Despite advances in our understanding of managing organisation change and transformation over recent decades 70%+ of Change Programs still fail to meet their original objectives (McKinsey). Add to that the fact the world organisations exist in today is more Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA).
‘Agility’ is the current hot topic for most organisations, but what is Agility? “The ability to sense, think, comprehend, and act, easily and quickly”. In effect Agility is the ability to change. The concept is easy to understand but harder to achieve, because of the complex interdependencies and interrelationships within organisation systems and sub-systems.
Existing Models of Change (Kotter, Kubler-Ross, Covey, etc) though helpful are not sophisticated enough to deal with today’s VUCA organisation environments, and the variety and complexity that exists in organisations. Existing Models have moved us forward in the effectiveness of managing specific Change Initiatives/programs, but not necessarily driving significant improvement in the Change Capability (Agility) of the Organisation.
In the paper ‘Reducing Resistance and Improving Agility for Organisation Change & Transformation’ the continuum of Change Resistance and Agility is explored in more detail. In this paper we consider the ‘Next Generation Change & Transformation Model' which originated from academic, and applied research into the high change failure rates, and led to ‘Dynamic Systems Maturity Theory (DSMT)’. This new Model of Change complements the existing models and as well as guiding change and transformation initiatives, it also has an integrated development roadmap that builds Change Capability – Agility.
We recognise that organisations are complex and dynamic systems and subsystems, and in today’s VUCA environment they all require greater Agility (Change Capability). The question is how do we measure and improve change capability in a way that reflects each unique organisation context and its aims and ambitions?
DSMT identified 15 discreet and scientific levels of functioning (Maturity) an organisation can habituate. The specific ‘Traits’ of each level are specified in the Capability Maturity Reference Model. Each level is clearly labelled and described using Organisation Learning and Psychology nomenclature.
For any organisation’s measured level of Maturity; its Performance and Rate of Change (Change Capability- Agility) are reflected. In other words An Organisation’s Measured Capability Maturity determines its Performance & it’s Agility.
The complex interrelated and interdependent elements that make up the system, which DSMT calls ‘Dynamics’ & ‘Constructs’ can be Assessed/Measured in order to:
Calibrate any change program action so it has traction and sustainability
Improve its Change Capability by guiding its correct, next learning and development actions
In order to improve Agility (Change Capability) for an Organisation or any of its sub-systems (Units, Divisions, Functions, Departments, Teams etc). We must first measure its existing Agility (Change Capability). The Organisation Capability Maturity Framework (OrgCMF™) provides the Body of Knowledge (BoK) and Digital Assessment Platform tools to;
Assess/Measure Change Capability Maturity
Provide appropriate improvement guidance specific to each organisation context
Underpinned by DSMT it defines and describes every ‘Dynamic & Construct’ for every maturity level using a simpler 7 Maturity level scale which is derived from, and is consistent with the 15 level DSMT scale. The Agility (Change Capability) Assessment can be self-configured by the OrgCMF™ User, or follow the configuration guidance matrix provided by ODTI. The results of the Assessment are graphically displayed with supporting guidance text allowing the leadership;
Identify those ‘Dynamics’ (Forces) and ‘Constructs’ (Foundation Capabilities-Building Blocks) that may be constraining Agility and should be actioned.
Identify those sub-systems (Groups) that may be constraining Agility and should be actioned.
Outline the appropriate action for the selected ‘Dynamics and/or constructs’ to move up to the next maturity level based on the learning development roadmap for the chosen item.
The OrgCMF™ Reference Model and related Maturity Assessment allows the leaders of change in an accessible, usable and useful manner, engage the stakeholders in the process of building Change Capability (Agility),in a way that is consistent and relevant to their current and evolving roles in change.
Capability Maturity Assessment when underpinned by organisation science such as DSMT is a very powerful and sophisticated tool. The OrgCMF™ makes it relevant to each organisation and to each role at all levels, allowing for both engagement of stakeholders, but also for each to use as appropriate to their roles. The paper “The Importance of Reference Model Assessment in Organisation Change & Transformation” elaborates the different Assessment Types/Tiers but in summary we have the following tiers;
One approach some organisations use to build Change Capability (Agility) and engage stakeholders is as follows:
The Change Capability (Agility) Building Leader/Facilitator sets up and runs an ‘Agility Maturity Triage Assessment’ across a representative selection of stakeholders. This Maturity Assessment fulfills several key functions:
It quickly gets a measurement of the Agility Maturity for the Organisation
It helps identify organisation wide constraints as well as local domain constraints
It informs the Strategy and Priorities for building Organisation Agility
It signals to stakeholders that building Agility is important and their engagement in the process is important.
The OrgCMF™ Body of Knowledge is a useful reference to guide key stakeholders on their role in Building Agility and, understand its impact as an element of the organisation system.
Having set the Strategy, Plan and Priorities for building Agility, the responsible individuals across the organisation can as appropriate select and run ‘Agility Maturity Diagnostic Assessments’ related to their roles and functions, for more refined analysis and specific foundation Capability Building action, relating to their, and their teams contribution to building Agility in the overall organisation systems.
The new and recently popular approaches and techniques can play a vital part of building Change Capability Maturity (Agility) in an organisation, however alone they will not lead to Leadership Levels of Agility for an organisation, because of the complex interdependencies and interrelationships between system elements (People, Process, Tools, Practices, Culture etc) outlines earlier in this paper. That said they are powerful practices that can enable individuals and teams progress through the phases of building ‘True Agility’ and therefore warrant some elaboration in this paper.
Agile Manifesto (Originated in Software Industry)
Individuals and Interactions more than processes and tools
Working Software more than comprehensive documentation
Customer Collaboration more than contract negotiation
Responding to Change more than following a plan
Agile can be applied to virtually any project or function where there is an output/deliverable/product/service and a customer or user with specific needs
Concept of Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
Regardless of what the ultimate deliverable/Output is, once something of value is available to a customer/User release it to them so they can experience value early and learn in order to refine their real needs.
Customer satisfaction by early and continuous delivery of valuable/useful Deliverable(s) (product/service/artefact).
Usable Output is delivered frequently (weeks rather than months).
Close, daily/frequent cooperation between customer/user and providers.
Sustainable Capability, able to maintain a constant pace.
Continuous attention to best practice and design.
Regularly, the team reflects on how to become more effective, and adjusts accordingly.
This Agile approach though it originated in the Software Development World, can be applied to virtually any activity and its outputs within the organisation system. The value of the Capability Maturity Model can complement it, but also build underlying Agility into the system that is more sustainable and embeds Agility into the Culture building towards ‘Leadership’ levels of Change Capability.
The sprint is quite a straightforward process. There are several steps.
The backlog is the list of things to do, or requirements, often listed on User Story Cards.
We know from the Agile Model that Sprints are a set time frame and budget that allows for short cycles of processing to deliver the target output/end result.
The Stakeholders (Provider, Receiver, Enabler – Supplier, Customer, Support) in the business process under consideration meet firstly to select those items from the backlog that are the highest priority and combined deliver usable and useful outcomes at the end of the sprint (MVP) within the allowed Sprint cycle time and budget.
Regular communications between stakeholders either formal or more likely informal occur to maintain momentum within the sprint. Any new addition to a sprint, is only considered if it is materially impactful and deemed urgent by the stakeholder group. will require the removal of an existing requirement and preservation of the MVP, time and budget integrity of the sprint. Because of the model, new requirements most often hold until the next Sprint.
Capability Maturity Assessment Inputs complement the Sprint Process and assist in: -
Setting backlog item priorities
Calibrating the nature of included priorities and actions
Guide and Reflect improvements in both the process and overall capabilities for the business process.
Capability Management is the ability of the Organisation to mobilise resources to achieve an aim.
The Capabilities of an Organisation are determined by the ‘Dynamics’ (Forces) & ‘Constructs’ (Capability Building Blocks) which can be measured through on-line Assessment Surveys.
Current Capability Maturity determines current performance and rate of change (Agility)
Adding New Capabilities and/or Improving Capability Maturity Improves performance and increases Agility.
Capability Maturity Levels (DSMT & OrgCMF™) are definitive scientific stages with sequential developmental learning steps and simple rules for every ‘Dynamic’ & ‘Construct’ that assure traction on change actions and sustainable change and change capability improvement.
Agile Practices & Techniques complement and support transitioning from traditional business process management approaches which are plan driven to more flexible Value Driven approaches that overcome the constraints of linear approaches.
A Combination of Change Capability Maturity Model Application coupled with Agile Practices and Techniques, leads to reduced failure rates in Change & Transformation, and improved Agility embedded into the organisations systems and culture.