Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Fearless Change

I've recently joined T-Mobile as Agile & Online Programme Manager, and although there is an appetite in localised areas for agile adoption, there are some more fundamental areas of change required before real progress can be quantified.

Corporate IT strategy, budget governance, resource models, enterprise architecture and software development all need to change and require long-term commitment. Shifting towards agile concepts, mindsets, methods and practices is a significant undertaking and clearly, Toyota's statement of 12 years to "lean" is not only true, but probably an understatement.

Over the last few years software developers have often proselyted the use of software patterns, and having read around Alexander's original architectural patterns, I've become a user of organisational patterns.

The core, unique benefit of pattern theory is that it is the codifying of experience. This isn't some individual's idea of how to do something; patterns are derived from actual experiences of a problem context, the solutions that were applied, and that have worked before... Many times.

I've previously blogged about Coplien's book on Organisational patterns of Agile software development, but I've been using change patterns from a book called Fearless Change.

These patterns codify key lessons learnt by people who have tried to introduce innovation within corporate entities. This is not just about introducing agile, but about any innovation, and the benefit to anyone new to change management is that there are tried and tested patterns available.

Key roles identified include the maven, salesman and connector. Patterns I've used and that are bearing fruit include Evangelist, Do Food, Just Do It, Test the Waters, Small Successes, Time for Reflection, Step By Step, Plant the Seeds, E-forum and Brown Bag.

The other benefit of using this book as a tool, is that it is supportive to people in the midst of the struggle to introduce change and innovation. Others have been where you are now, and this is how they succeeded!

If you are not aware of, or using, a facet of pattern theory, you're missing a trick!


Kevin Rutherford said...

Agreed, the pattern form is unbelievably helpful -- partly because it helps folks to see the contaxt's parts and their relationships, and partly because it feeds the development of a Ubiquitous Language (another pattern, from Eric Evans' "Domain Driven Design").

(Btw, some of the sidebar links on your blog are broken.)

Amr said...

Agreed also. So much so, that (self-promotion) Agile Adoption Patterns is based on the idea of practices in Fearless Change, but applied to individual Agile practices. In fact, Linda Rising wrote one of the two forewords :) (/self-promotion)