Developing an Agile Culture


The Scrum Master as a Change Agent
The Cultural Model

The course is part of this learning path

Developing an Agile Culture

Course Description 

This module looks in detail at the Schneider Culture Model and what this means in an Agile environment which adopts a Scrum-friendly culture. It then presents two models for adopting an agile culture – the Agile Business Consortium’s Cultural DNA model and the Prince2 Agilometer from Axelos.   

Learning Objectives 

The objectives of this course are to provide you with and understanding of: 

  • The components of Schneider’s cultural model and its role in helping to judge an organization’s culture. 
  • How to map your organization’s culture to the model. 
  • What different cultures mean and generate useful ideas to support the transformation process. 

Intended Audience 

The course is aimed at the Agile Scrum Master. However, it’s equally relevant to the Product Owner’s role in the team. 

Prerequisites of the Certifications 

There are no specific pre-requisites to study this course 


We welcome all feedback and suggestions - please contact us at to let us know what you think. 


We’ve seen in a previous video, what an agile culture looks like and how this links to the Agile Values and Principles. 


Whilst the Schneider Cultural Model helps you identify where your organization is in general terms, there are a number of other useful tools that can help you drill down further to better understand your organization’s culture and identify specific ways you can develop it. 


A good way of understanding the risks to agile adoption is to get the team undertake an agile maturity assessment. This can be done at the local or organizational level and identifies the gaps between where they currently are and where they want to or need to be for optimal performance. 


There are several tools you can use to understand your agile maturity baseline and the barriers to agile development. They include the Agile Business Consortium’s Cultural DNA model and the Prince2 Agilometer from Axelos.   


The Agilometer 

The Axelos Agilometer is a very simple tool. It focuses on six factors to assess the level of agility and each factor is marked from 1 to 5 (five being the highest score). 


Let’s take a look at what these factors mean and what a ‘5’ looks like in each area: 


Acceptance of agile 

The highest score here means that all stakeholders are fully aware of the behaviors, concepts and techniques required to work in an agile way. Theyre happy to work in this way and understand the advantages that it brings. Important behaviors include: 

  • Everyone accepts the agile philosophy and understands how it differs from a traditional way of working; 

  • People have been trained to an appropriate level; and 

  • There are no blockers to using agile from any part of the organization. 


Advantageous environmental conditions 

A top score here means the overall working environment is very supportive of working in an agile way, people are assigned full-time to their work, are appropriately skilled, and have very efficient platforms and processes. Contractual frameworks and compliance considerations are not restrictive. Important behaviors include: 

  • People are experienced in their jobs; 

  • Third parties are comfortable working in an agile way; and 

  • Commercial and contractual details don’t inhibit the agile way of working. 


Ability to work iteratively and deliver incrementally 

A level 5 in this area means it’s easy to deliver benefit to the customer through regular, partial deliveries of the product. Its also easy to work iteratively and products can be refined by frequent formal and informal deliverables. Theres a desire to learn, experiment and explore – and fail – as well as an overarching feeling of ‘start small – think big’. Important behaviors include: 

  • The teams happy to experiment and be creative; 

  • Its understood that things are rarely right first time; and 

  • The project can be broken down into chunks that can deliver early benefits. 


Ease of communication 

The highest score here means that communication is easy across all of the parties. The environments ‘communication rich’ so theres a lot of face-to-face interaction, and other information like prototypes and models are readily available. Important behaviors include: 

  • High levels of visibility and transparency, like plans on walls and co-located workers; 

  • A lot of informal communication – face-to-face and over the phone; 

  • Limited formal reporting; and 

  • ‘Little and often’ is seen as a safe way of delivering staying in control. 


Level of collaboration 

A top score here means there’s a high level of collaboration, which is typified by a one-team culture and excellent internal and external working relationships. High levels of trust and a desire to be helpful exist. Important behaviors include: 

  • A partnership approach between the customer and the supplier; 

  • No ‘silos’ or ‘turf’; 

  • People work quickly, are helpful and look out for each other; and 

  • An acceptance that mistakes will happen because of informal communications. 


Flexibility of what is delivered 

A level 5 in this area means stakeholders fully accept that change is inevitable and needs to happen. They are comfortable with the role they need to play in prioritizing the work, and understand that the scope of the work and the quality criteria are flexible to protect the level of quality and the deadline for the outputs. Important behaviors include: 

  • It’s accepted that the detail will change, but significant changes need to be controlled; 

  • De-scoping and prioritization is a team exercise, driven by the customer; and 

  • Embracing change at the detail level produces more accurate products. 


The Agilometer is only a guide to help you make informed decisions. If you do use it then make sure you look at each factor in isolation rather than creating an average score across all areas to reach a conclusion. 


Other resources 

You can find a link to the Axelos Agilometer in the Change Agent Resources. 


You’ll also find a link to the Development Matrix for Agile Culture from the Agile Business Consortium. This will help you to understand your team’s culture using five stages and the seven DNA elements of cultural agility. And this is supported by the ‘Towards an Agile Culture’ guide which reflects the results of the Agile Business Consortium research and sets out a vision for what an Agile culture could mean for your organization. 


Take some time to look through these resources. You might find them helpful now if you’re actively involved in a business transformation process, or save them in case you need them in the future. 


About the Author
Learning Paths

Tony has over 20 years’ experience in Business Development, Business Change, Consulting, and Project/Program Management working with public, private, and third sector organizations.

He has helped organizations to design and create processes and procedures to align ways of working with corporate strategy. A highly motivated and detailed solution provider, utilizing a wide range of methods and frameworks to provide structure whilst promoting creativity and innovation.

As a confident and self-motivated professional with excellent communication skills, Tony is able to bring people together and get them working as a team quickly.

Tony is an Agile and Scrum trainer with a vast knowledge spanning IT Systems, Business Change, Program and Project Management. With excellent presentation skills and a solid background, he ensures that all clients gain maximum benefit from his training. He has successfully guided those new to the industry through their initial training, helped experienced staff as they progress in their careers, and worked at the director level advising on best use and practice, as well as tailoring courses to fulfil the exact needs of clients.