An Empirical Study into Culture and Self-organizing Teams - control is good, trust is better! - Scrum Gathering 2014, Berlin

This talk is about understanding the culture in agile organisations and presents tools to understand your own organisation better.


When introducing agile ways of working, proven practices and beliefs that are embedded in the corporate culture are called into question. The Agile Manifesto is often used as a reference point as, at first sight, this appears to provide clear direction on how to address the questions and challenges that arise. But is this consistent with reality? What do successful agile companies actually do in practice? Do they simply adopt and live the Agile Manifesto principles? Do they do “Scrum by the book”? How did they come to their values and beliefs that make them so successful?

I have researched these issues through an empirical study into agile corporate culture and self-organized teams. In this lecture I shall present my results and what implications they have in practice.

Through interviews carried out with executives, product owners, scrum masters and team members I have looked into the question of what characterizes agile company culture. In the first part of the talk I shall present my findings.

Unfortunately, with this knowledge alone, it is not possible to determine where a company or customer, who wishes to introduce agile, actually stands. Perhaps we can see the formal structures and relationships within a company, but what are the power drivers between them? What is the company history? Are the values that are presented to the outside world actually lived?

In the second part of the talk we introduce practical methods from Organizational Development that help facilitate a better understanding of corporate culture from the outside. These methods will be exercised in an interactive format. 


Speakers: Hedi Buchner, Daniel Zappold 

Event: Scrum Gathering 2014, Berlin

Date: Tuesday, 23.9.2014, 4pm – 5pm

Room: Charlottenburg

Track: Managing Agility: Bring Down the Wall

Session Type: Lecture

Level: Performing