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May 30, 2006 » 11:15 am

Making Change Safe

My buddy, Justin Lin, has a company that recently migrated from J2EE to Ruby On Rails, and he’s been thrilled by the results. This morning, we were IMing about Agile Programming, and something he said about Unit Tests really struck a chord. He said that their tests softened their fear of change, which changed the team’s entire attitude about change in general.    (KJX)

I’ve written about Unit Tests before in a coding context, and of course, their importance is well understood in the Agile Programming community. What struck me about Justin’s comments was that he was describing how a tool in a very specific context was catalyzing a cultural shift within his company. While he didn’t say this explicitly, I can imagine that shift extending beyond the technical component of the company.    (KJY)

The lesson: Tools that make change safe facilitate a culture of adaptation. An adaptive organization is a strong, effective organization.    (KJZ)

What are some other tools that make change safe? I saw Kellan Elliott-McCrea yesterday (welcome back to California, Kellan!), who reminded me of a suggestion I had made for Social Source Commons a while back: Wiki-style editing works because the revision history is visible. A visible revision history encourages change in the form of Permission To Participate, and that in turn can lead to a larger cultural shift within your team and even your organization as a whole.    (KK0)

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