Successful change management is agile and Agile

15 May 2020

One of the burning question on the minds of those of us involved in change programmes at present is “will change management change as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and if so, how?”

Change management itself must adapt in the current environment where greater uncertainty, fewer resources and increased velocity of change is the norm. Organisations and change management professionals must respond to emerging change with greater agility if their programmes are to succeed.

What do we mean by agile?

Agile (with a capital A) is a method of project management with origins in software development. The Agile project is characterised by short phases of work, frequent reassessment and adaptation of plans.

The Agile Manifesto was written by a group of software developers in 2001 and defines an Agile project process as follows:


  • Sprint 1 – discover – design – develop – deploy – release
  • Sprint 2 – discover – design – develop – deploy – release
  • Sprint 3 – discover – design – develop – deploy – release – sustain

Pros and cons of Agile

  • Increased speed in the delivery of a product
  • Closer alignment with customer/end user wants and needs
  • More efficient and flexible
  • Organisations can hire in experts in Agile
  • Rapid adoption of Agile is possible
  • Iterative development of minimum viable product can be uncomfortable for some
  • Uncertainty can be uncomfortable for some who need to ‘let go’ of perfect and finished plans
  • Work is done in less time at a faster pace

Agile (with a small a) is an organisations’ ability to move quickly and easily in response to changing circumstances.

Pros and cons of agile

  • Organisations can handle the speed of change
  • Agile organisations anticipate and plan ahead for change
  • Reduced silos as teams come together to solve problems
  • Fast decision making
  • All team members – not just change managers – must demonstrate agility
  • Takes time to develop as part of organisational culture.
  • Clumsier organisations may effectively have two changes underway as they need to become agile and implement the change programme
  • Resistance from leaders or managers can cause bottlenecks. Keep an eye out for change fatigue.

Change programmes that are Agile and agile ways will have the best chance of success in volatile and uncertain times.

106 Communications is an award-winning communications consultancy on a mission to making work better. We create communications to engage and inspire through our three expert-led practises in Internal Communications, Change Communications and Branding & Marketing. If your change programme needs some agility, contact Henry Davies on

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