Project management is the field that undergoes a number of changes and improvements regularly. This paper introduces the analysis of Blue Cloud Company and the implementation change process its employees have to be involved in. Scrum is defined as the chosen agile method based on 12 principles developed by CEO of the company. The performance and the results demonstrated by the company show how effective the chosen method could be. Blue Cloud successfully passes all three stages of the planned change theory developed by Lewin. Besides, a certain attention to the role of stakeholders is paid. Finally, the achievements of the company in the technological field are discussed in a clear and comprehensive way. Several lessons and recommendations are developed on the information mentioned in the chosen case study. The peculiar feature of this case is the possibility to use the same method in other small companies in different fields.
Nowadays, many organizations try to engage in numerous processes in order to support their strategic renewals and stay competitive in the chosen environment. However, it is not enough to introduce new strategies and make sure that all employees follow the required changes. It is necessary to investigate different issues, including the behavioral patterns and the organizational values and capabilities, in order to implement changes at a high level (Spector, 2013). In this paper, the case of Blue Cloud, a small software development company, will be investigated.
Though Blue Cloud is not a huge organization, its leaders and employees demonstrate a successful approach to the implementation of organizational changes within its possible development and growth on the basis of the scrum agile methodology, the impact of stakeholders, and the recognition of three crucial stages discussed in the Lewin’s change model.
The main purpose of the paper is to analyze the case study “Blue Cloud Gets Agile” in order to clarify how the three phases of the planned change theory could be applied to a company, what effects multiple stakeholders could have in a change implementation process, and why the scrum agile method has to be recognized among other improvements in project management. Besides, it is expected to develop several recommendations on the basis of the lessons learned through the chosen case study.
In general, it is hard for many companies to stay competitive in such constantly changing field as the field of technology. Companies and their leaders have to think about effective change management and promote organizational development regarding the already offered theories, such as the Lewin’s model of change, and personal experience. This paper helps to discuss the positive and negative aspects of organizational change and the necessity to focus on all three stages of change implementation in order to get benefits from multiple stakeholders and scrum management.
Three Phases of Planned Change Theory at Blue Cloud
There are many approaches that could be used by different organizations that aim at improving their change management processes. Still, the approach developed by Kurt Lewin remains to be the classic method of work that contains simple still effective suggestions on how to promote changes (Cummings, Bridgman, & Brown, 2016). Lewin developed several useful insights that could be used in organizational changes and proved that it is enough for individuals or organizations to take three steps, which are unfreezing, moving, and refreezing, and manage change (Hayes, 2014).
In Blue Cloud, these three steps could be observed regarding the activities of its CEO, Shel Skinner. The unfreezing stage includes the identification of employee dissatisfaction with the status quo. This stage is observed within such processes as collaboration between employees and the necessity to discuss what is right and wrong with the company. Managers try to help their employees understand what should be changed in their organizations and why these changes should be important in the existing competitive world. In other words, the first stage of the change model includes employee communication and discussion of potential organizational threats, evaluation of customers’ needs, and cooperation.
The second stage, moving, aims at helping employees understand what they can and cannot do as team members. As a leader of a team, Skinner promotes collaboration and the creation of the environments where teams could build new projects, offer working software, and promote sustainable development in order to observe technical excellence and effective behaviors.
Finally, there is the refreezing stage when Skinner offers a new organizational motto, “Release early, release often!” (Spector, 2013, p. 48), and promotes the scrum as the main method to improve productivity and competitiveness. All these stages are taken in the proper order and help the company to get ready for new changes and new improvements by means of educating people and explaining to them the peculiar features of the steps that have to be taken regularly.
Stakeholders in Change Implementations
According to Spector (2013), organizations should cooperate with multiple stakeholders because they are such individuals or groups of people, who could legitimate claims to the quality and impact of the organizational performance. Stakeholders may have effecting interests (these are all those developers and regulators) and affected interests (these are all possible victims and beneficiaries) (Smith, 2014). In the case study under analysis, a number of stakeholders could be responsible for the success of the change process. First, it is necessary to admit that Skinner comes to a conclusion about the importance of change in the company after attending a conference on a new methodology that could be offered to promote software development (Spector, 2013). Therefore, the participants of the conferences introduce the first group of stakeholders, who influence the change implementation process. Then, the role of employees, as direct stakeholders, cannot be neglected. These people share their opinions and develop changes within the organizations. They are the citizens of the organization, who have to take into consideration their own interests and abilities. Only after a thorough analysis of their needs and skills, it is possible to think about the methods that could be offered within a company. Blue Cloud is a small company. Therefore, each employee is a unique contributor to its development, whose opinion cannot be neglected or overestimated. Finally, there are customers, whose services undergo considerable changes after the implementation process. Skinner underlines the necessity to focus on customers and their abilities to respond to change. Change should not be too complicated, so that customers could identify and accept it. The purpose of any change is to attract more customers and make them feel their importance for a company.
Evaluation of the “Scrum” at Blue Cloud
The conclusion made at the end of the change implementation process is the attention to scrum, the agile method the goal of which is to improve productivity in project management (Spector, 2013). A scrum agile methodology was developed for small organizations in the middle of the 1995s (Mathis, 2013). It helps to identify short-term goals and needs of small companies in terms of the chosen competitive field. Regarding such characteristics of the method, it is not a surprise that Sinner chooses it as the main solution to his company. With its help, software development in the technology industry could be investigated and promoted. Improvement and restructuring are the basics of operation strategies. As a result, it turns out to be possible to encourage such crucial activities as communication between employees, the consideration of customers’ needs and expectations, and the evaluation of stakeholders and their impact. Blue Cloud has a number of options to rely on when it decides to promote its strategic development. Scrum is the possibility to create self-organizing teams and use verbal communication as the best method to discuss changes and evaluate the possibilities. It helps to understand what should be done in the company and why the role of each employee is crucial for the working process. Regarding the size and the sphere of work in the company, this method has a number of positive aspects including the necessity to spend few resources and achieve high results in its development.
In general, it is possible to say that CEO of Blue Cloud, Skinner, introduces an effective way to identify the importance of change and the method to implement change and use the benefits offered. On the one hand, the offered work does not cost a lot for the company. What should be done is the analysis of the employees’ opportunities and needs and the possibilities to implement ideas in practical steps. The company has to get prepared for changes. Then, it is necessary to investigate the movements that promote change. Finally, it is necessary to introduce the changes and the achievements. The investigation of the role of each stakeholder and the benefits of the scrum agile methodology shows that small companies, like Blue Cloud, are able to increase its efficiency and improve the quality of the work by means of bringing together people, developers, regulators, and customers, who are going to use the services.
Lessons and Recommendations
The main lesson that is learned from the case study under analysis is the necessity to divide each step in project management. Many companies understand that they have to think about changes. Still, they believe that it is enough to introduce change and make all people accept it in a short period of time. Such approach is wrong. The lesson is about the importance to inform people and get them prepared for any kind of change. Software development is not easy, and Skinner shows how to deal with the task in an appropriate way.
The only recommendation that could be given is the attention to deep outside research with the help of which employees and the leader of the company could use current achievements of other companies. The examples developed by different companies may not be followed directly. Still, they could be used for additional inspiration and motivation. Besides, it is possible to investigate competitors and be ready for the improvements in regards to the possibilities of competitors.
Cummings, S., Bridgman, T., & Brown, K.G. (2016). Unfreezing change as three steps: Rethinking Kurt Lewin’s legacy for change management. Human Relations, 69(1), 33-60.
Hayes, J. (2014). The theory and practice of change management (4th ed.). New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
Mathis, B. (2013). Agile project management for beginners: Mastering the basics. London, UK: AK Publishing House.
Smith, L.G. (2014). Impact assessment and sustainable resource management. New York, NY: Routledge.
Spector, B. (2013). Implementing organizational change (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Prentice Hall.