start experimenting

Stop Changing, Start Experimenting

When was the last time you were annoyed by yet another change someone in your company made (probably above your head)? Probably not too long ago.

If I asked you now to stop for a moment and think about something you’d like to change in your team or your organization I bet you already have five things on your mind. How many of those you’d never dream of acting on because you feel it’d never go well, management would never accept it or people would think it’s out of the blue?

You’ll be surprised how much more accepting people get when you propose something as an experiment, not a change.

Changes feel final. They feel like decisions. They can be scary. There’s a cost to reverting a change. People might feel they haven’t been involved, or at least heard.

Experiments are temporary, are controlled, and involve people in a natural way.

Experiments have a start and end date.

Experiments have clear goals evaluation criteria.

There’s way less emotional baggage for experiments, ‘failing’ is a perfectly fine outcome, as experiments are for learning. As long as you learn, the experiment is a success.

An example of the difference:

Change: “Considering some of you complained about the timing of the standup, from next week we’ll have it an hour earlier.”

Experiment: “My theory is that if we move the standup an hour earlier, you’ll have more focus time. I propose to try it for two sprints, then get together and discuss whether you had more focus time or not and if we want to change the standup’s timing. What do you think?”

So next time instead of communicating a change to your team, set up an experiment and involve them. You’ll be amazed at the difference this makes.

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