Dr Jen Frahm (00:50):

Hello everybody. Welcome to another conversation of Agile change. This time I’m coming to you with the rather fabulous Natasha Redman of Casa Dec Camio. Natasha was one of our very first graduates in the Agile Change Leadership certificate program and she is always fabulous to speak to because she is one of these consumer portfolio career type of people. And what I mean by that is that she does consulting, she does contracting, she does podcasts. She has incredible expertise and has been working in the space of agile change for a very, very long time. Natasha, welcome to our podcast. 

Natasha Redman (01:29):

Thank you so much for having me, Jen. I’m so excited to be here. 

Dr Jen Frahm (01:32):

Excellent, excellent. We have agreed. One of the things that our listeners or viewers may want to know is that when Tash and I get together, we kind of go on tangents and we can talk and talk and talk. So today you’re going to see us at our most disciplined 

Natasha Redman (01:48):

Yes. We won’t go on any tangents at all. 

Dr Jen Frahm (01:51):


Natasha Redman (01:52):

No tangents. 

Dr Jen Frahm (01:54):

Okay, let’s get started. So Tash, you’ve just been in Europe and you’ve been to one of the biggest agile conferences in the world. Can you tell us about it? 

Natasha Redman (02:02):

I would love to. So the conference was called the World Agility Forum, and it was held in Lisbon at the end of September. It was fantastic. Lisbon is so cool. It’s an amazing city. In fact, there were times when I was a bit like, oh, I’ve got to go to the conference and network what I’m here to do, but I really want to be out exploring listening because it’s so cool. So I will have to go back. But it was so interesting and so wonderful in many ways. So I think one thing I noticed I was doing was I kept comparing that conference to the last in-person conference I went to in Australia, which was Agile Australia 2022. So I guess it was hybrid. So they had a lot of virtual people dialing in. They also had a lot of Zoom. They had a mixture of in-person and Zoom, which I would’ve preferred everybody in person, but I know it’s hard to get some people to fly. But what they have that I think we may be lacking a little bit in Australia is they had some really interesting case studies from big global corporations. So they had the CEO of Hyatt with, he was also kind of being interviewed by I guess the McKinsey partner who helped them through their agile transformation. But the CEO of Hyatt was talking through their organization’s agile transformation, how they responded to the disruption of the pandemic and 

Dr Jen Frahm (03:29):


Natasha Redman (03:30):

And also how it extended through the leadership team and also to the board. So that was fascinating. 

Dr Jen Frahm (03:37):

We don’t hear about that much. We don’t hear about the connection to Agile and the board, whereas it kind of starts there, right? 

Natasha Redman (03:46):

And even the leadership team, because we know that one of the biggest mistakes we see is leaders thinking, well, it’s just about software development. Everyone else needs to do agile. I don’t need to do anything differently. I’m going to be the same old command and control guy. So that was a really big highlight. They also had, I don’t know if I was complaining to you at Agile Laws last year or if it’s someone else, but I was complaining that I didn’t feel challenged enough by different and new ideas. I was like, we’re all in a bit of an echo chamber here in Australia and everybody’s saying the same thing and singing from the same hymn book. But there were a couple of talks that really challenged me and that was good thing. So there was a guy called Joe Justice and he gave an example from Tesla and he started his talk by really fanboying about Ellen Musk and his leadership style. 

Natasha Redman (04:38):

So I have a different view of Ellen Musk and his leader. So I found that challenging, but I went, no, you’re here to be challenged, keep listening. And he ended up describing the way that they do things at Tesla. It was so foreign to the way that I see companies that I work in conduct themselves. He talked about how if you want to go and buy a machinery part or spend money, you can do that. There isn’t a small group of people controlling all the money and keeping costs down because Tesla’s goal is not to make money and it’s also privately owned by an eccentric billionaire. So they can have that goal, whereas most companies are publicly listed and they answer the shareholders. But also Tesla I imagine would draw the cream of the crop talent wise. So you’d be working with the smartest people in the world who are all so energetic. 

Natasha Redman (05:34):

And I did think, and I had a question forming in my head and I wanted to ask the question and then the other people put their hands up and then there was no time, but I thought he’s just described this agileists utopia that is everything is so efficient and everything works so well. And I thought for most of us we’re in companies, they have a lot of legacy stuff, whether it’s legacy systems, legacy ways of working culture, command and control culture, like people trying to drive down costs. There are all these barriers to doing things and you also have mediocre people who want to hide and don’t really want to do any work and people who it’s very different landscape. So I wanted to know where’s the hope for the regular person who’s working at a mid-size bank in Australia? But it was really interesting hearing about that because it exists apparently. 

Dr Jen Frahm (06:26):

Well, it’s interesting because it’s actually described the conditions of a Petri dish for what is it like to do agile? Because if you have ring-fenced, the organization by virtue of it is owned by an eccentric billionaire and you have no requirements to address any of the things that our organizations do. You can see what actually happens when you truly give license to the people to do these principles that we talk about. So how fascinating. 

Natasha Redman (07:00):

And it’s not like Mr. Joe Blow on the production line goes and spends $2 million. There’s a democratic process they need to go through to spend that money, but it’s not vetoed. So anyone can do it, but you do go through a process to make sure, yeah, this is a good idea and it’s going to be good for the company. 

Dr Jen Frahm (07:17):

It’s not commercial anarchy. 

Natasha Redman (07:19):

Correct, correct. Some other global examples included, they had people from Google, Toyota and they also had a fabulous and hilarious talk by a guy called Nigel Furlough where he talked a lot about the death of Agile and quite openly about a lot of the challenges that Agile is facing. And he did it in a very lighthearted way. But again, are we having that conversation in Australia? Are we ready for that? So I just felt like there was some really big global examples that in Australia we just don’t have 

Dr Jen Frahm (07:59):

Those you don’t get access to. 

Natasha Redman (08:02):

And getting access to a CEO of a global company, I think that, so that made it worth it. On the downside, they didn’t serve any alcohol or beer at the networking drinks. It was rude 

Natasha Redman (08:14):

Then sponsored and we paid a lot of money for the ticket. And then they’d say, oh, we’re having cocktails sponsored by IIC Agile. And I thought, I wonder how much I see Agile paid for this and how they feel about, but I actually made some good friends with a little group. We were all standing around networking, bitching about the fact that there was no beer and someone said, should we go and get a beer? Yes, let’s go. And so we ended up forming a little friend group because that beer turned into dinner and then it turned into going sightseeing with some of the people in the group. 

Dr Jen Frahm (08:51):

Necessity is the mother of invention or connection as it might be with that. 

Natasha Redman (08:56):

But again, At first I thought, you’re just being an alcoholic Australian. Not everyone needs to have a drink, but everyone in it was like, I cannot believe there is no drink.

Dr Jen Frahm (09:05):

It was just the one who voiced it. Yeah, 

Natasha Redman (09:07):

No, everyone was voicing it. 

Dr Jen Frahm (09:10):

So I’m kind of curious at a pragmatic level, if anything, what would you do differently now having been to that conference? 

Natasha Redman (09:21):

That’s a really good question. I’m not sure. 

Natasha Redman (09:27):

I probably wouldn’t be so quick to poo someone else’s ideas and ways of doing something if it related to an eccentric billionaire I already had an opinion about and their leadership style, I think being more open to listening. Yeah, I think so. 

Dr Jen Frahm (09:48):

One of the things that I think if we think about that Agile Australia 22, you and I both recognized we were both there, that there was a real deficit of change practitioners there. So there have been in previous years, but that year in particular, I think there was you and me and maybe one other 

Natasha Redman (10:07):


Dr Jen Frahm (10:07):

Thing around the plate, same thing. Okay, this is my next question there. Out of curiosity.

Natasha Redman (10:12):

I was just only change person there. 

Dr Jen Frahm (10:14):

Were there conversations around change? 

Natasha Redman (10:16):

Yes. So you are segging into some of the things that we are going to talk about. I know if we can, we are going to talk about the good, the bad and the ugly of agile. And one of the things I did struggle to distinguish between bad and ugly. So one of the things that was, I think I put it as bad is that oh no, it was ugly. We are siloed with our agile friends. We are working in silos because yes, you me, and I think there was one other change person at Agile as last year. I think there was only one or two at Agile Laws this year. Agile people are not coming to change conferences, we’re not going to their stuff. But we have a lot that we can learn from one another. And I feel like, and this is segging into another ugly, there’s a lot of agile people who they’re not aware that there’s a whole discipline of people out there who are really, really good at helping organizations lead and manage change. And that’s us, that’s change managers and we can help you come talk to us. But some of them think they invented change management and they’re coming up with these models and they’re presenting, but they’re getting Guernsey to go and present at some conference. It’s kind of cringe because I’m like, here, if you need guys, what are you talking about? A car, what 

Natasha Redman (11:38):

We were talking about, we knew about a car a long time ago. So there’s a bit of that going on and I just think why are we working in silos? Because we could be working together and I know that we are looking quite a lot to the agile world and what can we use and how can I use this in change management? But are they doing that for us? I don’t think so. 

Dr Jen Frahm (11:59):

This is, and I know we said no segues and tangents, however, 

Natasha Redman (12:04):

Where this is 

Dr Jen Frahm (12:04):

Just too good. And then we are going to get back to the good, the ugly. This conversation has just kicked off on one of the forums on A CMP where shout out to Emily in Canada has raised the observation that we speak a lot about what change practitioners can learn from Agile, but we actually don’t. There’s no conversation around what the agileists need to learn from change managers. And I know in the post that I wrote 2016 after my first Agile Australia, and I said, I see there’s a real space of role conflict and there’s two other things that play into this. So when Agile first became really popular, you had all the OD people, so organizational development get the hump that all of a sudden everything that they knew was being repackaged with this really sexy name agile and how dare they, which when I went to that first Agile Australia, I was like fair play. I’m seeing a lot played back at me, which is actually in the theory of organizational development from the 1940s and the fifties and stuff like that. 

Natasha Redman (13:16):

And human-centered design is another one. Yep. 

Dr Jen Frahm (13:19):

So it raises for me the question of what would you teach an agile, maybe teacher is the wrong word, what would you want an agileists to know about change management? Did you get to have those conversations? 

Natasha Redman (13:36):

I have them with my friends who are either in change or agile, agile change. But I think, so firstly, let me take a step back before I answer the question. I think another thing that I’m noticing to just bookend that is that you can’t talk about agile without talking about change now because the biggest challenges around agile are managing and leading change and how do we get people to adopt new ways of working and how do we manage resistance? So they would probably be the things I would start with is this is what you need to consider when you are asking someone to do something differently, to interact with their coworkers differently. If we use the example of an agile transformation, that is a huge culture change and it’s not just a process change, it’s not just a tech change. We’re asking people to interact in a completely different way with all their coworkers, go about their day differently, break up their work and manage their work differently. 

Natasha Redman (14:38):

We’re asking their leaders to lead differently and then we’re wondering why it doesn’t stick. So yeah, I would start with some of those key, I guess foundational pieces like how you assess impact, how you have the conversation about who’s impacted, how you manage things like restructures, how you manage things like adoption and benefits. How are you going to report on adoption and how are you going to determine whether or not something is working and whether or not we’re doing what we set out to do. How are you going to manage resistance? And you know what I feel about resistance, not real, blah blah, blah, but how are you going to manage when you see people reverting back to the old ways of working when the managers aren’t looking? What are you going to do when you see resistant behaviors manifesting? Like people saying, I don’t want to do that. No, I don’t think this is the right way for the organization. How are you going to manage those sorts of conversations? I think that’s probably where I would start rather than going do a change plan. No. Yeah, 

Dr Jen Frahm (15:40):

And it’s interesting. I think I was thinking about it and I was thinking, look, the areas that I see that really struggle, that change practitioners are really good politics influencing people impacts the impacts. That does not seem to be a consideration in an agile world because a lot of the time there’s this singular focus on the product that is being developed or the service, not the flow on effects the organizational ecosystem. And I think change practitioners are really good at going or surfacing, hang on a minute, 

Natasha Redman (16:19):

And being the voice of the impacted person and putting themselves in the impacted person’s shoes. 

Dr Jen Frahm (16:24):

Yeah. Interesting. Okay. We did go on 

Natasha Redman (16:26):

A tangent and also engagement and how it’s communicated. Making sure people understand the why because a lot of people who undergo agile transformations or they don’t understand why they’re doing it, and therefore you don’t understand why you’re doing something, you’re going to be less likely to get on board 

Dr Jen Frahm (16:42):

Or very slow with it. So let’s circle back. We tried so hard. I 

Natasha Redman (16:50):

Knew it was a lie as soon as the words came out of our mouths. Yeah, 

Dr Jen Frahm (16:54):

Let’s circle back. So one of the things that I was keen for, given you have this rich, rich experience in agile change for such a long time, there’s a lot of people that will be listening to this or watching this who are really new to the space of agility or agile, whether we’re going big a little a. And so I was keen to hear if you could bring to life what’s the best of agile change when you’ve worked in the best situations, the best projects, organizations, clients, and really been able to bring all of your agile change chops forward. What does it look like? 

Natasha Redman (17:39):

That’s a really good question. You’re asking me so many hard questions, Jen. What’s the best? I think being able to be creative is one of the best things about working in agile change. You are not bound to a predetermined waterfall methodology where you must follow these linear steps and you must complete certain templates. When you’re in an agile environment, you have a lot more freedom to tailor your change solution to the environment. I’ve also noticed when I’ve worked in agile environments that haven’t had much exposure to change, they’re very open to agile change tools. So I’ve had a lot of success with things like the change canvas, blast radius, but then when I’ve been in quite waterfall environments where they’ve already had exposure to waterfall change, there can be some resistance like, oh no, we don’t do it this way. I want to see a change plan. 

Natasha Redman (18:43):

So I think being in some of these, and we did talk before we hit record about when you’re in a change mature environment, it can be a great opportunity, but sometimes it can be risky in case change isn’t value. But I’ve had some amazing experiences with very open-minded clients and then they have, so the best thing that happens is when they adopt something and it becomes part of their day to day. So where I’ve said, let’s do a change canvas and we do one at the start of every sprint, and that’s still happening even though I’m no longer working with that organization. Or they go, okay, next sprint, let’s do the change canvas. And it becomes part of the way we do things. I think as well, and this is probably not so much a case study of success, but I think there’s some things that I think there are key aspects of agile that are just so fantastic for change and they benefit change practitioners immensely. So I think a lot of the commandments of the Agile manifesto, oh, that’s the other thing about agile laws. Now I’m going on a tangent. There was a guy there who was one of the signatories of the Agile manifesto, so that was a bit ooh. And he was really nice. I actually met him at lunch and didn’t realize until he said, oh, I’m speaking. And he showed me and I went, oh my God, I’ve just been talking to a signatory of the Agile manifesto. Anyway, sorry, 

Natasha Redman (20:06):

Og. But then he got asked about it in a panel discussion and he actually looked a little bit traumatized. He’s like, I think he must be so sick of being asked about that agile manifesto. It was so long ago. Anyway, well, I 

Dr Jen Frahm (20:16):

Think a lot of them are kind of rolling back what they said too, they’ve sort of said, look, it was a time and place 

Natasha Redman (20:23):

And he said he didn’t go to conferences for a while. He wanted to distance himself and he’s doing a lot of software development stuff. But anyway, the Agile manifesto principles, some of them are very beneficial to change things like people over process. There is a huge focus on the end user and the customer, which as change managers we’re often the sole person fighting for that. So in agile, theoretically you should people like the product donor and everyone should be focusing on the customer, which is good for us, right? Because we’re not the sole person begging for that. Also, MVP is the expectation in agile environments. No one is asking you to do these huge stakeholder matrix matrices and change plans and things that take ages to do, but they sit on SharePoints and they don’t really add that much value. So you can use leaner templates like things like the change canvas and things that are one pages, one slide. 

Natasha Redman (21:20):

Also collaboration, getting the right people in the room. So leaders being present, product owners being present is a big part of agile culture. Again, that’s going to benefit you as the change practitioner because it’s going to make it easier for you to have access to your sponsor or the people who are leading the change in your organization. I think another thing is a lot of, you mentioned before a lot of people are still quite new to this space. They have a view, and I think maybe they’ve been told this or gaslit by certain agile practitioners, I don’t know, agile, and we’re actually very agile by nature. So things like I always ask people, when was the last time you wrote a comms plan? Got it signed off and stuck exactly to the letter to everything that was in that comms plan. You don’t because you send a comms, you go, oh, that didn’t land very well. I think it came from the wrong person. I think next time it needs to be a presentation at the town hall and it needs to come from X person instead of Y person. You are being agile, you’re iterating based on what you learn. So we do a lot of that. We’re always begging, please do a pilot, please don’t do a big bang, go live. It’s going to be a disaster. That’s agile, right? You’re being agile. 

Dr Jen Frahm (22:27):

It’s such a good point. It’s such a good point that I think a lot of change practitioners are much more agile than they give themselves credit for. Yes, 

Natasha Redman (22:37):

Yes. We are doing it intuitively without putting a label on it. But then we’re telling ourselves, and maybe we’re being told by someone who did a scrum master and doesn’t know about change that, oh, well, you’re not agile because you haven’t done your safe or your scrum. The principles actually benefit us. And also lean methods suit lean and solo teams. So I don’t know about you, but the days of having a whole team of change analysts to do all your grunt work for you, you are always quite often we’re the sole person and we’ve got a couple of projects and we are really overworked. So if you’re being able to do MVP and much lighter, I guess deliverables and documentation, you’ve got more time to focus on the value add work, which is getting to know stakeholders, getting to understand the customer. So I think there’s a lot of, oh and done is better than perfect. So some of these principles fail fast, learn often. I think they really benefit us. And yes, there’s some unlearning for us to do because we’ve all been raised in, well, probably people in our age group environments where perfection was key and we had to have all these long humongous documents and go through multiple rounds of reviews and just took age and ages. But you can get things done faster. So yes, there’s a lot of good things there for us. 

Dr Jen Frahm (23:54):

Excellent, excellent. You mentioned some of the ugly before. What’s in the middle ground? The challenging areas that practitioners are going to find? 

Natasha Redman (24:04):

I’m referring, I’ve got some written notes, so the bad, 

Dr Jen Frahm (24:06):

You’ve got notes. 

Natasha Redman (24:07):

Yeah, I made some notes yesterday, so I didn’t miss anything. I still will miss things. So one thing that I find really ironic is that change managers are often frozen out of agile teams and they’re regarded as part of the old way doing things. That’s ironic because we’re not included in waterfall. So it’s like, well, but I do think that’s down to, and this is a huge bugbear I have with certifications in certain industries, is change management’s not mentioned in agile certifications and it’s not mentioned in your PMI and your pm B or it’s just put down as comms and it’s right at the end. So people who go and do these certifications, they think, and if you take Scrum, they think, oh, you can only have these certain roles in the development team and therefore you cannot have a change manager because the Scrum exam said, so people are having these views. And I find that obviously I’m really biased because I am a change manager and I think we add a huge amount of value, but it’s just really annoying and tiring. But I also would caveat that on the flip side, a lot of change managers are very wedded to their waterfall methodologies and they’re not changing. So that is contributing to that problem because people are coming across change managers and then they’re being met with waterfall change plans and waterfall ways of working and very rigid, and that’s disappointing. 

Dr Jen Frahm (25:41):

It is. Why do you think that is? Why are change practitioners reluctant to change? 

Natasha Redman (25:49):

Well, I think that some people think they can go in and just repeat and execute the same stuff over and over again. It’s also ironic that change managers are being resistant to change. I think there’s a little bit of fear there in that they know that they need to step into Agile, but maybe they’re not sure where to start and they don’t want to mess up or look silly. In which case I say, come and do my 90 minute webinar, or do your certification, do your Agile change manager or buy Lena’s Agile Hacking for Agile change. And I know the conversation is starting to come to the forefront now, and I feel like we’ve been putting some stuff out there and other people have been putting some stuff out there with their blogs. But I do feel like some of these change organizations are still of parroting and they’re also to waterfall methodologies. And there’s a very dominant one in Australia. I am not allowed to say its name, don’t mention it, it’s 

Dr Jen Frahm (26:53):

Not seriously 

Natasha Redman (26:55):

Stay employed, 

Dr Jen Frahm (26:57):

Don’t, well, we don’t have a budget for defamation cases. So if you can just step away from that, it would be helpful.

Natasha Redman (27:03):

But I think being wedded to very dominant, more traditional method, look, again, there’s always a lot of value in knowing the foundational stuff. So I’m not here to rip on. It’s always good to know that. So then you can unlearn it and do things differently. But yeah, I often wonder why aren’t change managers changing and why is that happening so slowly? And I also think because as you know, I’m in the process of writing a book and it’s going really slowly as I struggle with procrastination and concentration. I’m looking over at my chapter plan that’s over there. But I also think by the time I get this done, is this info even going to be relevant anymore? And I’m thinking maybe yes, because so many people are still opening that door, but also so many companies are still operating Waterfall. So for a lot of people it is new. Not everyone’s had the opportunity and maybe they feel like, why am I missing the boat? And there’s also a lot of organizations that are agile hostile where you’re not allowed to bring it up or mention it. Yeah. Yeah. 

Dr Jen Frahm (28:08):

So as we round out this conversation, it has been fabulous. What’s your takeaway advice for a change practitioner who is yet to get into Agile? So what do you think is the most compelling reason why they should? 

Natasha Redman (28:28):

Well, I think that you can never have too many tools at your disposal, just the same as I just said. There’s a lot of value in knowing the foundational stuff like cottage eight steps, add car. We should all be aware and understand those concept as change practitioners. So you should also know there are a lot of new ways of working and you can add these things to your toolkit. And even if you are in a waterfall environment, you can still try things out. You don’t have to call them agile. You don’t have to call it a lean coffee. You can just say, we’re running this meeting using upvoting or something like that. 

Natasha Redman (29:07):

So I think you would want to be the most modern and up-to-date and excellent change practitioner that you can be. So why wouldn’t you be reading the relevant books and understanding what the trends are? I had a really excellent vendor, CEO that I got on really well with when I was first stepping my toe into the Agile world, maybe 11 or 12 years ago. And he was in his fifties and I was, well, I was younger, let’s just say that. And he said to something me that I didn’t grasp at the time, but I grasp it now. He said, I’m terrified of becoming irrelevant and obsolete. I don’t want to be this old guy who doesn’t know what he’s doing or saying. And I’m now, I understand that now. I don’t want to be the irrelevant change person who’s busting out their same copy and pasted change plan from 10 years ago that they use on it. And I often think that I’m like, is there something that I don’t know about that I could be using? And I do feel like, am I just pulling off the same moves every time? Am I being that guy? So I do think you’ve got nothing to lose by leaning in and learning, and you might meet some interesting people and you might learn some really new tricks. 

Natasha Redman (30:32):

Yeah, and that’s what I would say. Yeah, 

Dr Jen Frahm (30:35):

I like that. I appreciate that. I appreciate you listeners and viewers. Now, Tash Hass got a podcast, we’ll link to that in the notes, Casa de Camio. You need to be subscribing to that. It’s very, very good. And she chats with fabulous people as well. You can also connect with Tash on LinkedIn. And again, I recommend that you do that because again, you’ve got a wealth of knowledge in Tash that it would just be fabulous to have her in your network. Anything else? Viewers and leaders. Viewers. Leaders. Leaders. I was going to say readers, but they’re not reading this. I 

Natasha Redman (31:14):

Say readers sometimes by accident too. 

Dr Jen Frahm (31:17):


Natasha Redman (31:17):

I think, yeah, LinkedIn is the place where I post the most about change. And yeah, check out my podcast. Jen and Lena have been on a couple of times. We have. We have. Yeah. So I think that’s it. Thank you so much for having me. 

Dr Jen Frahm (31:29):

You’re very welcome. Thanks everybody. 

Natasha Redman (31:33):