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New Technology and Waves of Change

Accelerate Adoption of Technology-Driven Change

Implementing new technology has always been a tricky business. The technology itself is only the first challenge. The interactions of people and processes with the technology creates additional layers of complexity. We as humans each relate to technology individually. Think about how you use your phone. Does your colleague engage with her phone in exactly the same way? Chances are the answer is no.

Technology is only the starting point; HOW technology is used by people and processes determines adoption success. The Waves of Change model focuses on this interaction between people, process and technology, and starts with the fact that there are most often multiple starting points.

Waves of Change model

Waves of Change is a three-team model for accelerating change adoption. Each team has a specific purpose and core responsibilities, with clear handoffs between the teams. Envision a relay team, where the baton is carefully and precisely handed over to the next runner.

In the Waves of Change model, the three teams both work separately and link together on the master direction. There are three primary steps in the model:

1. Standardize current processes

2. Develop and introduce the new technology

3. Optimize the new ways of working (people and process)

Each step is supported by a dedicated team, trained in the specific skills required for that phase.

Team One: Standardize Current State

Team One’s focus is on moving to as few current states as possible. Multiple starting points create complexity in moving forward. This team works to simplify and drive out complexity in how the technology is used today. This team emphasizes minimal-cost actions, where the money spent standardizing current state accelerates the adoption of the new technology. Team One takes out non-essential activities in preparation for stopping old work and letting go (sunsetting) the old technology. The goal is to minimize the number of versions moving into the new solution.

Team Two: Develop and Introduce the New Technology

Team Two’s focus is on designing and deploying the new technology. A common barrier to successful design is the limitations of the current technology, and how those limitations are impacting people and processes. This team works to identify expectations for future needs rather than requirements to address what is not optimal in today’s system. Team Two designs and implements the technology, tools and resulting processes needed for the new way work will be done. The team also identifies the people skills and knowledge required in the new work. The goal is to have a technology that is working well, and meets the desired future need.

Team Three: Optimize the New Ways of Working

Team Three’s focus is on optimizing the future state with the new solution. It takes time and effort to integrate new technology into people’s behavior. This team works to improve performance using the new solution, tweaking processes and training people to improve how the technology is used. Team Three standardizes the future (new steady-for-now) state. The goal is to drive adoption and improved ways of working using the new technology.

Three Teams – Working Together in Waves

In the Waves of Change model, there are two types of waves:

- Technology waves: Each new technology moves through the waves of teams, forming the wave of process, technology and process

- Team waves: Each team moves to its next body of work (the next technology) once the handoff for the current work is made to the next team, further honing skills for its specific area

How Waves of Change Accelerates Adoption

Change adoption is the Holy Grail of successful change. Change resistance prevents adoption, and can be encountered in many ways: multiple starting points, different desired end points, disparate interactions with the technology.

The Waves of Change model accelerates adoption by addressing these different types of change resistance with teams uniquely trained to address each one. Each team has success measures that target specific areas of change adoption:

  • Team One: Old work stopped / # of current processes reduced / Temporary investment

  • Team Two: Technology design time and budget / Success of go-live / Org Readiness

  • Team Three: Time to optimized implementation / People Engagement / Leader Alignment

In addition to each team’s goals, activities and measures of success, there are also Waves of Change goals: seamless handoffs, cross team alignment, master budget, decision rights and rules forum.

Waves of Change and AGILE

In today’s world of rapid change, there is never enough time to make a technology perfect. AGILE is a software development methodology based on iterative development, where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing cross-functional teams. Wrapping the Waves of Change model around the AGILE methodology accelerates the adoption and acceptance of the iterative changes. AGILE focus on the technology; Waves of Change focuses on the interaction of the people and processes with the technology changes.

About andTransformation™

Waves of Change is one tool used within andTransformation™, a change-led operating model focused on continuously moving and growing organizations forward. Three elements work together to create the andTransformation™ operating model:​

  • The loop of continuous, evolving change

  • The structure that manages the loop and the Transformation Plan

  • The alignment frame to capture data and details for decisions

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