Make Decisions Faster with Agile – Less Change Ownership

[Graphic made with Omnigraffle for Mac, which is 10x better than Visio on the PC]

Typically we find that when changes need to be made in any process, the process owner must approve a change before it is made. Then we find that the process owner has to approve the change before it is implemented. This generally takes a long period of time… or rather, much longer than is necessary.

The usual flow is:

  1. Someone recognizes the need for change (change agent) and requests to make the change to the process owner
  2. The process owner gives approval
  3. The change agent makes the change.
  4. The change agent preps the final change for approval
  5. The process owner gives final approval for the change implementation
  6. The change agent implements the change with other people
What needs to happen is that if you train a group of people to do the work, so that anyone can make the change, then change can happen quickly. If you encourage change agents to communicate the recognized need for change transparently, maybe through a collaborative system, then any one of the group can pick up the change and make the change.
Easy as pie. :)

[HT: Kosmothink]

13 Responses to “Make Decisions Faster with Agile – Less Change Ownership”

  1. Himanshu Bansal
    September 5, 2011 at 11:22 am #

    Sometimes, fast may not be so good. It should also be correct and required. In fact, I was reading another article (sorry, I could not find the URL now to quote) which said just the opposite of what has been proposed. I feel a balance of the two should be maintained. Change should not be so slow that by the time change happens business landscape has changed. It should not be so fast that when business starts to use the change, they realize that that is not what they wanted (or something else was on priority).

    • peter
      September 5, 2011 at 11:29 am #

      Balance is good man. I believe it may be a function of having a balance and “some” controls around how decisions are made.

      • Tommy Ball
        September 5, 2011 at 11:42 am #

        I agree! Those practicing proper risk management always have plans. B,C, D, and even E in their back pockets anyway. Quicker response to change gives the “haters” less time to plot against change. Change is never comfortable and those in power…however, new school-minded people work so fast, and smart, that we can have 3 major initiatives completed by the time old guard has a rough draft of just 1!

        • peter
          September 5, 2011 at 11:45 am #

          All about quicker response!

        • Himanshu Bansal
          September 5, 2011 at 11:53 am #

          All changes are not good and may not make business sense. It may not be prudent to make a change when business doesn’t need it or if they needed it the other way.
          Further, I liked “new school-minded people work so fast, and smart, that we can have 3 major initiatives completed by the time old guard has a rough draft of just 1!”

          • peter
            September 5, 2011 at 11:57 am #

            :)

  2. Sumudu Siriwardana
    September 5, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

    This is good. More like agile/scrum way of doing things. Some changes require fast decisions. As well as some changes cause problems by fast change. However, when teaming up to identify the change can be costly, since each resource accumulates by the number of hours/time spent on making the decision. Bigger the change, higher the cost. Or tougher the decision, higher the cost. Therefore the change must be precise.

  3. Jay Decker
    September 5, 2011 at 8:15 pm #

    Depending on the size of the organization, this approval process may not be so arduous and it makes sense (to Himanshu’s point) to make sure the change is justified and will be well received. It may be no more than a quick review and a head nod in smaller organizations to implement a change, with an expectation for the change agent to handle the implementation responsibly.

    There is an element of trust that can be established to empower such “agents” to see changes to production with limited red tape. Through BDD and wire frames our clients understand what they are receiving prior to implementation thus mitigating the number of approval checkpoints. The end result is very much the same as they first saw it.

    When you employ the right approach and remain in frequent communication with other parties, you can establish a rhythm that over time becomes more and more efficient.

    • peter
      September 5, 2011 at 10:51 pm #

      Agreed. What is needed though, as you stated is the trust factor. It would be nice to have a cadence to approvals!

      • Jay Decker
        September 6, 2011 at 12:00 am #

        Yes, that can be achieved so long as the approving party fully understands their responsibility for rapid turn around times.

        That being said, focus on transparency, simplicity and producing consistent results. You’ll achieve the privilege of trust quicker and subsequently less stringent approval procedures. You then of course incur a new level of responsibility to maintain that trust.

        • Todd G
          September 6, 2011 at 3:21 pm #

          I absolutely agree with the trust factor here. Without trust the whole concept breaks down. Sometimes getting to that trust level is difficult depending on the organization your work for or the size of the organization.

          • peter
            September 6, 2011 at 3:47 pm #

            With the trust… in a lot of ways you have to have the ‘influencing’ power to even create those bridges of trust. That takes time too

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