Challenges to Cultural Change

Rachel Walls (Opscode)
Velocity Culture Ballroom ABCD
Average rating: **...
(2.67, 3 ratings)

Cultural change is a challenge faced not just in technical teams or companies, but by any organization. The ubiquitousness of cultural change, though, doesn’t make it any easier. We’ll talk about some common issues and strategies for managing those issues and meeting challenges when trying to create cultural change within a technical organization, particularly one that is part of a larger enterprise.

The Harvard Business Review claims that “70% of all change initiatives fail”, and yet, change is everywhere. We as technology professionals exist in a landscape that changes constantly, hopefully bringing improvements in efficiency and effectiveness to our jobs. Initiating and cultivating successful cultural change while still meeting business goals can be a frustrating and exhausting endeavor, but there are methods of mitigating frustration as well as the risks involved.

We’ll look at some topics to think about when motivating a team to undergo a cultural shift:

  • Creating Consensus: Persuading stakeholders – above you, parallel to you, and below you – that a change is an improvement
  • Communicating the Desire to be Flexible: what goals lie at the end of the change process?
  • Process Management and Communication: creating a plan and executing on it in a way that doesn’t leave anyone behind
  • Team Work and Roles: how each person’s roles and responsibilities will shift and what outcomes are expected
  • Individual Comfort Level and Domains of Knowledge: not just training and education, but also what individuals consider to be their areas of particular expertise
  • Career Management: How to help your team face the new future, and creating opportunities for individual growth
Photo of Rachel Walls

Rachel Walls


Mandi Walls is a Senior Consultant with Opscode. Prior to joining Opscode in 2011, Mandi administered large web properties for AOL, including,, and She has a MS in Computer Science from The George Washington University and an MBA from UNC-Kenan Flagler.


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