Book Review - Lean Change Management


Title: Lean Change Management – Innovative Practices for Managing Organisational Change

ISBN: 978-0990466505

Author: Jason Little


Are you passionate about bringing meaningful change into your organization? If the answer is yes, then this book is for you.

If you want to add to your change management toolkit with ideas from Agile, Lean Startup, neuroscience, psychology, and organizational development, then this is a must read.

Karen’s Comment:

Jason’s book focuses on a real organization, which he chooses to call The Commission.

In Jason’s words “It was a large and slow moving public sector organization, where people had worked for many decades, and had seen every management fad come and go. Mix all that together, and I assumed the effort to change The Commission would be akin to pushing water uphill with a stick”.

As soon as I got to page 21, Jason had already whetted my appetite with that statement. I know too many ‘commissions’!

As you can see from picture, the blue flags I inserted throughout the book whilst reading it, there were a lot of takeaways.

What I loved about the book was its realism. In chapter 3, Jason explores ways in which to gather insights about the organization. In chapter 4 he notes that gathering insights is the first step in a Lean Change Management model, BUT that change has no starting point.

I have been writing recently about constant change and that the traditional change management approach of unfreeze-transition-freeze no long works. We don’t have time for that!

Jason recognizes that as change agents we are always stepping into the middle of evolving change and that if we follow the traditional plan driven approach, by the time we are ready to execute, reality has changed and the plan is now worthless.

Lean Change Management is all about feedback loops to gather insights and Jason describes various practices to enable that.

Jason doesn't discard frameworks such as Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model and McKinsey’s 7S framework but rather describes how to use them effectively within a Lean Change Management approach.

In Chapter 6, he illustrates how to generate ‘options’ based on ‘insights’ using various techniques and in chapter 7 he explores experimentation.

What I loved in chapter 7 was the ‘one-page-change-plan’ because I am a keen advocate of this as a living document. The one-page plan is awesome when you don't know what the end-state is going to look like!

The final chapter is entitled ‘Creating Alignment for Change’ in which Jason describes realisation the change community needs to make, with which I wholly concur.

“The Agile community’s stance on change is that we must embrace uncertainty – we can’t know everything upfront, and we need to accept that”.

For many that can be a scary proposition but Jason’s book is here to help. Jason encourages you to create your own change process that is best suited to your organization and describes how you can do that.

Another must read!

Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

OCMKaren Ferrisagile, lean, ocm