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Upcoming exciting seminars and events from Japan Intercultural Consulting.

Aug 21, 2019
1:30 PM - 4:30 PM
International House of Japan 5-11-16 Roppongi Minato-ku Tokyo, 106-0032

This event will be held in Japanese.


When trying to adopt methods like Agile and DevOps from abroad, Japanese organizations tend to focus on the technical aspects, in other words the specific techniques and practices. Japanese tend to be very good at learning techniques and practices well, due to their attention to detail, thoroughness, and careful analysis. However, Agile and DevOps are more than just a set of technical aspects – they are a mindset. In order to successfully adopt Agile and DevOps, it is also necessary to understand the mindset, and to transform the culture of the company to support this mindset.

In order successfully adopt Agile and DevOps, Japanese organizations need to display eight distinct habits. They might have these habits already, or they may start to do them as part of the Agile and DevOps adoption process. These habits shape and define the culture of the company. This workshop will look at each one in detail.

Be Lazy
• Do the least amount of effort needed to achieve the desired result.
• Eliminate unnecessary and non-value-added work, including over-preparing.
• Strive for simplicity.
• Prioritize.
• Focus on output and productivity (rather than time or effort spent)
• Discourage long working hours.
• Meetings are efficient and productive.

Comfort with risks and mistakes
• Risk-taking is encouraged.
• Mistakes are not harshly criticized or punished.
• Attitude of learning from mistakes.
• “Fail fast” approach.
• Experimentation is encouraged.
• Different ways of doing things are accepted, rather than requiring that everyone always use the “traditional” or “standard” approach.
• Environment is free from blaming and fear.

Comfort with uncertainty
• Management does not expect detailed plans.
• Budgeting and reporting processes do not require exact prediction of outcomes.
• Internal procedures have flexibility to accept changes in plans and emphases.
• Willing to try new things without prior analysis of every possible problem.
• Systems and processes are flexible and accept multiple, frequent changes.
• Changes are made dynamically, based on learnings.

Servant leadership
• Managers focus on supporting teams rather than telling them what to do.
• Micro-management is discouraged.
• Delegation is emphasized.
• Managers help remove obstacles for the team.
• Managers have good listening and feedback skills.
• Managers create a positive atmosphere by expressing appreciation. Employee efforts are recognized, not taken for granted.
• Managers avoid overly critical or demanding statements that make employees nervous.
• No “playing managers.”

Self-sufficient teams
• The team feels comfortable making decisions on its own, without having to go to the manager with every question.
• The team manages its work (allocation, reallocation, estimation, re-estimation, delivery, and rework) as a group. It doesn’t wait for direction from the leader.
• There is a strong team spirit, including with SIers and contractors.
• Good communication within the team.
• The team periodically reflects on how well it is working together, and makes adjustments where needed.

Trust in employees
• Employees are treated as responsible adults.
• Bureaucracy, paperwork, and unnecessary rules are minimized.
• Approval processes are simplified/streamlined.
• Company approach is Theory Y (seizensetsu) rather than Theory X (seiakusetsu).

Individual confidence
• Each person views themselves as an important member of the team.
• Each person views themselves as a professional.
• Each person has a sense of independence about one’s own work.
• Everyone feels comfortable saying “I don’t know”.
• People are willing to help others even if they are not an expert in the topic.
• Each person feels comfortable doing things in the way they think is best, rather than feeling that they must do things the way that other people do them or that they have been done before.

Balance of power
• Team members feel comfortable acting on their own, rather than waiting for direction from a leader
• Collaborative relationships with customers and other parts of the organization, based on mutual respect
• All team members treated as equals, and think of themselves as equals
• No orders, no power harassment

It goes without saying that the above-described habits are very different from the typical culture in most Japanese companies. In order to achieve these habits, most Japanese companies will need to make efforts focused at changing their corporate culture. This kind of culture change effort can be the key to successful adoption of Agile and DevOps in Japanese organizations.

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