Culture Change with Culture Sprints

Scrum, Kanban or Design Thinking are on everyone’s lips as agile methods. But the digital workplace, remote work or hybrid working have also changed the requirements for the way we work together.

However, our human brain is sluggish. It doesn’t like change. This is because it consumes a lot of energy, and so we remain stuck in our old behavior patterns, especially when there is uncertainty in the application of something new.

It is precisely because of the uncertainty or possible embarrassment – especially as a leader – that new behaviors are difficult or impossible to adopt. To make matters worse, especially with new technology, new behavior can only be practiced with others. There is often not enough time and infrastructure to try out new things.

Culture Sprints approach

One solution is the Culture Sprints approach. Borrowed from Scrum, it is about establishing cultural change through so-called Culture Sprints. The first step is to define a strategic vision of the culture. The methods of the Culture Map and Strategic Visioning are helpful here. The Transformation Stories method can also be used to develop initial ideas on how the path to cultural change can be designed. But also the Change Cards as a collection of methods for culture change accelerate the finding of the appropriate method without having to search for approaches in a time-consuming way.

Subsequently, in Change Release Planning, the desired behavioral changes are planned in several sprints. As in cooking, so-called change recipes are applied in the implementation and it is checked whether the recipe has an effect on the behavioral change. Several of these change recipes can be applied in parallel during a Culture Sprint. Each of the sprints is planned individually. The duration of a Culture Sprint may vary from 4 – 6 weeks.

Planning, Implementation, Review and Retrospective for Culture Sprints

In the review, it is then determined whether the desired behavioral change has occurred, whether it still needs to be improved or whether it can be used as a change in other parts of the organization. From the retrospective at the end of the Culture Sprint, insights are gained that are used as improvements for the upcoming Culture Sprints.

Important for the Culture Sprints approach is the use of the principle of the “Save Space” in a figurative sense. In a Sprint, methods and behavior can be tried out and improved until they fit the requirements of the organization.

Everything is allowed here. Technology can also be used so that confidence and security in handling can be acquired. Because only if a behavior can be practiced safely, it will also be applied and can subsequently be used as a matter of course in the real world.

Benefits

  • Culture is developed based on experience
  • Participants can try out behavior in a save space without embarrassing themselves
  • Fit with the company is tested
  • Deliveries of Done are pre-defined for success
  • Open format to establish culture change
  • Predefined process ensures applicability without work pressure
  • Can be established as a format at any time

The Culture Sprint approach could also be named as Change Sprint. Due to the fact that Change Sprint is a specific definition of scrum.org and to avoid misunderstandings we refer to Culture Sprint.

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