Case Study

Agile & Lean Change Management: Attendee Interview - Ty Newton

Previously, we wrote about how we built the Agile and Lean Change Masterclass by following the principles taught in the course. Here's Part 1, as well as Part 2.

For Part 3 of this series, we talk to Ty Newton - Manager, Planning and Service Development from the Department of Health and Human Services, who cam along to a recent Agile and Lean Change Masterclass.

It was interesting for us to work closely with someone from within Government, who is bound more tightly by regulation and policy than your everyday corporate. It was exciting to learn how ready Ty was to look at changing the way he was working, and add to his tool belt, by using the methods and principles from Jason Little's Lean Change Management.

Have a read of our interview with Ty from about a week after completing the course, benefit from his experience and learnings so far by applying the tools techniques in his current work environment.

If you want to hear more about this course or get in touch with any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to me at ringo.thomas@tabar.com.au.


we were able to turn around a decision within days which just doesn’t normally happen.
— Ty Newton

So, before anything else, what's your current role?

My role is as the Manager of Planning and Service Development at the DHHS. In simplistic terms, this is about leading change, putting together quality assurance mechanisms and developing insights and metrics that inform the work that we do. I’m working with people both internal and external to the DHHS.

What was the problem you were looking to solve by coming along to the training course?

Given the accelerating pace of change that we face, we want to be able to respond more flexibly and effectively. It's important to be able to bring products and services online quicker, but they also need to be well informed and aligned to policy.

For me, it's all about having a suite of different tools you can use to approach different problems and opportunities. By developing different approaches to managing small and large change, it allows you to be prepared for new circumstances as they come along.

Do you feel like this gave you the knowledge to look at how you approach this problem?

"Yes" is the short answer. The test for me will be actually applying the tools, techniques and approaches. There's no one way to approach anything, but given the content that we traversed I was able to shift my thinking and I’ve already applied the learning.

 I like to be challenged; I’m constantly seeking ways to grow as an individual and broaden my awareness and understanding of new and better ways to deliver outcomes.

Ok, that's good that you've applied the learning already. Can you tell me more?

I had a workshop where I was looking to gather some key insights with a group.

Traditionally, I'd use a business excellence model, but I decided I'd use the sail boat exercise because I thought it would be a good way to help people feel the value of getting their points of view across.

People loved it! It was a design piece for one of the builds to do with our capital portfolio, by using the sail boat we were able to turn around a decision within days which just doesn't normally happen.

Last question, were there any concepts or ideas you felt were particularly powerful?

For me personally, the overall approach around starting with Insights, exploring Options and how it’s set out, what’s the impact and what’s the value, then moving onto Experiments, it nests everything really well. 

I also liked the blast radius, to be able to think from a stakeholder point of view, and then another layer in terms of analysis is really powerful, it's just another tool on the toolbelt that you can pull out when you need it. Importantly, it’s these types of tools and processes that remind me to be people focused rather than plan focused.

How I used the Lean Change Cycle to help launch and refine our training course (on Lean Change) Part 2

This is Part 2 of a 3 Part series about how we used the Lean Change Cycle to bring the Agile and Lean Change training course to market. In Part 1 we covered a couple of our initial experiments, and in Part 2 I’ll share our experience moving forward and speaking with our customers.

Why we did what we did

At the end of Part 1 you’ll remember that we’d just made a new set of hypotheses and launched 3 further courses. Success looked like a full room of participants and customer feedback indicating that we were addressing their needs.

  • “We believe there is a market for more regular Agile and Lean Change Management training.”

  • “We believe that by identifying and speaking with our customers to understand their problem statements, we will be able to create a course that better suits their needs, messaging that speaks to their requirements and build a captive audience for future engagement.”

The purpose of speaking with the market was to validate the product/market fit. By further identifying the “why” of the requirement for this training course it enabled us to continuously improve on our customer offering and meet our customers needs.

What it told us

To begin with I mapped out 6 key customer types and spent over an hour individually with around 20 customers. I simply wanted to understand “what is the problem statement that you would be looking to solve by attending this course”. The 6 customer types and their responses are below.

  • People Managers - want to help their team's effectiveness in the business.

  • Change Practitioners - want to understand how change management works in an agile environment.

  • Project and Program Managers - want to remove blockers to help them deliver and have a consistent change approach to engage their teams.

  • Agile Practitioners - want to have a broader influence outside of their team and gather new tools and techniques.

  • HR Professionals and Trainers - want to ensure that Change Management is effective and engages the wider business in a state of change.

  • Business Architects - want to understand the root cause of business issues and how to put the power of change into the hands of the people.

These insights were valuable and helped us shape our messaging and pitch for the next round of courses.

Fast forward through the next 3 courses, and in terms of attendance numbers and engagement, we were successful and we were excited.

Throughout the journey we’d been gathering post course feedback. Always looking to improve, we noticed a consistent insight that made us reflect on a few specific areas.

Our data illustrated that our course was most important to Change Practitioners, as the percentage of Change professionals attending was high. However their feedback told us they felt that with a broad group of customer segments in the room, the content was too broad to fully satisfy their needs.

So what were our options? We could continue with no change knowing people would continue to attend. We could decide that the wider market outside of Change Practitioners were quite happy with the course and tailor it to them. We could talk to the Change Community and understand more deeply what they were looking for.

The experiment we chose was to talk to the Change Community. We identified them as the early adopters who were actively trying to solve the problem we had a course for. We spoke to ten Change practitioners to validate Product/Market fit.

Our insights are summarised here:

  • They wanted to learn about ‘Agile’, and what ‘good agile’ looked like.

  • They wanted to hear about and share stories with other Change Managers to further their understanding of where Change Management is going/ needs to go, and how it fits into Agile Delivery environments.

  • They wanted to understand the linkages between the Lean Change approach and their current Change Management methodology so they are able to work in a more Agile way.

Furthermore, Change Practitioners are seeing changes in their industry, they want discussions about what’s happening and tools and skills to help them improve and remain relevant.

Where we took it

Based on this insight, we made the decision to review and amend our content. Our latest hypotheses says “we believe that by aligning the marketing, content and learning to the Change Practitioners identified requirements we will have a higher satisfaction and sale rate on future courses”.

It’s important to note that our other customer segments will still get value from this course. We’re evolving it to address the problem statements of a Change Practitioner, however the target audience remains Change people, Agile people who understand that Change is an intrinsic part of their role and people tapped on the shoulder to “make change work”.

We’re about to launch our 2017 calendar with 10 courses in Melbourne and Sydney and we’re excited to be better able to align to this key customer segment. We’ll keep you up to date with our new insights as we gather them.

Part 3 of this series explores the experience of a participant in the course, and insights about their problem statement.

If you're interested to hear more, please email me on Ringo.Thomas@tabar.com.au


Find out more about the Agile and Lean Change Masterclass, including scheduled courses in Melbourne and Sydney.

 

How I used the Lean Change Cycle to help launch and refine our training course (on Lean Change) Part 1

by Ringo Thomas

 Ringo Thomas

Ringo Thomas

"Practice what you preach", "eat your own dog food", "be the change you wish to see". We’re all good at giving advice, but how often do we really follow our own lead by doing things at the standard we set while coaching others?

Over the past 4 months we’ve taken our “Agile and Lean Change Management Masterclass” to market here in Melbourne and Sydney.

This is Part 1 of a 3 Part series to share how we used the Lean Change Cycle to take the Agile and Lean Change training course to market. Across the series I’ll be setting the scene of why we decided to launch it, how we gathered insights, selected options and ran experiments to refine the offering based upon what people told us that they wanted.

The Lean Change Cycle

For those of you unfamiliar with Lean Change, it’s a simple 3 step cycle.

                          Lean Change Cycle

                        Lean Change Cycle

  • You use lightweight tools to gather insights from your business, team or customers.

  • You use these insights to select and prioritise options you choose to address these problems.

  • You create experiments that help you test your hypotheses.

  • You gather further insights from these experiments that helps you decide what to do next.

I’ve bolded the words insights, options and experiments to demonstrate the cyclic and continuous nature of the Lean Change Cycle, much like Agile.

Everything began with a set of insights we’d gathered that helped us see the gap in the market.

These were:

  • The world of work is changing rapidly, organisations need to be able to respond to change both internal and external at a rate not seen before.

  • Project Management and Software Delivery has evolved through Agile, now following an iterative, feedback driven approach to delivery as a whole.

  • Change Management is beginning to adapt and we believe there is a better way.

We considered our options based on this, and our coaches Peter Lam and Jude Horrill decided to join forces. Peter’s role as a Head of projects sees him applying Agile practices to his PMO’s, Projects and Teams. Jude’s experience has delivered change in Global Operations and Enterprise Transformations for Multi National Corporation’s.

Jude and Peter felt that Jason Little’s Lean Change Management framework is a useful way of addressing these issues. They believed that together their combination of experience and expertise could coach people in a way that addressed the challenges people were facing.

What did we do?

Our first hypothesis was simple -“we believe that if we run a one day training course on Agile and Lean Change Management, people will come”. We challenged the current market offering of a 2 day course with a one day course we felt addressed everything, and we launched it. This was our first experiment. Success was people attending from the kick-off.

People did. Right off the bat our hypothesis was proved true by a very active market demand and people purchasing. By conducting our first experiment we’d gathered information for a fresh set of insights and we were now considering our next options.

So what was next? Where could we improve? We’d had a theory and tested it in the market and now knew this was something to pursue.

We decided two things:

  • “We believe there is a market for more regular Agile and Lean Change Management training.”

  • “We believe that by identifying and speaking with our customers to understand their problem statements, we’re able to create a course that better suits their needs, messaging that speaks to their requirements and build a community that we engage with.”

We launched three further training courses - two in Melbourne and one in Sydney to continue our experiment on market demand. Success looked like paying participants and customer feedback that indicated we were addressing their needs. Concurrently, I segmented the customers (more to come on this in part 2) and began speaking with them to gather the insights required to truly understand their needs.

To summarise this first phase, it was about testing the market softly to validate our assumptions on a requirement. We did this in a way that set us up to speak with the people we were trying to help and begin to be seen as leading thinkers and coaches in the space.

In my next blog I’ll share the results and insights we gathered by speaking with customers to understand their problem statements and needs, also update you on how the following 3 courses went and our plans for 2017.

If you're interested to hear anymore about our journey email me on Ringo.Thomas@tabar.com.au


Find out more about the Agile and Lean Change Masterclass, including scheduled courses in Melbourne and Sydney.