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Change management in cloud and agile projects

‘The only thing that is constant is change’-is a phrase that you often hear in organizations which are enabling change and being adaptive. You have heard it so often, that it seems like a joke. However, we all know that it is very true.

Part 1 - Cloud

‘The only thing that is constant is change’ -is a phrase that you often hear in organizations which are enabling change and being adaptive. You have heard it so often, that it seems like a joke. However, we all know that it is very true. If you look closely, the organization that adapts easily to change is most likely to have a defined process for change management throughout the organization; to support the change, to gain business benefits and to reach goals. Change is part of their culture. In these organizations, change management is also integrated into projects and not forgotten when the project is ramped up. Change is welcomed. There are still IT-projects that are kicked off, where change management is the final thing to do prior to go-live. Tasks are done, but a sufficient focus is not placed on them. This may cause the project to seem successful and possibly a new application is ramped up. However, it is not utilized fully to gain the maximum benefit. There might be cases when the focus is more on getting the new technological solution in use rather than focusing on gaining a broader benefit from the process or other change related to new tools. In organizations which adapt to the cloud, change management is even more important. Cloud projects can bring organizational changes. In addition to organizational change, there is also another fundamental change with the data analytics approach and how to utilize it more effectively. Easier and improved data analytics possibilities with cloud-based applications and data can enable the adoption of new ways of transparency, which changes work even more than expected. Think, for example, about financial reporting and replacing legacy software with a cloud solution which is easy to access and analyze reports. These are easier to interpret and access, which then shortens, for example, the monthly reporting, planning and reaction time. It allows organizations to focus more on planning future actions, than reporting on the past. In order to benefit from new technology, changes in work methods and processes needs to be introduced into the whole organization. Be sure that in your organization, you get the maximum benefit from projects, regardless of the technology. You should adopt change from project level to the whole business, by ensuring that change management is properly handled from the beginning.

Part 2 - Agile

Companies that have adapted to agile software methodology, have already adapted to a change. The company culture, organization and work methods have been adapted to fast delivery and face-to-face-work. Adapting Agile is itself a big change management project. One of the Agile principles is to embrace change. This principle even highlights the importance of change management. In organizations which have adopted Agile, the change management process might be more flexible and less template driven, due to the nature of agile software development. It can be fully integrated into the agile delivery process, or partially handled in iterations, just when needed. The importance of seeing exactly what is being delivered at what time and with what impact is crucial. It is important to be able to train, instruct and adapt for change to occur. This requires a clear strategy across portfolios to be successful. Change management planning in agile organizations must be there from the start. This is especially critical in organizations which have software development in both agile and waterfall methodologies. Regardless of methodology or approach, in change management you need to be proactive. Do you agree? Please let us know!

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