It's not the Culture, Stupid!

In many Agile transformations there seems to be an issue with corporate culture. People in the company often think and say, that the current culture is not compatible with Agile and the culture would have to change.

Values often mentioned in this context are the Scrum values:

  • Commitment
  • Openness
  • Focus
  • Respect
  • Courage

I do only have one issue with this. Try the following: Take this values and present them to some randomly selected persons in your company. Ask everybody the following question: "How important are these values to you and are they part of your set of values?". I made the experience, that every single person will find these values to be important and most consider them part of their individual set of values. How then is it possible, that the corporate culture seems to be a problem?

To answer this question try another exercise: Again take the above mentioned values and show them to some persons and ask them the following question: "How much do you think do people in your close environment live these values?". You might be supprised, that the results will now be much worse than the results of the first question.

Find the explanation for the observed gap and you will probably be a huge step further in your Agile transformation. You can probably do this just by making the gap transparent and asking the people for an explanation. Eventually a retrospective may be a good place to do this.

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