Agile Scaling and Organizational Culture
You might be familiar with Conway’s Law, which basically states that applications in their structure mirror the (communication) structure of the organization they were developed in. This law in itself is quite fascinating in and of itself.
During a recent Agile Open conference, I came to a realization related to scaling Agile that reminded me of Conway’s law. I venture to postulate that an organization’s Agile scaling method is the reflection of its culture and management style. (Maybe this shall be known as “Rosendahl’s Law” going forward, but I digress.)
What do I mean by this theory? If the organizational culture is that of command and control, it will choose an Agile scaling model which directly or indirectly embodies those values. In this case, an organization may choose SAFe since it – at least on the surface – seems to be more prescriptive and appears to provide more control.
If an organization’s culture is more characterized by empowerment and trust, it is more likely to choose a different scaling model, maybe just Scrum of Scrums or the Spotify model. As an extension of this theory, one might also predict that a command and control culture may lean more towards Scrum due to its (perceived) high predictability vs. Kanban which provides less clarity on roles, “process” and delivery dates.
What do you think, am I off here or have you seen this “law” in action?