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How My Agile Company Prioritizes Culture

Sustaining a vibrant culture demands continuous effort and attention in an ever-evolving business climate.

Similar to the aging process of fine wine, a company’s culture develops and matures over time, flourishing under optimal conditions. Done right, that resilient culture will foster employee satisfaction and raise retention.

When culture decays, however, the result can be catastrophic. A consistent drumbeat of negative company reviews can compound over time, quietly eroding this once-prized culture, impeding recruitment efforts, and casting shadows on brand reputation. It’s not merely about isolated feedback; it’s the cumulative effect that demands attention. Recent surveys reveal that over half of job seekers would rethink their applications after encountering ongoing negative feedback, whether in company ratings or CEO reviews on platforms like Glassdoor.

This underscores the indispensable role of consistent and purposeful leadership. It’s about more than just preventing a gradual culture decline; it’s about adapting to the dynamic business landscape with foresight. Consider companies like X (formerly Twitter), once celebrated for their culture, now grappling with challenges stemming from conflicting work ideologies and methods, compounded by various negative articles detailing an increasingly strained professional environment.

At Planview, we actively nurture our company culture, adhering steadfastly to Agile principles. We understand that sustaining a vibrant culture demands continuous effort and attention in this ever-evolving business environment.

Our approach to people

In most organizations, people are the most valuable resource. From this perspective, I strongly believe that culture derives its shape from the purpose, mission and the values a company champions to bring its vision to life.

Prioritizing people and interactions over tools and processes stands as a fundamental tenet of Agile. For example, one of our core values is “We Build Together.” This means that we grow and learn together, and we have each other’s backs when things don’t go to plan. Teams can spend an entire quarter building out a strategy only for it to be outdated before they can execute. It is critical to ensure teams know how to be Agile and build together and that only comes from communication and teamwork.

I’ve found that an organization that remains motivated, curious and productive begets an environment where people feel they can genuinely relax and recharge during their off-hours. We’ve implemented quarterly “Unplug Days” to not only promote but strongly endorse disengagement and personal rejuvenation. Leading by example, our executives set the tone for all employees and promote collective restoration. Consider this example from Planview Chief Product Officer Louise K. Allen who wrote an article for Inc. about why leaders need to model work-life balance.

Additionally, our global “Force For Good” events remain focused on giving back to local communities. Volunteering as a unified team enhances a sense of belonging among teams and showcases the tangible impact they make. These initiatives play a pivotal role in fortifying our company culture.

Our approach to getting work done

Effectiveness and confidence in a team’s ability to do their work significantly shapes our company culture at Planview. The Planview leadership team’s operational approach tangibly influences this culture. One pivotal strategy involves ensuring top-level clarity and consistent communication by applying several goals of an Agile organization, including:

• Gain alignment between strategy and outcomes

• Break down silos

• Improve time-to-market

• Respond to market-changes, new competition, or customer needs

• Improve morale and engagement

This not only guides teams in their tasks but empowers them to excel, knowing precisely what is expected and how their work drives impact.

Furthermore, teams across the business frequently convene to realign their strategy with our overarching mission—building the Future of Connected Work. Data-driven decisions guide our focus on market impact. Any strategic pivots are swiftly cascaded down, in line with Agile principles advocating frequent communication. Complete visibility into each team’s actions empowers them to design their sequences of deliverables, aligning with our company-level Objectives and Key Results (OKRs).

The goal is to foster a shared understanding of individual contributions, their connections across teams, alignment with strategic priorities, and the impact on our objectives. This crystalline clarity has fostered remarkable connectedness and resilience among our teams. Emphasizing outcomes over activities, our OKRs help us navigate. If teams face hurdles in reaching their desired outcomes, we pivot to ensure they are on the right path. Our success is measured by specific outcomes, steering away from a focus on activities, as we progress together.

How it all adds up

In recent years, following several acquisitions, our organization encountered challenges that called for a crucial operational overhaul. Grounded in our Agile principles that value both people and operational efficiency, we discovered one effective method to facilitate this transition. By elevating the frequency of all-hands meetings from every quarter to every six weeks, incorporating extended Q&A sessions, and orchestrating in-person micro-watch parties across our global offices, we’ve fostered and strengthened connections, both new and existing, throughout our business.

It takes work to build out an internal comms arm and at times can be deprioritized for other high-impact initiatives. An Economist Impact survey, the research arm of the Economist, found that while 80% of executives acknowledge the need to enhance internal communication, only 48% prioritize two-way communication within the company, highlighting a notable area for improvement.

Agility, prioritizing people, and working efficiently as one team are the building blocks for a healthy company culture, ensuring teams stay plugged in and motivated. A sustained successful company culture will evolve over time, but with attention and care, it will always prove to be an invaluable investment.


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