C. Keith Ray

C. Keith Ray writes about and develops software in multiple platforms and languages, including iOS® and Macintosh®.
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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Diana Larsen on Changing Your Organization

(Originally posted 2003.Apr.30 Wed; links may have expired.)

Diana Larsen's article on change and learning (and XP) http://www.cutter.com/itjournal/change.html 12 pages (PDF).

She quotes Beckhard's formula for change (my paraphrasing): If dissatisfaction with status quo, plus desirability of change, plus clear definition of what/how to do, are greater than the resistance to change, then you can achieve the desired change.

She says to encourage change, market it by increasing awareness of the problems with the status quo (I see a risk of being called names like "negative" or "not a team player") and the communicating the desirability of getting to a better situation. "When you are implementing change, there is no such thing as too much communication."

Some of this runs counter to Jerry Weinberg and another (name forgotten) book. Jerry says "don't promise more than a 10% improvement." A manager doesn't want to admit that more improvement is possible, because then they would have to admit that they were not doing a "good job" before. The (name forgotten) book pointed out that too clear a picture of the future can be paralyzing because people can see the perceived drawbacks of that situation too visibly, while not appreciating the benefits.

She writes "XP has the advantage over many change efforts in that fast iterations build in the feedback loop for short-term success. While floundering through the chaos, nothing bolsters the participants in a change effort like the sense of progress from a quick 'win.'"

Larsen recommends Chartering to start a project, and agrees with Lindstrom and Beck on "Hold two-day professionally facilitated retrospectives each quarter." (And at project end.)

Change takes time. "Putnam points out the need for patience with change efforts as he maps out six months' worth of defect tracking and shows its consistency with Satir's [change] model. He notes that if you had an evaluation of success or failure after three months, you might have come to an erroneous conclusion."

Also check out Rick Brenner's "Fifteen Tips for Change Leaders" here: http://www.chacocanyon.com/essays/tipsforchange.shtml

Keith Ray is developing new applications for iOS® and Macintosh®.. Go to Sizeography and Upstart Technology to join our mailing lists and see more about our products.

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