Maximising effective change in large Agile environments using Nudge Theory

One of the most challenging areas of implementing organisational change in large Agile environments is changing mindsets and thinking. As a result, organisation that have successfully implemented the Agile framework have said that it was one of the most difficult programs that they have embarked on. In the same breath recent statistics indicate that 70% of organisational change initiatives fail and coincidently there is evidence that demonstrates that most project failures stem from people related issues.

It is generally considered that an organisation’s most important asset is its people, so with this mind, could we benefit from gaining a better understanding of why people behave they do so we can leverage on this knowledge to encourage them to make all the right decisions which will ultimately benefit them and their organisations? This is where behavioural sciences and Nudge theory comes in, where we are applying insights from psychology, neuroscience and economics to understand, predict and influence the decisions our people make.

Nudge Theory is a concept in behavioral science, political theory and behavioral economics which proposes positive reinforcement and indirect suggestions as ways to influence the behavior and decision making of groups or individuals. Nudging contrasts with other ways to achieve compliance, such as education, legislation or enforcement and is used in a number of countries such as United Kingdom, Japan and Germany to implement national initiatives.

By adopting the following practices, we may stand a better chance of changing mindsets and thinking;

  • Visibility – Make it stand out

  • Simplicity – Make it easy to follow

  • Irresistible – Make it captivating

  • New Normal – Create a new common place

  • Championship – Demonstrate what ‘good’ looks like

  • Empowerment – Create a sense of right of possession

  • Achievable - Make it seem like success is attainable

  • Attractive – Make it charming and exclusive

  • Demonstrating Success

Therefore, the thinking is that organisations can explore using the same techniques to help bring about positive outcomes with organisational change initiatives.

The following are a handful of case studies of organisations that have used Nudge Theory to bring about positive change;