Agile Change Agent

An introduction to APMG’s Agile Change Agent certification

Introducing Agile Change Agent

Training ByteSize launch new virtual and classroom course aimed at Agile Change Managers

Every now and then a course comes along that gets everyone in the team talking, and the new Agile Change Agent certainly has certainly gone to the top of the tree.  It is aimed at teams involved in change, in an agile environment – and more uniquely aims at practical use and application, with less theory and more implementation focus.

Relatively new to APMG‘s portfolio is Agile Change Agent, a two day training course with certification which is designed to bridge the gap between the formal theories, models and techniques in Agile Project Management and Change Management.

Many Agile courses focus heavily on the theory of this approach, but the Agile Change Agent training course takes a different approach. On this course, participants will gain practical, hands-on experience of what Agile Change Management is and how to lead change initiatives within any organisation.

Interview with John Humphries, our lead Agile Change Agent trainer

I met with John, who is a very experienced Agile consultant who works and trains in Agile and Change Management and asked him his views.

John, tell us a bit about your change management and agile experience.

Much of my change management work has involved practical consulting exercises, planning and running workshops in public and private healthcare environments. My agile project management experience was founded in systems development and more lately in product translation projects where time to market is a key driver. As instructor in these subjects it’s always a pleasure to work with individuals and organisations who are looking to further their capabilities. These courses contain a lot of detail, but I always allow some time for discussion about how the concepts taught might be applied in the students’ real-world situations. The Agile Change Agent course is different. The real plus is that it’s a fun, practical course focused on how-to get things done.

Tell me about the Agile Change Agent course?

This course is based on the book ‘Agile Change Management – a practical framework for successful change planning and implementation’. The book provides entry level access to the subjects of change management and agile management. It begins with an explanation of Agile concepts, which gives those involved in making change happen in their part of the business a link between their experiences of iterative change and the ideas behind Agile.

It is typically a two day training course with certification which is designed to bridge the gap between the formal theories, models and techniques in Agile Project Management and Change Management.

Who would benefit by attending?

It should appeal as a follow-on course for those who already possess Agile and Change Management qualifications, and it’s also acts as an entry point for those who need the capability but haven’t studied the subjects in depth.

As the impact of change goes well beyond those directly involved in leading change and making it happen It will be beneficial to all those who wish to gain a better appreciation of change.

What is it you like about this course?

An aspect of Agile Change Agent that I really appreciate is the use of everyday language and where necessary explaining terms in a friendly, accessible way. I believe this helps minimise the use of sometimes obscure and frightening terminology such as ‘transformation’, ‘stakeholder engagement’ and ‘empowerment’ which can have different meanings to different people. Having said that, even the term ‘Agile Change Agent’ can conjure up various images of what such a role might entail!

The job of the person in the ‘Agile Change Agent’ role is essentially to be the local representative of business change. This involves understanding the reasons behind the change, the potential benefits or advantages of the change and assisting people in their work area and explaining why the changes could bring improvements to ways of working.

The course provides a road-map or life-cycle model that helps participants think through how they will manage the evolving changes that they are on the receiving end of, without having to become an expert in either Change Management or Agile.

What does this mean back in the real world?

The ‘Agile Change Agent‘ role takes on board the concerns, questions and suggestions from their colleagues. Then, working with Change Managers will help relate these to the wider initiative so that local changes can be made in a more meaningful way as there will be a better understanding of the issues facing staff.

Is the course very theoretical?

My view is that the APMG course on Agile Project Management goes deeply into processes, techniques and roles and responsibilities. The APMG Change Management course references volumes of applicable academic research. Both courses are really useful with lots of practical work.

The Agile Change Agent course presents a balanced approach covering basic introductions to concepts of business change and agile practices, followed by interactive, practical sessions on benefits, planning, and working with people from across the business in order to deliver change.

So, the course is practical then?

Yes, it’s a very hands-on course full of opportunities to ‘see, do, learn’. The emphasis is on building capability using pre-prepared checklists, questionnaires and models that can be tailored to the context and content of whatever change you are involved in.

The course is also packed with exercises with a mix of individual and group work plus discussions. There’s a ready-made case study that we can follow, additionally we can work on aspects of participants’ own change situations

What kind of things will people be doing on this course?

Participants will work together to build a shared understanding of the reasons for change. That is, why it is necessary to do something different.

They will create an overall plan for the way ahead, the analogy here is a ‘road-map’. Effective, the life-cycle of the change.

Participants will consider who needs to be informed of the change, how those people might be involved and how they might be affected. It’s a lot about setting expectations.

Having prepared this groundwork, we’ll talk about how we can apply the plan, start working and see the fruits of our labours emerging. Participants will walk, step by step, through the plan, creating the change deliverables and learning how to deal with issues that real-life throws at us.

Working closely with interested parties, discussing priorities and seeing the value of your collective achievements gives a great spur to individual, team, organisational and maybe even client motivation!

There seems to be a lot of people-centred activity on this course?

We need to work with and support people to get things done. Part of the course is about developing trust and rapport with the people we need to work and interact with and getting a better appreciation of workplace culture, systems and interactions. This will help you approach the way you can more safely introduce your ideas in a supportive way.

What happens at the end of the course?

At the end of the course, there’s a review of the topics which enables participants to reflect and consolidate their learnings followed by an short examination. That means in addition to the practical experience gained there’s a formal APMG Agile Change Agent qualification.

And when participants return to work, what then?

Typically, when participants return to their workplace following a training class they are bubbling with enthusiasm (or trepidation) for trying out their new ideas. But one of the major challenges that they face is getting acceptance from their colleagues and managers.

Building on their learnings of relationships and environment, they should be able to get a broader sense of the individuals and groups they work with and how change could fit in with, or affect, existing work teams and practices. It’s about making it work with what you got.

Do you have any take-away thoughts for the listeners?

Yes. This is a fun, practical, affordable, short course for learning about the fundamentals of agile and change management and applying that learning to real-world situations. Not only will you get a certification, but a great course manual written by a thought leader in Change Management plus useful checklists, questionnaires and models that can be tailored to your own change initiatives.

What appeals to me most is that it’s presented using everyday language. This means that it’s accessible to a wide audience which in turn means that more people are likely to ‘get-it’ and not be turned-off by the jargon laden expressions which often accompany our change initiatives.

Discover the Agile Change Agent certification

Agile Change Agent is an introductory level course, so it is ideal for building the foundation of what agile and change management entails. Agile Change Agent will benefit anyone that has to plan, manage and participate in creating and embedding change at work. The course is a two-day training course with a multiple choice, closed book exam required to complete the course. Once the course is complete participants will receive their Agile Change Agent certification from APMG.

At present we are offering this course both on-site and virtually so you can ensure the course fits around you and your schedule. Our next virtual classroom course is scheduled on 26th April 2021, and as a new addition to our extensive course portfolio we are offering places as a significantly discounted rate of £599+vat. Find out more about the course here.

If you would rather speak to one of our expert course advisors you can call us on +44 (0)1270 626330 or email [email protected].

How does a virtual classroom course work?

In a virtual classroom, the trainer will deliver the learning directly to you from your computer, phone or tablet at a set time. You simply log onto the course over the internet rather attending a physical location and, through the setup we offer, you will still be able to speak to the trainer and students as though you were in a normal classroom.

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