Managing Change

At DrupalCamp Toronto 2014 I talked to you about Change Management, and asked you to look inside yourselves to see why you should stick around for Drupal 8. At DrupalCon Austin I gave a variation on this talk as a core conversation. (I used the "F" word.) You can review the decks I gave for these presentations if you're interested. Now it's 2015 and you're (still) here. Yay!

In this session, Managing Change, you'll learn the steps needed to support a team through their first (Drupal 8) development project; however, the lessons can be applied to any team who is developing outside of their comfort zone.

Specifically, we'll talk about how to:

  • Structure an Agile schedule to ensure the best possible relationships between developers and stakeholders, through radical transparency and by breaking down a project into achievable components.
  • Mitigate the learning curve of a new platform by building on existing best practices, and limiting the avalanche of new information through just-in-time learning.
  • Keep each person on the team motivated and in the zone by customising how you engage, and by addressing--head-on--the anxiety which comes from building software when it feels like all your tools have changed.

The lessons are based on my own real-life experiences overseeing teams as a technical project manager with developers who were working with new technologies. From this session, you'll get practical take-aways as well as food for thought on how to succeed at one of the most difficult parts of software development: the people.


This presentation was originally delivered at DrupalNorth.



In the talk I reference frameworks which are used by change management specialists.

Eight Step Process for Leading Change

Described by John Kotter. Currently on version 2, but there are still 8 steps. Originally described in the book Leading Change; the new version is in Accelerate (it's a bit more iterative / Agile-friendly).

  1. Create urgency.
  2. Build a guiding coalition.
  3. Form a strategic vision for change.
  4. Enlist a volunteer army
  5. Enable action by removing barriers.
  6. Generate short-term wins.
  7. Sustain acceleration.
  8. Institute change by anchoring it in corporate culture.

Five Stages of Grief

Initially described by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in reference to the emotional stages experienced by survivors of an intimate's death. It is reference by change management workers as a possible sequence for the emotions that a worker will experience.

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance


"Essential" reading (and watching):

"Recommended" reading (and watching):