Home » Change Management » Agile Needs An Appropriate Culture

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The mere adoption of agile practices does not equate with the agile principles required for digital transformation. “Agile is a culture, not a process. Applying agile practices like Scrum or Kanban without changing organizational culture will not work,” noted Kretchmer. Even in organizations that are adopting agile IT and DevOps, business and IT functions often remain siloed, according to the VP. “There are specialized teams — CRM, BI, testing, security, system, database, and development, for example — with mutual dependencies. This scenario is contradictory to cross-functional teams,” he observed. SDTimes.com, February 1, 2018, Industry Spotlight: Expanding the dynamics of business agility.

<Sigh>. I recall that after 20 years of being in the military that on entering commercial corporate life, that the organizational issues I first saw in the Air Force were essentially the same as in the commercial world.

I also recall the great insight I had as a new second lieutenant that the problems in this software intensive early warning space based national defense system I was working on weren’t technical they were managerial (i.e., culturally entrenched in management). In spite of that, we went on to deliver our project a month early with quality so good that the customer had not entered an issue report in the first six months of use. The organization’s cultural response to this admittedly amazing success? They were mad, unhappy. “They liked what you did but not how you did it!” What did we do? We worked hard, focused on quality and not deadlines and we got everyone involved and working on something that truly needed doing on the project. Prior to this, the conventional management wisdom was to emphasize deadlines and to only use “our best” people to work on critical parts of the project.

For more background see The Leap From Mediocrity To The Exceptional Is Shorter Than We Think

Midway through my Air Force career, while at the Software Engineering Institute, I recall their often repeated truism that new tools or new processes wouldn’t fix an otherwise dysfunctional organization.

So when I see articles like the above over 40 years later still lamenting the need for cultural changes to actually get the full benefits out of the latest and greatest tools and methodologies, well, it is just sad but not surprising. It seems that human nature has not matured as much as technologies and methodologies have over the same period of time. </Sigh>

Does your planning take into account that in order to have a successful project that you may need to change the culture of your organization?

Thank you for sharing!