied with this important function.
Small, SHORT-TERM wins were visible on the horizon.
Sustaining acceleration wasn’t easy. I was already way out of context, on a pregnancy leave.
We had to sustain the acceleration of this change journey for the betterment of our teams. Group members met regularly in their retrospective meetings, and discussed next actions, keeping the status active. Finally, after 7 months of constant negotiations, emails and online conversations, the decision was arrived. Teams would get a local delivery manager who will be physically present, be listening and able to stand up for our teams. It was official. There were no teams happier than mine at that moment. I said to myself… thanks to John Kotter.
And Time flew…
I recently had the intriguing opportunity to join a new educational body in the field of change management and Enterprise Agility. Having completed the certification, and gone through many examples of implementation, I can quietly say that the program offered a wide palette of change management techniques. As a set of tools to cope with change, whether in traditional, classic agile adopting or exponential enterprises.
I have become familiar with a different tool for change called the Change Journey Pyramid. (Bühler, 2018)
The first thing that came to my mind was: what if I had this tool available back in 2017? How would I use it?