Why Management Support for Change Matters

We had a strategic meeting today, where I was asked to present how we can sell our software process expertise to clients within the company. This means that we would consult how to build a software development process in one of the departments in the global company.

I presented the basic agile process as a “Vision”, e.g. something to aspire for in the future, and start taking steps now in that direction. But I did point to things that hurt as today, as a position to start from. In the words of our GM – I used the opportunity to for my goals.

It’s a two edged sword: If we promise the “right” process (read: agile), but we are not practicing that process, then we would be actually suggesting something we don’t do – that’s bad.
On the other hand, suggesting what we do today, in which we don’t have spectacular success is not a good idea either. What’s the choice? Something in the middle. We would do some changes in our existing process, and offer the mid-term process as an example.

The project managers of course went into defense mode- the “Change” reflex. In any other event that would probably mean (hey, and we’re still a long way from making changes) passive-aggressive non-reception.

But lucky for me I had the GM’s support. She was in a management course lately, and took part of a simulation of co-located team work. She told us the simulation proved that teams consisted of different skills works effectively better than specifically skilled teams. Shows you that training for managers is not that today. It also helped that I was ready with some hard data for munition.

My point?

It’s hard convincing people to change as it is. But without management support, you really need luck.

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