Corporate culture is the number one barrier to agile adoption and the leading cause of failed agile projects. At least this is what VersionOne‘s surveys suggest for the last few years (e.g. 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010). This exercise aims to examine the cultural diversity (the variety in participants’ cultural preferences) and to identify possible clashes with the agile culture (based on the prevailing cultural preferences of the participants). As such it could be (regularly) used to check whether the cultural preferences within a team or department, project, organization, etc. are consistent with the cultural preferences embedded in the agile ideology. The exercise could be also used to effectively communicate (and align expectations) of the both Management and Operations while transitioning to agile.
The cultural preferences, used as part of this exercise, are taken from Carté and Fox’s book “Bridging the Culture Gap“. However any other cultural preferences could be used (as the ones proposed by Hofstede, Cameron and Quinn, Hampden-Turner and Trompenaars, etc.). Where necessary points could be introduced to quantify the cultural diversity and determine the magnitude of the cultural clashes (as well as to make the exercise more fun and entertaining). For that purpose you might use Carté and Fox’s scales and calculate points (for each cultural preference) through difference scores.
The timing largely depends on the number of cultural preference used as part of the exercise.
Whiteboard and markers in two different colors (e.g. bluе and red).
I. The Relationships Radar
Carté and Fox’s cultural preferences for Relationships include:
Once these cultural preferences are explained to the participants and there is a common understanding of what constitutes them, the radar chart given below should be drawn on the whiteboard (with a spoke for each of the above cultural preferences). The dashed line means indifference.
The Cultural Diversity
The participants should individually and simultaneously add a blue dot on each of the spokes, representing their own cultural preferences (it should be emphasized that there are no good or bad cultural preferences). The more scattered these dots are on the spokes, the greater the cultural diversity is between the participants. Then a discussion should be held on the benefits and side effects of having such a cultural diversity (or cultural homogeneity). Finally a bigger blue dot should be added on each spoke, representing the prevailing (averaged) cultural preferences of the participants.
The Cultural Clash
A red dot should be added on each of the spokes, representing participants’ common understanding of the cultural preferences embedded in the agile ideology. If the participants are new to agile (or there are major disagreements), the red dots might be added by the facilitator. Then two lines should be drawn – one blue which connects the blue dots (or the prevailing cultural preferences of the participants) and one red which connects the red dots (or the cultural preferences embedded in the agile ideology). These lines should be further analyzed and cultural clashes identified and discussed. The radar chart should look something like this:
The same procedure is repeated for the rest of the Cultural Radars. The only difference is the concrete Carté and Fox’s cultural preferences used.
II. The Communication Radar
Carté and Fox’s cultural preferences for Communication include:
III. The Time Radar
Carté and Fox’s cultural preferences for Time include:
IV. The Truth Radar
Carté and Fox’s cultural preferences for Truth include:
Original article: http://www.agify.me/the-cultural-radars/