For the most part, change management is change management. We stand in the shoes of the people going through the change event, and put a plan together to successfully get them from "here" to "there" before "there" arrives. But the way we practice change management is typically different when we are on a waterfall versus agile project timeline.

On a waterfall timeline, the work is sequential or successive, and projects are anywhere from 18 months to several years before implementation. OCM practitioners have a pretty good idea of what the "to be" is supposed to look like because our requirements are all figured out up front. So, we can spend a lot of time determining impact before putting a plan together and executing against that plan.

On an agile timeline, the work is iterative, and projects are churning out new releases anywhere from every few weeks to every few months. The requirements are broken down into small, bite-sized pieces (stories), and we only see a random set of them each sprint, depending on what the development team has committed to develop for that sprint. So, we really don't know completely what the final product will look like because the design is very u

ser-inclusive and flexible to change where and when it needs to, as we learn from each iterative release.

In the end, the product is still dependent upon people using it, regardless of when it is released and whatever method was followed to develop it. Yet the waterfall approach to change won't work on an agile project because agile won't know the end state until too close to the release. Equally, the agile approach to change won't work on a waterfall project because waterfall doesn't typically allow users input or much option to evolve the design and development of the product along the way.

So, they are different enough that we need to care, and need to have an OCM approach for each project type. Both can have successful user adoption outcomes, but the way we get there is very different.

To learn more about CapTech's Agile OCM approach, watch our Video Insights Series, Yes you can! Executing OCM for Agile Delivery.

About the Author

Tina Saunders

Tina Saunders is an award-winning IT Management Consultant in our Richmond, VA office, where she leads and coaches organizations through successful change strategies for complex IT implementations using both Agile and Waterfall methodologies. She has devoted the last ten years to providing OCM, Strategic Communications, and Project/Program Management services for government and Fortune 500 companies.