Embracing Change: The challenges of changing ‘traditional’ mindsets – Christina Ohanian

Embracing Change: The challenges of changing ‘traditional’ mindsets – Christina Ohanian


In the course of my work, I’m often asked how to help companies drive greater understanding and awareness of agility – especially for those who are used to following more traditional waterfall methodologies. After years of following a particular approach, legacy ways of working become entrenched, and changing them can feel impossible especially in companies that have siloed departments. Everywhere we look, new user behaviours and new technology are overturning industries at a blinding speed and for most companies with more traditional modes of working, keeping up – let alone getting ahead – is a business-critical concern especially when you bring quality into the picture.

The problem at hand:

So what holds companies back from making the shift toward agile thinking? ‘Radical’ change is seen as a big ask in terms of culture, time and resource – not to mention risk. This can produce a lot of resistance internally to adopting an agile approach, so how can we set about convincing more traditional mindsets to move towards agile practices? In truth, there’s no single or simple answer to this question, but as a former QA manager and current Agile Coach here’s my take on it.

My thoughts and experiences:

Change is a scary thing. The reality however, is that change is inevitable and learning to embrace change is both healthy and an urgent necessity. Without innovation, development and change, companies would ultimately stagnate and would never survive, let alone grow. For me, success comes down to four key things that are vital to help drive change in mindsets:

Value: Proof of concept – Why you need to break the rules and show working practices.
Trust: Collaborating and building relationships – The importance in getting everyone involved.
Time: Change doesn’t happen overnight – Think it’s 1 month’s work? You’re kidding yourself.
Flexibility: Learning to inspect & adapt – There’s no one way!