Edge of Chaos

Agile Development Blog

Scrum, Lean, Kanban, Visualization, User Experience, IT Lifestyle

Uselink: Organizational Culture and Development Process

In some IT companies, the faults of development process are treated as if they have nothing in common with organizational culture. Under “development process” I mean all the technical what-need-to-get-done’s; organizational culture embraces the values and behaviors of people. Technical problems can be addressed with much less effort by means of having a nice organizational culture in place, and I’ll provide some examples and visuals to foster this awareness.

No Connection

This is the extreme case. At such an organization things are done by prescribed process guidelines only. I’ve seen this at a company quite some time ago. The cultural component is denied any power, since usually this is a company certified as compliant to some process. Every small thing that might happen is documented, and all the employees should act as prescribed for a predefined set of cases.  If there’s some deviation from the process, such an organization would not know how to act. An example: someone who is not responsible for testing, notices a bug in the build that goes to production, and shares this with no one, thinking: “I’m not responsible for that, so let it go as prescribed by the process”.

parallel culture and process
1x Intersection

The next case: a senior .NET developer proudly states that his team has produced an immaculate piece of code, and he doesn’t care if customers get a buggy product, because the QAs are accountable for their failure to spot bugs.  This is apparently a cultural drawback, and some stakeholder who expects quite a different behavior from a senior developer would talk to him. Such one-time stitch is supposed to “upgrade” the beliefs of this person to the understanding that it’s the work of the whole company that matters. Customers don’t care if a code is brilliant or not. They need a working app, so it’s in the best interest of the whole team to contribute to having better tests in place. This is slightly better than no connection between culture and process at all, but if too many people think along the same lines as this .NET developer, then too many custom “culture stitches” would be required (which takes time and effort).

1x crossing culture and process

The Limitless Intersection

That’s the case when most people in the company share the same cultural values. The two previous examples were linear. In the first one, the human factor was simply discarded, in the second example, the human factor got into spotlight as a one-time fix.  Now we’re adding the universe of people as a multi-dimensional space where the culture and process planes intersect to infinity. It’s as if the canvas that had to be hand-stitched comes for granted. Once the same cultural values are shared by many people in an organization, there’s no need to apply custom efforts, as would be the case with prescribing steps for each action.

limitless crossing culture and process

 

Similar posts:

Non-Judgemental Communication for Agile Teams

Feature Teams: First Among Equals

Project Manager or Tech Leader?

How Communication Factors In To Production

Targetprocess

Visual Management Software

for Scrum or Kanban

Take a tour