Workshop Results on Culture

I am really excited about my upcoming methods & tools article on culture and have been getting some great feedback from reviewers. Two comments requested clarification around supporting analysis for my thesis that Agile, Kanban and Software Craftsmanship have a cultural bias.

Here is what I said:

These results (Agile fits better with some cultures) have been validated through group workshops where participants performed the same activity after having an explanation of the culture model.
In this post, I will describe the workshop format, share the results, and provide some commentary.
For background context on this post, please see – Agile Culture Series Reading Guide.

Workshop Format

The workshop is very straight forward:
  1. Handout the  Schneider Model to everyone.
  2. Form into groups of 4 to 6 people.
  3. Each group selects a handout with either Agile Manifesto, Agile Principles, Kanban Principles, Software Craftsmanship or Declaration of Interdependence.
  4. Groups draw Schneider grid on a flipchart.
  5. Each principle is written on a sticky note and posted in the most appropriate quadrant.

Results

The following results were from an XPToronto User Group session earlier this year. I also ran this at SoCal LeanKanban and got similar results, but my camera sadly wasn’t working so I have no evidence.

Kanban

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The results here are pretty clear – Kanban is centred around Control culture. So two groups with strong agreement with the proposed model.

Software Craftsmanship

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The group on the left suggests that there is slightly more emphasis on Cultivation culture while the group on the right assigned the most items to Competence culture.

What support is there to the claim that Software Craftsmanship promotes Competence culture (as based on the manifesto)? In this case, I would say it is partially supported by the results.

These results indicate that language is not precised and that the experiment would need to be repeated several times with discussion and reconciliation of results to get a clear outcome. 

Agile Manifesto and Principles

When I ran the workshop in Toronto, no group picked this, so we did a large groups swarm where40 people just wrote out an item and posted it. That’s why there are duplicates. There was a little bit of clustering like items.

The diagram shows Collaboration culture as dominant followed by Cultivation. The term “working software” appears in both competence and control. In my analysis, this terms was ignored because it doesn’t have a strong fit with any of the cultures.

This result supports the claim that Agile is about Collaboration and Cultivation Culture.

Declaration Of Interdependence

The results of this have been written up in an earlier blog post - DOI? Cultural Shotgun

Conclusions

These results provide some support for the hypothesis that each of Agile, Kanban, and Software Craftsmanship have a cultural bias. It is worth noting that this experiment suffers from method bias in that participants were using the same analysis process of assigning attributes from manifesto to the culture model. An alternate workshop/experiment (just invented) would involve having participants brainstorm what are the most important values and then map them to the culture model.
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