Sunday, August 11, 2013

Exploring Different Method Plug-Ins for Completing A Change Canvas - Part 3 Actions & Success Criteria

In our previous posts we described options around how to articulated your change recipient-urgency assumptions as well as your assumptions around vision and target state. For this post will focus on how to realize an actual plan using the Action and Success Criteria sections of the change canvas.


A change initiative require specific action necessary to get into the target state.

The action section of the canvas should describe the set activities required for change recipients to achieve target state and receive benefits outlined within the canvas

Action required to help change recipients achieve targets they can come in a number of forms.

Often change agents will act as a full-time or part-time coach helping change recipients apply new methods tools and habits into real working environment. While team coaching requires a lot of effort on behalf of the change agent it can be the most effective way to effect change.

Team coaching is often supplemented by one-on-one mentoring. Managers and executives often require face time to help them operate in an agile world. Agile management can be extremely hard to learn, and  requires managers that are comfortable enabling teams and departments that have high capability, are self organizing, and learn rapidly. One-on-one mentoring is often suitable for these types of change recipients.

One of the best ways to get change recipients to learn new methods and tools is to help them cope facilitate learning events and workshops along with the change agents. This rapidly transformed recipients into agents, and champions.

As changes scale out across the organization setting up a specific curriculum for habits, methods and techniques relating to agile anime delivery is an effective option. This is Not recommended when conducting your first changes within an organization, it is highly challenging to create a curriculum, and then learn that it does not suit the context of your environment, and have to change it again. This is a tactic that is just done later in the change program, there's a lot of upfront effort required to build and communicate the curriculum, but once in place will allow the reach of a specific change program to reach a far wider audience.

Classroom training is a good starter tactic to help get a larger number of change recipients introduced to a particular topic. Relying exclusively on classroom training is a recipe for disappointment, our experience is that most knowledge workers are only able to absorb the most basic concepts through classes, and require much more hands-on approach if there is a desire to truly change the way work is being completed.

It is also been our experience that some organizations are in such a dysfunctional state that there needs to be deep structural and process change if the client wishes to improve the way that they deliver. This tends to be a tactic that many traditional change agents tried to consider first. Our opinion is that deep structural and process change should be reserved for later after the organization has achieved success in using agile methods and techniques on a number of teams or departments. Organizational changes are hard to undo, and so should be tested at a limited scale rather than rolling them out big bang.


Success Criteria

Success criteria allow you to evaluate whether your change is proceeding according to your initial assumptions.

Success criteria provide insight about whether actions are leading towards benefits and the target state.

success criteria can be thought of as a compass to help change agents and change recipients continually re-orient themselves toward the direction it will be to success.

Keeping things simple, success criteria could be filled out simply by mentioning one or two metrics That you want to track through the duration of the change engagement.

For example we could mark down that after every improvement item we want to track the number of people that feel comfortable practicing agile modeling techniques without coaching assistance. We could also add a second metric around the number of defects that have been generated as a result of improperly captured user stories.

More ambitious change agents may want to capture what are known as lifecycle metrics. Borrowing from the lean startup world, many lean startup's use a form of lifecycle metrics by David McClure known as pirate metrics. This approach involves tracking the lifecycle of a potential customer from initial awareness, to first real contact (activate), to when the customer actually purchases something, to how the customer actually is retained, and finally how the customer will refer another customer to the product.

Continuing with our shameless riffing of the lean startup method, we have come up with a similar lifecycle that describes how change recipients pass through a lifecycle for a particular change initiative.

Using this model change recipients first become informed of a particular change. They then exhibit some behavior that shows they are interested, further activity illustrates that they are now actively involved in changing behavior, eventually this change in behavior will result in better performance, and finally the success will result in a change recipients boasting, or publicizing, about his achievements either informally or formally.

If we imagine that we have a change agent who is currently trying to work with the Department of software developers to use techniques found within the code craft Mission movement, we can imagine the following change lifecycle. As we start this change initiative, we can measure the number of people who pass through each stage of the lifecycle during periodic intervals.

This would allow us to evaluate how successful our change initiatives from the perspective of our change recipients.

Again following the example that we been showing throughout this section of the course we have designed a change recipient lifecycle for a team trying to become successful through usage of agile modeling method and related techniques.
  1. Change recipients show interest by accepting and attending a number of initial agile modeling workshops
  2. Change recipients then show that their behavior is starting to change by completing specific class homework as well as independently executing on work assignments that are generated as a result of workshops.
  3. Finally change recipients are showing true performance changes when they are able to independently run workshops without any change agents involved, and also when leadtime in defect rates improve as a result of the new way of working
  4. A stretch goal for this change is that change recipients boast the other employees within the organization and that this results in other employees requesting to adopt the new techniques.
Once this lifecycle has been defined we can put in assumption around how many folks we hope to target to reach each stage, as we implement specific improvement items we can continue to revisit these metrics to see if we are talking according to our initial assumptions.

Read More Lean Change - Chapter 3: Advanced Change Canvas Topics
  1. Using Plug-Ins to Explore the Urgency and Change Recipient Sections
  2. Using Plug-Ins to Explore the Vision and Target State Sections
  3. Using Plug-Ins to Explore the Actions and Success Criteria Sections
  4. Using Plug-Ins to Explore the Benefits and Commitment Sections
  5. Using Plug-Ins to Explore the Communications Section
  6. a Catalog of Reusable Agile Change Patterns

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