Part 3 of 3 – Stagnant Company Culture

It’s said experience is what you get when you didn’t look for it. Even if you’ve worked for a brain-dead company, you can learn (if sanity doesn’t leave your mind first!)

So what are the consequences of a top-down, friends of the CEO, no growth, lack of training, no-risk company?

It’s not un-common for the lack of executive talent to reduce management to nonexistent competence at the lowest levels. The resulting CYA perspective will absolutely destroy initiative. When the trained expectation is that they will be told when, where & how to jump, it’s not reasonable to expect that they would “drive” items to resolution. Ie, pick up the phone and walk a work item through final delivery. In other words, the minions will do exactly what they are told and nothing more.

In fact, the minions have had any & all initiative destroyed to the point, they can’t conceive of another way to perform or contribute. Regardless of what they do, someone may “yell” at them. Ouch, that hurt my feelings! If no initiative is taken, there isn’t the risk of a screwup. Of course, without *some* failure, there isn’t any learning. Without learning, the recursive nature of brain-deadness is exponentially devastating.

Oh, you expect the minions to think big? Consider the long-term consequences of decisions? This responsibility is completely delegated back to the management team. Of course, with each deferment up the chain, the decision maker is further from the truth.

Many writers discuss partial agile implementations of software development. To me, if the company culture precludes risk, initiative, reveres technical or managerial orthodoxy, then you’re struggling. Agile benefits will continue to escape the organization and the team. Life is decidedly a drag.

What happens if one’s career is based on this single failure point? As always, it depends. In health care, 1 morbid disease is survivable, 2 diseases are survivable; 3 is not good. So if you’ve fulfilled parts 1, 2 & 3 of my rants, chances are slim that you find agile software processes attractive.

Erik Dietrich’s article ““ is a great article of the end-state of such a life experience (parts 1, 2 & 3.) The combination of these parts can contribute to the expert-beginner syndrome.

Part 3 of 3 – Stagnant Company Culture

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