It was Keith Richards in his book 'Life', who described his musical relationship with fellow guitarist, Ronnie Wood as "the ancient art of weaving". In that simple phrase he was describing the strange and complex phenomenon by which two separate musicians, each struggling to find a groove, suddenly and unexpectedly discover pure magic. It's the musical equivalent of alchemy: although one can hardly describe Keef or Ron's playing as base metal.
But this phenomenon is not limited to music. It can happen in business too, where by putting two and two together we very often come up with five .... or six or seven .... and the results can be quite spectacular.
Think of the weaving of the horse with the cart or the computer with the phone as two examples. The horse plus the cart not only created transportation but it also led to the plough, the traction engine, the tractor, the combustion engine, the car, industrial haulage, the railway and modern aircraft. So far the weaving of the phone with the computer has led to the smart phone, smart cars, enabled devices and the Internet of Things. That's just for starters. Who knows where it might end up.
And so it might be with the weaving of change management into information technology. As the linked blog from Lean Change states, the Agile (i.e. IT development) community is starting to learn and apply techniques from change management and they in turn, are learning to apply Agile practices to the management of change. That's powerful stuff and no one knows where it might lead. But we can hazard some guesses.
For a start, we might see more technology change programmes that have a lasting and genuine impact on business.
At the moment these are limited because technology companies do not see that change begins with people. Instead they see change as beginning and ending with technology and people are just a messy irritant that gets in the way. Whilst that might be fine when the aim is to automate a credit card transaction over the web, it is far from fine when the aim is to design and build a complex piece of critical machinery such as an aircraft, where knowledge and skills matter much more than time and price.
We might also see more consistent and technology-enabled approaches to change management, enabling change agents and managers to follow an effective process rather than starting from a blank sheet of paper each time.
Either way, such inter-disciplinary collaboration can only be positive. Both groups - and business in general - will gain as a result.
While the Agile community is starting to pull process models and ideas from change management, the change management community is attempting to learn how to apply Agile practices to change.