Agile Change Management: Ensuring More Flexible And Faster Changes

Changes are very important for organizations that desire to be more progressive and advanced. In the current dynamic environment, change processes ensure meaningful transformations to digitalization. Sometimes, an organization can not achieve its goals despite the dynamic nature of change processes. Its main reason is choosing the wrong way to implement change processes. A change could be beneficial only when it is well-planned and must have some flexibility in its processes.

The agile change management process provides organizations with a better way to adopt new changes. It is simply said to be the implementation of an agile mindset into the change management process. In this article, we will briefly overview the concepts of Agile mindset and Agile change management. Before moving forward toward agile change management, we should know the basic concept of the agile mindset. That’s why we will overview the concept of agile mindset first, then we move on to agile change management.

What Is an Agile Mindset?

The term Agile was first used in 2000 when ‘The Agile Manifesto’ was formulated. This manifesto was published before a conference in Utah in 2001. It provides a base for ‘The Agile Alliance,’ which was formulated by the participants of that conference. This manifesto generally provides a guideline for software development. It contains the concept that software should be developed to make service operations faster. This Agile manifesto provides a strong base for agile service management and agile change management. It contains the following four main concepts;

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiations
  • Responding to change over following a plan

What Is Agile Change Management?

Agile change management refers to the implementation of an agile mindset in the change management process. It ensures more dynamic, flexible, and rapid change processes in organizations. Melanie Franklin the director of agile change management limited, defined agile change management as;

“Agile change management is a natural extension of Agile development methodologies including Scrum, SAFe and AgilePM which set out how best to create a ‘production line’ that frequently delivers tangible change in the form of new features and functionality.”

Agile change management uses an agile approach for running the processes instead of the traditional waterfall approach. In traditional waterfall approaches, change occurs in a flow and comes at the end of the process. Once you start the process, then you cannot stop it. If you stop, then you start the whole process again from the beginning. The following figure might be helpful for you to understand the traditional waterfall approach.

In an agile approach, changes take place in small sprints or steps. This step-by-step process causes a more systematic change process. The main benefit of using an agile approach is that you have the flexibility to change your plans. Moreover, you can stop the process in certain conditions without losing your previous progress. In organizations, change processes are too long; they cannot wait to accomplish the whole process to get a change. In this regard, an agile approach is useful for them because it provides organizations with step-by-step changes. We hope the following figure will clear the image.

Agile Change Management In Practice

After getting knowledge about the basic concept of Agile change management, now the question is, how could we implement it? The answer is there are many ways to implement The agile approach in your change management process; some of these are as follows;

Identifying The Change:

The first step is to identify in which field, change is required. It also includes which type of change, a complete change or a partial change, could run the work. Customer feedback is the most important way to identify the change.

Consultation With Experts:

After identifying the change, it would help if you consult with experts to get the knowledge about the process you are about to start. This consultation will help you in many ways, whether it is according to your security standards or not. Experts also determine if the change you want to bring is important or not. If it is important, they could also help you set your goals and preconditions.

Prescribe the conditions and goals:

The third step is to prescribe the conditions and goals before you start your change process. There is no need to go into details; just set your preconditions and goals and make the process ready to start.

Start The Process:

After setting definite goals and preconditions, start the process. It would be best if you divide your process into different steps, as we explained in the above figure. This division could be helpful for you.

Check And Balance:

You should keep a strong check and balance on if your change process is according to your conditions and goals or not. It is important because it would be disastrous if you realize at the end of the process that your goals are not achieved or achieved while violating the preconditions. So, you should check it regularly during the process.

If Your Goals Are Not Achieving:

If your goals are not achieved, the agile approach lets you change goals, plans, or preconditions along with the running process. If you have passed the purpose which you think is not achieved, then you should stop the process. Stopping a process in which you have invested your money, time, and energy is difficult, but it’s better to stop the process that could not benefit anyone.

Accomplishment Of The Change Process:

If your change process is running according to the preconditions and goals which you have set, then let it complete. After completing the process, you will get the complete change that you want. Unlike ITIL, Agile gives you a taste of change even before the completion of the process.

What’s Wrong With ITIL Procedure

ITIL’s change management approach was introduced to regulate the change process. It provides organizations with complete detail of how a change process should run. It is an ideal system that provides detailed procedures and step-by-step details about what to do in the current situation.

Now the question is, if ITIL provides such a detailed procedure, then why should we use the Agile approach? The answer is ITIL is an ideal and detailed procedure, but ITIL loses its reliability in case of urgent, non-standard, and unpredicted changes. It is because due to such detailed and complex procedures, it could not respond to the problems demanding urgent changes. These detailed instructions are useful, but in the case of a standard and predictive change. It is not suitable for non-standard changes for the following reasons;

Submitting a request for change takes a lot of time. You have to calculate several things like costs, technical solutions, risks, and impacts. After such a long process, you are still not sure whether your change will ever be executed or not.
A change advisory board is a board that is recommended by ITIL. It usually takes a lot of time to approve requests for change. That’s why it is more difficult to start a process quickly.
The rigidity of ITIL is also a big problem in case of non-standard unpredictable change. It is because when you start a change process through ITIL, there is no way to change its plans and preconditions except stop and start it from the beginning. Due to this rigidity, it is not useful for non-standard changes that contain unpredictable changes.
All the processes and steps stated above make the change process slower than it should be. That’s why ITIL is not an ideal option in case of non-standard changes that demand a quicker and more rapid response.
After overviewing all the factors mentioned above, we came to know that ITIL is a good choice for a pre-planned standard and predictable change, but it could be the worst choice if you apply it in a non-standard change process.

Now, the question arises if ITIL is not a good choice for non-standard change processes, then what is the best option? The answer is that the Agile change management approach is the most consistent approach to running change management processes for non-standard changes. It is because it provides a rapid and effective process for bringing changes. Dividing the process into smaller steps called sprints makes the process more flexible. Due to this flexibility, you can change your plans and preconditions according to the current scenario before you.


In this article, we have an overview of the basic concept of Agile change management. We came to know that implementation of the Agile mindset in the Change management process makes it faster and more agile. Besides basic concepts, we also learned the best practices of Agile change management. In this regard, we have provided you with some steps you should take to implement Agile change management in the best way. We also discussed why ITIL is not a good option for standard changes and briefly stated why Agile is the best choice for running non-standard changes.

Read More: Agile Service Management

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