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Team Building and Leadership

Why A Good Process Doesn’t Work for Everyone: The Role of Culture

It does not matter what process/framework your software delivery team follows, ultimately the culture of the organisation may determine the effectiveness of the process/framework in your team, and how the team members feel about that.

Let’s take an example with Scrum which is the most widely used framework by the software delivery teams in the world today. However, not all teams are able to tap the full benefit of using Scrum. In fact, in many teams, team members even hate Scrum.

On one side of the spectrum, some teams can leverage the full potential of Scrum and take this to another level beyond following the rules by the book. A supporting organisation culture, system, and autonomy enable such teams to evolve their ways of working. Team members are fully engaged and driven by a compelling purpose and deliver valuable outcomes for their product and organisation.

On the other side, despite adopting Scrum, some teams are not able to get any benefit from this framework. Due to a command and control type organisation culture, Scrum is perceived as a tool for micro-management for tracking individual and team performances and comparisons. Team members are disengaged and busy with work that is not aligned with a common purpose, and these teams produce a lot more output than delivering actual outcomes for the product and organisation.

In the context of a broader organisation, its overall culture and system are far more critical for the effectiveness of the process/framework followed by different teams. A team, of course, can create its bubble of safety, and establish great ways of working and culture within the team, however, it may not be able to escape the overarching organisational culture and system.