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Building agility into change: exclusive event reveals how it’s done

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Exclusive insights on business transformation to agile ways of working were shared at a recent event for Association for Project Management (APM) members.

The latest in APM’s series of ‘Real World’ webinars – which focus on applying project management concepts in real-world settings – provided a detailed case study of the move from a waterfall to an agile methodology within a major financial services organisation; a change programme several years in the making.

The event, titled Building Agility into Change, was presented by Liz Higginson, director at training and consultancy specialists One44 Consultancy, who shared her personal experience of managing the change within the organisation.

Liz explained that the programme was driven by a desire to meet customer needs and deliver value, while also evolving the organisation’s culture from process-focused to outcome-focused. Delegates were guided through the end-to-end change management process in detail, from identifying needs and setting goals, to ensuring delivery capability, digital transformation, staff communication, coaching and continuous improvement.

Summarising the journey, she said: “In the VUCA environment we all operate in, we had to find ways to become more effective and deliver to our customers what they need while adopting all the new technology out there in the digital era.”

The interactive event featured polls enabling delegates to share their opinions and experience on key points. Liz also answered questions from the audience. These included:

  • What’s the difference between the traditional form of project manager and the new form of project manager?

“When I’ve used the language of ‘traditional project manager’ I’m referring to someone who uses traditional waterfall methodologies. [On this change project], we were trying to move away from ‘project manager’ as a title to a new title of ‘delivery manager’ to create a new perception of ‘you’re delivering change and you have the autonomy within your group to decide best how to deliver that value’. The expectation was that a delivery manager could wear a hat as a project manager or wear a hat as a scrum master. The reality was that some people could do that – they could adapt their behaviours and mindsets to work in different methodologies – but some people couldn’t do that. This was the contention between what was written on paper vs what we were actually asking them to do. That’s why we had to invest in uplifting capabilities.”

  • Is the word change losing its appeal? How did you market this change?

“When we first started to communicate [the change programme] out, there was some skepticism; ‘not another change! This journey was a long one. We’re talking years, not months. It was constantly communicated that we were on a journey, this is what we wanted to do, this is what it would achieve and this is the value it would bring, not only for our customers but our employees. Everybody needed to get on board to make it work. It’s a continuous journey where we’re learning, adopting and changing to continuously improve to get to what we’re reaching for.”

Real World webinars are exclusive events for APM members. You can find out more about the full range of member benefits here, or visit our events page to view our full list of upcoming events.

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