Monday, April 16, 2012

How do we transform from Waterfall to Agile without disturbing our client's business?

Hey CMMI Appraiser, we are switching from a very mature, waterfall software development lifecycle to Scrum by June. How can we help our people make this big change without sacrificing our client satisfaction? ~ Lou M.

Hey, Lou – great question! Let me pass it along to Julie Calfin, a Senior CMMI Consultant with Broadsword, who does amazing work with companies who are undergoing large scale business transformation. ~ The CMMI Appraiser

Thank you, CMMI Appraiser!

Short answer, Lou: Organizational Change Management tactics can help your people change their behavior quickly with minimal disruption. Organizational Change Management (OCM) is a structured approach that an organization uses to transition from wherever they are today to wherever they want to be tomorrow. You can use it to navigate successfully through the enormous transformation in front of you.

A key to your success will be to understand how to bring people systematically through the change, without disrupting the schedule and budget of their projects. I have just the thing for you.

Below is the depiction of how people move through a change, from having minimal contact with it to having it be rooted in the culture of their organization.

By defining each step along the Commitment Curve that people go through, this graph helps you focus on where people are in their transformation. Over time, we will employ OCM techniques to bring them systematically up the curve.

Think of it like climbing a mountain. Your level of commitment moves from generally understanding the change (“I will probably need hiking boots and time to train”), to acceptance of the change (“This is going to be hard, but it will make me a better person”), to full commitment to it (“My team and I will summit the peak together”).

But it’s not quite that easy. A key take-away here: at each step along the curve, people either progress to the next step, or they exit out of the process all together. In other words, they keep climbing, or they fall off the mountain.

Pretty harrowing, right? Don’t worry – I’m not trying to scare you. An unhappy ending can be avoided by using OCM techniques to bring everyone up the Commitment Curve without any casualties. I’ll go into more detail in my next post.

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software exec!

Julie Calfin is a Senior CMMI Consultant with Broadsword Solutions Corporation. She has years of real world experience using OCM strategy and tactics to help her clients achieve their goals. Julie also uses the CMMI, in partnership with her clients, to set-up, monitor, and sustain process improvement programs.
Visit for more information about running a successful CMMI program.

1 comment:

Shawn Rapjack said...

Hey Julie - great comments! I can't wait to hear more detailed OCM strategy. So many companies approach change management without any, well, 'management'. CMMI and OCM can really dovetail to provide effective results. Shawn Rapjack