Agile Change Management: Methodology, Process & Framework

Instructor: Stephen Meyer

Stephen has worked as a Project Manager and is PMP certified, as well as certified by the Scrum Alliance.

Change is an inevitable part of any project. The goal of using Agile methodology to manage projects is to be responsive and adapt well to change. Learn the methodology, process, and framework for managing change in projects using Agile.

Change is Inevitable (and Expected)

Derek and his team create different software for different clients, but one thing is always the same: change requests. After switching to Agile methodology, his team hopes that these will become less frequent. Unfortunately, change is inevitable, regardless of the project methodology. Derek's job is to help his team understand that Agile expects change, but seeks to respond to it more effectively.

Change requests most often come from the individual who requested the project, known in Agile as the Product Owner, but can also originate through external factors. From the Product Owner, change might occur because the full scope of the original project was not fully understood. It could also be due to something as simple as a change in preferences. External factors that cause change include things like influence from other stakeholders, market changes, or even legal requirements. Regardless of the source, Agile does not look to avoid change but to respond to it.

The methodology of change management in Agile is based around the team's ability to identify possible changes sooner. One way that this happens is through testing. In Agile, work is broken down into smaller pieces and fully developed and tested in intervals, known as sprints. This means testing occurs earlier in the project and is repeated so any issues or bugs come up sooner rather than later. Another way that changes are identified sooner is through feedback from the Product Owner. At the end of each sprint, finished products are shown to the Product Owner and other stakeholders and feedback is given. Like testing, this occurs earlier in the project and is repeated, rather than once at the end of the project.

Handling Change Requests

Once Derek and his team have the same expectations about change requests, he moves on to how they are addressed in Agile. He is confident that the process of change management will help reduce the team's stress and frustration. This process includes the form that change requests take and when change requests are taken on by the team.

In Agile, change requests take the form of other project work, which is a user story. A user story is project work broken down in size and complexity to be fully developed and tested in a sprint. Once user stories are taken into a sprint, they should not change. This protects the team and allows them to fully invest themselves in their work, as well as confidently commit to taking on work for the sprint. Change requests are usually related to an existing user story, but are treated as a separate item rather than modifying an existing user story.

Once change requests are written as new user stories, they are placed in the sprint backlog. This is the prioritized list of user stories to be taken on in future sprints. The key is future sprints. In Agile, change requests do not affect existing user stories and they are not automatically taken on immediately. If a change request completely negates the work of an existing user story, the team can choose to stop the current work but the assumption is not that they will immediately take on the new user story. Again, this protects the team's commitment to the work they will complete.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account
Support