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Culture follows structure


Published on

Culture or structure: the chicken-egg problem.

Published in: Leadership & Management

Culture follows structure

  1. 1. Alexey Krivitskyблог culture hacker’s guide Studying how structural decisions impact behaviors, performance and org cultures
  2. 2. Alexey krivitsky Mediocre developer Bulldozing scrum master Kicking ass agile coach Certified scrum trainer Fat ski rider Lame bass guitarist Mostly known in agile community for #lego4scrum. Alexey Krivitskyблог
  3. 3. Culture. Is it really given? •  “We are agile” •  “They just do agile” •  “Our culture is agile-friendly” •  “Scrum is foreign to that culture” •  “They have very strong waterfall culture” •  “Scrum creates unique culture” •  “After John left, they stopped Scrum” •  “They were not ready for agile” •  …
  4. 4. culture will eat your Strategy for breakfast
  5. 5. “our Culture” is How we do things round here
  6. 6. The Chicken-egg dilemma: Culture <-> structure EMERGING ORGANIZATION (“START-UP”) LEGACY ORGANIZATION (“STABLE COMPANY”) Beliefs and habits – culture of founders - shape structure. Flat vs. hierarchical, controlling vs. collaborating… CULTURE shapes STRUCTURE Existing structures (formed long ago) will try to sustain, reinforcing itself. More bureaucracy, policies, layers of indirection, roles... STRUCTURE shapes CULTURE
  7. 7. So can we change cultures?
  9. 9. Joint Backlog refinement
  10. 10. Multi-team sprint planning
  11. 11. Inertia to change Same structure New STRATEGY existing CULTURE Old habits reinforced Old behaviors triggered S.A.M.O.
  12. 12. “Culture follows structure” new Structure introduced existing culture New culture New Behaviors emerge New Habits stick LaRman's law
  13. 13. and system thinking
  14. 14. What do mean by this, really? “Culture follows structure”
  15. 15. If hell exists it looks like this. How long does it take to add an edit field?
  16. 16. More Examples of structural decisions that have impact on the culture “Culture follows structure”
  17. 17. #1: existence of a Platform team TECHNICAL PLATFORM / ENGINE CONSUMER PRODUCTS
  18. 18. Customer-facing teams doing platform work TECHNICAL PLATFORM / ENGINE CONSUMER PRODUCTS
  19. 19. #2: mobile teams with no back-ends skills BACK-END REST API CORE FRONT-END MOBILE APPS
  20. 20. All teams working on back-end BACK-END CORE FRONT-END MOBILE APPS
  21. 21. #3: one product split into many sub-domains
  22. 22. Organize by customer value
  23. 23. Study system dynamics at play you may explore some of with these variables Cycle time # defects Costs of