CATALYST FOR CHANGE
MAKING CHANGE ON
Engaging end users in developing solutions
breaking down heirarchies
Agile sprints provide a clear example of how change is possible. They demonstrate to leaders and operational team members that they can shift the dial in useful ways. Sprints demystify change, providing a common language that can help people reflect their concerns and the opportunities they see in a clearer way. Often sprint team members push further changes after the sprint.
Agile sprints normalize achievable change across an institution. Sprints encourage participants to explore different behaviors, such as iteratively developing solutions, centring the change focus on the experience of users and making decisions quickly. As teams are cross-functional, these behavior changes can rapidly spread throughout the organisation.
Participants are often surprised how much can be achieved in the sprint (within two or three weeks). Sprints can be deployed for perennial problems, including improving the experiences of students and staff through rapid changes to painful processes.
Many universities are paralyzed by a desire to achieve the perfect solution rather than an adequate one that can be improved iteratively. In agile sprints the mindset is ‘fail fast’ (or more accurately, ‘learn fast’). Sprints help universities accept that in many cases the perfect should not be the enemy of the good.
An agile sprint, informed by HCD, engages end users throughout the process to ensure the outcomes genuinely meet their needs rather than being based on a set of assumptions that may be misguided or out of date.
Hierarchies are useful where they support clear decision-making. But in some situations they can impose unnecessary layers and delays. By bringing together and empowering cross-functional teams (within a defined scope), agile sprints can help colleagues work together to achieve outcomes rather than be constrained by formal positions.