Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast!


    by Jim Johnson

 Culture also eats tools for lunch and processes for dinner. After looking at over 120,000 software projects I have come to the conclusion there is only one thing that matters between successful projects and non-successful projects.  The one thing is a good culture.  PM tools and processes may actually cover up a bad culture and fool you, but over the long run they will only increase your costs, reduce the value of project investments and decrease overall project performance. The bad news is changing to a good culture is hard and most people do not know how to change from poor  to a highly skilled culture. The good news is that a good culture is based on good relationship skills and habits. 

Good culture skills and habits can be acquired and constantly improved. While it might take time, gaining these skills does not cost a lot of money and you will start to see improvements in a very short time period. The other good news is you do not have to buy or change your tools or change your current process. Good culture is made up of relationship skills and habits. Good culture skills and habits are often referred to as emotional intelligence. If you want to improve your culture, you need to improve and practice these emotional intelligent skills and become emotionally mature as an organization.  

Good culture has ten principles that an organization can adopt. We have identified the 50 most important skills centered on these10 principles or factors of success. The Standish Group has researched and tested hundreds of skills, personality traits and habits to provide your organization with the 50 most important skills needed to have a good culture. Backing up these 50 skills are exercises and workgroups to create a happier and more productive project environment.  

In order for us to help you improve your culture you will be required to do our Project Resolution Benchmark as a first step.  The Project Resolution Benchmark will indicate the areas that will provide the most benefit to improve and build on. As organization performs the exercises and work groups associated in improving the skills and habits, the culture will improve.  Most of the exercises and work groups are either free or have a small fee for workbooks and educational material.  On the other hand, if you need more help Standish advisors are available at very reasonable fee. One of the major benefits from having a good culture is it does not need a lot of oversight, expensive tools and layers of management. In other words, a good culture has a high return of investment. 

Take your first step to a better culture. Improve your culture and you will improve project success and value. You can improve your culture through our Project Resolution Benchmark. To find out more go here:



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Subject Matter

Emotional Maturity

About the Author:


Jim Johnson

Jim Johnson is a professor at the Antwerp Management School and the founder and chairman of The Standish Group. He has been professionally involved in the computer industry for over 40 years and has a long list of published books, papers, articles and speeches. He has a combination of technical, marketing, and research achievements focused on mission-critical applications and technology. He is best known for his research on project performance and early recognizing technology trends. Jim is a pioneer of modern research techniques and continues to advance in the research industry through case-based analytical technology.

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