Agile and the Role of Culture

I just finished the book An Agile Adoption and Transformation Survival Guide by Michael Sahota. It deals with the mostly underrated – here I’m no exception – topic of potentially necessary shifts in culture on the way to “being agile” as an organisation. He points out that there is a difference between an adoption and transformation towards agile.

An adoption of agile is the attempt of introducing agile methods and practices, which requires a culture that are compatible to them. This is rarely the case. Far more often there is a mismatched culture, that needs to be shifted towards one that is compatible before agile is truly can be sustainable introduced and creates less damage to the organisation. As we take a look at the 9th Annual State of Agile™ Survey, two of the top five causes of agile project failure were related to company culture (42%) and the top cause of barriers for further agile adoption where pointing to a lack of ability to change the organizational culture (44%). This is as enlightening as it is alarming.

To promote his assertion, Sahota uses the Schneider Culture Model based on William Schneider’s book The Reengineering Alternative: A plan for making your current culture work (which will be one of my next reads). If you’re interested in the topic, follow the link to the article How to Make Your Culture Work with Agile, Kanban & Software Craftsmanship for further reading and some enlightenment about the role of culture for change initiatives. And don’t miss the Agile Adoption and Transformation Survival Guide itself. It’s free. Also with just about 70 pages it’s a short read that provides you a buffet of dense information to choose from for further exploration.

And thanks to Patrick Koglin for bringing me on the track of the topic.

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