Transition to Scaling Agile: How to Ease Fear of Organizational Change

Transition to Scaling Agile: How to Ease Fear of Organizational Change


Dr. Saya Sone

Professor, Agile Coach, PMP, School of Computer Information Science
Virginia International University

PMIWDC Non-Member Rate

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About the Presentation


Most people have a fear of change. The organizational change could not take effect if management ignores people’s fear of change. The workshop proposes adopting attachment theory to ease people's fear when organizations are ready to adopt Agile at the enterprise level. Dr. Victoria Grady, a professor at George Mason University, said people usually are not resistant to change, but just express the feeling of future inconvenience. In her book, Pivot Point, she said that human’s nature does not like change because of attachment theory. Rene Spitz explained that attachment theory is as simple as babies are attached to their mothers. He said people do not consciously resist changes but naturally, react to something of the loss of an attachment. For example, what would infants react when they are separated from their mothers? What would employees react when their organization is ready to use a new process?

For this workshop, I would like to share with the audience about my experience of the implementation of Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) in federal agencies. When organizations said they want to adopt SAFe, as an SPC (SAFe Program Consultant), I had trained leaders, managers, teams, and individuals about SAFe Portfolio, Value stream, Program, and Team. When almost everyone was trained and SAFe certified, we were supposed to be SAFe. However, it did not look like everyone felt comfortable to have the first Program Increment (PI) (or first program planning). What were people so much afraid of? What objects were people leaning on when dealing with changes?

What if we don’t deal with the loss of attachment, what are the impacts? Many lessons learned told us why scaling Agile failed, but it is not clear how organizations handle people’s fear during the organizational transition. The evidence also shows that 68% initiates failed because organizations do not understand attachment theory. For example, employees’ frustrations may decrease productivities. We certainly don’t want the organization to fail when scaling Agile. So, we will learn how we can ease people’s fear of organizational changes based on the theory. Once we understand what behaviors caused by the loss, we can seek solutions or mitigate the risks for a smoother transition. For example, the organization is under the functional organizational structure. Each team member has the same function, but now the organization requires cross-functional team structure. The solution would be to advocate employee engagement and leadership support.


The audience will learn it is OK to have a fear when undergoing organizational changes. The workshop provides exercises to help the audience learn what they are attached to and how to overcome the fear in order to obtain a smooth transition during organizational changes such as scaling to enterprise Agile. We expect the audience to walk away with a nice long list of attachments that can be replaced with a list of new behaviors when organizations are ready to become an enterprise Agile.


Event Location

REI Systems Inc.
45335 Vintage Park Plaza
Sterling, VA, 20166

PDUs Available: 
1.00 PDUs for Certified PMs
Talent Triangle Category: 
Strategic and Business Management

Event Keywords

Hard Skills

Resource Problem Solving

"War stories" in successfully working through severe resource constraints

Industry / Sector


Information Technology, including organizations that utilize Agile development methodologies

About the Speakers

Dr. Saya Sone

Virginia International University
Professor, Agile Coach, PMP, School of Computer Information Science

Dr. Saya Sone is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC), an Enterprise Agile Coach, a professor at VIU (Virginia International University), and Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM)

Dr. Sone’s passion is to help her clients such as CTO, CIO, CEO, Individuals, and teams to discover their new beliefs, thoughts, directions, or emotions that strengthen their capabilities to accomplish their priorities. Her happiness is to be a partner when her clients grown in their potentials.

When Dr. Sone enjoys delivering her speeches in schools, conferences, meetups, and organizations, her topics include motivations for behavioral changes, keeping balance for maximum growth, designing Lean Canvas to recognize MVP (Minimal Viable product), setting goals to achieve life potential and a variety of Agile and coaching related topics.

Dr. Sone is a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA). She wrote two books Business Value of Agile Methods: Maximizing ROI with Just-in-Time Processes and Documentation” and Mapping Agile Practices to Project Management Challenges.

About the Loudoun Community

PMIWDC is pleased to announce a new Community in Loudoun County: PMIWDC - LC! PMIWDC’s Loudoun luncheons are a series of free brown bag luncheons hosted at the REI Systems Headquarters, 45335 Vintage Park Plaza, Sterling, VA 20166, conveniently located near the intersection of Route 28 and Route 606, north of the Dulles Airport. The Loudoun Community Luncheons are held every second Monday of the month, unless posted otherwise. In the event of a holiday, the luncheon will be on the third Monday. (Pre-registration is recommended). PMIWDC – Loudoun Community’s goal is to provide members with a convenient forum for learning, discussion and knowledge exchange. The Luncheons will feature presentations by guest speakers who are PMI-recognized thought leaders, educators and Subject Matter Experts. This series is made possible by the generous support of REI Systems, a recognized leader in federal grants management systems, full-life cycle software development, and open government and transparency solutions.

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