Culture Resources

Over the last several years, I’ve been consumed by the topic of culture, and more specifically, the impact it can have on organizations and teams. I’ve accumulated a number of resources I use to talk about culture and find myself references all the time. I figured it made sense to capture them all in one place.

    1. 2015 State of DevOps Report. This version of the SODR makes some scientifically significant connections between culture and IT and organizational performance. Bonus: Top 5 Insights from the 2015 State of DevOps Report. This is a blog post I wrote about the highlights (from my perspective) about the 2015 SODR.
    2. 2016 State of DevOps Report. Just like prior years, this SODR has some great content about the practices of high-performing organizations. Bonus: 2016 State of DevOps Reaction. This is a blog post I wrote about the highlights (from my perspective) about the 2016 SODR.
    3. “The Role of Continuous Delivery in IT and Organizational Performance” by Nicole Forsgren and Jez Humble. This paper explains all the science and statistics used to come to the conclusions in the State of DevOps Reports.
    4. “A typology of organisational cultures” by Dr. Ron Westrum. This paper presents Westrum’s typology to describe organizational cultures based on how they share information and respond to failures and mistakes. Westrum’s typology identifies three cultures: pathological, bureaucratic, and generative. Hint: you want to have a “generative” culture.
    5. “Blameless PostMortems and a Just Culture” blog post by John Allspaw. Allspaw talks about the engineering culture at Etsy and their use of blameless postmortems to learn and improve.
    6. Just Culture by Sydney Dekker. Dekker talks about how to create an environment that strikes a healthy balance between accountability for mistakes and learning from those mistakes — and what happens if you don’t create the right balance.
    7. The five keys to a successful Google team. This is the study by Google that states “psychological safety was far and away the most important” that set high-performing teams apart from other teams.
    8. “Psychological Safety and Learning Behavior in Work Teams” by Amy Edmondson. This paper presents some of Edmondson’s research on psychological safety and its impact on team learning and team performance. She found the safer you feel, the more you learn — and the more you learn, the better you perform. You can also watch her TEDx talk on the same subject.
    9. DORA. This is a company founded by Gene Kim, Jez Humble, and Nicole Forsgren based on their work with the State of DevOps Reports. DORA can give you insights into your organization’s cultural capabilities, along with other aspects of DevOps like lean practices, automation, and measurement.
    10. Accelerate by Nicole Forsgren, Jez Humble, and Gene Kim. The book goes into all the science behind the State of DevOps Reports and what they’ve learned about what it takes to create and scale high-performing technology organizations.
    11. “Karojisatsu” blog post by John Willis. Willis gets very real about the subject of burnout in this post: it’s about burnout-related suicide and his personal encounters with it.
    12. Summary of the Amazon S3 Service Disruption. This report provides more detail around the cause of the S3 outage that occurred on February 28, 2017. It ends with the following statement, “We will do everything we can to learn from this event and use it to improve our availability even further.” Kudos to AWS for that statement.
    13. The U.S. Navy collision report. The official U.S. Navy report about separate collisions involving two of its ships, the USS FITZGERALD and the USS JOHN S MCCAIN. Spoiler: it talks a lot about human error.
    14. Celebration Grid. Part of Jurgen Appelo’s Management 3.o, celebration grids help teams frame work as experiments and identify learning, rather than view events as merely successes and failures.
    15. Out of the Crisis by W. Edwards Deming. Deming describes his 14 points for management he used to guide the industrial reconstruction in Japan after World War II. You’ll see these points underpin a lot of the DevOps patterns and practices we follow today.
    16. NUMMI. Information about the joint venture between Toyota and GM started in 1984. Googling will get you some more interesting content about NUMMI.