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The Change Management Implications of Scaling Agile

SECOND EDITION

By Danielle Cooper and Darla Gray

TXU Energy

Dallas, TX, USA


The Delivery Office at TXU Energy has been exploring Agile work practices since 2012. While the desire to do “more Agile” has been a leadership goal, it’s been unclear to the rest of the organization how being “more Agile” changes their day-to-day work. Early this year, the transition and implications became very clear as 100% of Technology’s team members were given new seating assignments. Agile teams were provided open seating bullpens, near the windows. All non-Agile team members were accommodated throughout the balance of the floor, with more open space for collaboration. This visceral experience – physically moving away from functional team members and managers – made the organization’s commitment to change and Agile real. The stage was then set for the next level of conversation regarding how the shift adjusts the role of people managers and their day-to-day responsibilities. For example, managers are not part of the Agile team structure. They are functional subject matter experts responsible for sharing knowledge and building functional capability within the organization, beyond their direct reports. Leadership through knowledge and influence is the new paradigm. As the seats, the teams and the business all shift to accommodate the change, the character of the work will as well.

Executive Summary

TXU Energy

About 50 retail electricity providers offer as many 250 retail plans in the competitive markets of Texas. TXU Energy (TXUE) is the market-leader, powering the lives of more Texans than any other retailer. TXU Energy exemplifies the spirit of competition and innovation, giving customers choice, convenience and control over their electricity usage and spending. Initiatives driven by the Delivery Office continue to strengthen TXU Energy’s competitive position by delivering quality solutions quickly to market.

Competitive Intensity

Texas is a fiercely competitive market, with new market entrants increasing the pressure to innovate and serve customers in ways that are new and relevant. This translates to the need to bring new projects and products to market quickly, with quality. Speed and quality can both be facilitated by Agile working methods, when executed properly.

Agile at TXU Energy

Beginning in 2011, TXU Energy began exploring Agile working methods and practices. The first stage of the journey included pilots and education. The second stage included formal training and methodology development. The “final” stage encompasses scaling the framework across the organization to make it “the way we do business.”

Signs of Change

The initial changes in shifting to Agile delivery processes were primarily contained within the delivery office and a small subset of technology team members. As the teams experienced successes and more business sponsors began requesting that their efforts be developed in an Agile fashion, a broader shift was required. The signal to the technology organization that we were becoming a primarily “Agile shop,” came via a revised seating plan which collocated Agile teams in one area, collocated managers and architects in another area, and created large collaboration spaces for feature reviews and Agile team demo sessions. Making the change more transparent and visible to the organization led to an increased sense of urgency to design and implement the supporting changes to make the model effective: defining patterns of engagement, roles and responsibilities, etc. The change has been initiated and will be an ongoing journey over the next six to twelve months as teams accept the change and assume ownership within their new roles.

Competitive Intensity

Since opening to competition in 2002, the Texas market has continued to grow; in population, in energy plans, in energy usage and in complexity.

Figure 1: Texas Market Overview

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As basic laws of economics will tell you, where there is a large market with relatively few barriers to entry, there will be many companies to serve it. As the graphic below shows, that has certainly held true in Texas.

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To read entire paper, click here


Editor’s note: Second Editions are previously published papers that have continued relevance in today’s project management world, or which were originally published in conference proceedings or in a language other than English. Original publication acknowledged; authors retain copyright. This paper was originally presented at the 10th Annual UT Dallas Project Management Symposium in August 2016. It is republished here with permission of the authors and conference organizers.

 


About the Authors

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Danielle Cooper

TXU Energy

Dallas, Texas, USA

 

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Danielle Cooper
is a Senior Manager in TXU Energy’s Delivery Office. Danielle leads the Enablement & Governance area, responsible for aligning Business Technology’s tools, metrics, and supporting processes to deliver business value for the organization. A graduate of Baylor University, Danielle has a background in change management, consulting, project management and is a Certified Scrum Master.   She can be contacted at [email protected]

 

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Darla Gray

TXU Energy

Dallas, Texas, USA

 

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Darla Gray
is a Senior Manager in TXU Energy’s Delivery Office, Organizational Change Management.   Darla provides business client relationship oversight, major program and roadmap governance and coordination between key business, IT and strategic partner stakeholders to help drive organizational behavior.  With 30+ years of electric industry experience, Darla’s background includes Customer Operations, Security, Regulatory and Compliance, IT Application Management, Project and Program Management and is a Certified Scrum Master, Certified Product Owner and holds ITIL Certification.  Darla can be contacted at [email protected]