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InfoQ eMag: Designing Your Culture


Culture has been described as the combination of the things we can and cannot do and say in a given context, or the combination of attitudes, actions, values and beliefs that govern how a group of people collaborate (or don’t collaborate) in a given context. Organizational culture used to be something that just happened — if you were lucky, the collective attitudes and behaviors of the people you worked with and for resulted in an environment that was conducive to productivity and positive interpersonal relationships. Quite frequently it didn’t, and employees could either put up with it or vote with their feet: hopefully go somewhere else where the culture would be more compatible with their needs.

For many organizations, that is no longer the case. Culture has become a competitive advantage, a differentiator, and a way to attract and retain the right people, people whose values are aligned with the organization (really with that of the leadership team) and who want to work in that environment.

This eMag brings together a number of articles that explore ways to consciously design your culture, how to nurture and grow attitudes of craftsmanship and professionalism in teams, how to create places which are great to work in that get great outcomes, and how to make a profit.

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Designing Your Culture eMag include:

  • Enterprise Agility Through Culture - Culture plays an important role in organizational change. Successful agile adoption tends to depend on the ability to change the culture. Making the culture explicit and becoming more conscious of the existing culture is important in agile transformations according to Olaf Lewitz and Michael Sahota. Giving attention to culture can increase the agility of an organization.
  • Creating a Culture of Learning and Innovation - Jeff introduces some of the steps the employees of a large engineering corporation took to begin building a culture of innovation by fostering continuous learning in the workplace. In an environment where engineering tended to wait for business direction and execute to that direction, they are now seeing engineering selling the business on new directions to explore.
  • Coding Culture: How to Build Better Products by Building Stronger Teams - Software developers spend a tremendous amount of time and energy focused on how to build the best possible products. We obsess over what web framework to use or whether to go with a NoSQL or SQL database. While these questions are important, they often neglect to address an equally important aspect of software development: culture.
  • Creating a Creative and Innovative Culture at Scale - King Digital Entertainment needs to foster a creative and innovative culture with engaged and motivated people to create fun games. They have established an environment with freedom and trust, with space for experiments, exploration, and learning, to make people happy. Experiments and lessons from the engineering organization showing continuous improvement of HR-related processes and topics.
  • Implementing Agile Delivery for Non-Software IT Projects - Most organizations avoid using Agile for IT projects that do not involve software delivery (e.g. roadmap planning and architecture development). These projects deliver high value, but are often the most risky of all projects - and high risk demands Agile delivery. This paper discusses how Agile can be successfully adopted to deliver these projects by going back to the basics of Agile philosophy.
  • What Makes Joy, Inc. and the Menlo Way Work? - Having read Joy,Inc and heard Rich Sheridan talk about the Menlo Innovations way, I wanted to understand if this was real and if so how the ideas could be applied elsewhere so I spent a week there. This is the first of three articles and looks at what the Menlo way is and how it evolved.
  • Q&A on The Agile Culture: Leading Through Trust and Ownership - Developing an agile culture is something that enterprises often do when they adopt agile. Such a culture change involves changing the way that managers lead people to help them to become self-organized. The book "The Agile Culture" describes how you can develop a culture of energy and innovation, and provides tools to build trust, take ownership and deal with walls and resistance in organizations.

InfoQ eMags are professionally designed, downloadable collections of popular InfoQ content - articles, interviews, presentations, and research - covering the latest software development technologies, trends, and topics.