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How to measure Culture in Agile Transformation?

"Agile Transformation is a cultural change". Yes, you've heard it right (and probably heard it many times from your Agile Coaches). But, you may also have heard that "what you cannot measure, you cannot improve".

So, how exactly you measure the cultural change when you are undergoing Agile Transformation? Let's understand this with few Q&As based on excerpts from Measure Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Culture to Optimize DevOps Transformations by IT Revolution.

Question:What all organizational culture comprised of?

Answer: Many things.

  1. Formal state such as mission, vision and goal statements

  2. Informal state such as shared values and social norms

  3. "The way things are done here"

  4. Add more in comments..

Question:With respect to Agile & DevOps Transformation what aspects of culture are relevant?

Answer: Organizational culture has many facets and practitioner can choose to focus on aspects of their culture which would benefit their context most. If you see Agile and DevOps Transformation focus is on communication, collaboration, prioritization and overall information flow?

Question:So, what this leads to? Do we have a framework for measuring cultural change?

Answer: Luckily, Yes! Ron Westrum luckily proposed a model of organizational culture that emphasized the importance of information flow in complex and high risk work environments. Among all the models this model seems to be most suitable.

Question:So, how to measure culture?


  1. It is a perceptual measure should be capture through survey or interviews

  2. Likert type response system is preferable, with responses from strongly disagree (=1) to strongly agree (=7)

  3. Few of the Westrum's items are:

    • On my team, information is actively sought.

    • On my team, failures are learning opportunities, and messengers of them are not punished.

    • On my team, responsibilities are shared.

    • On my team, cross-functional collaboration is encouraged and rewarded.

    • On my team, failure causes enquiry.

    • On my team, new ideas are welcomed.

Higher scores are indicative of a generative (or performance-oriented) culture, while lower scores are indicative of a bureaucratic culture.

The key takeaway here is that whatever metrics you use, watch for how they are changing. Progression, digression, or stability of your metrics are the key to learning and improving.

Reference: Measure Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Culture to Optimize DevOps Transformations by IT Revolution

Westrum, R. (2004). A typology of organisational cultures. Quality and safety in health care,

13(suppl 2), ii22-ii27. Retrieved from


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