WHAT we build is more important than HOW. For several years I've been helping business owners and executives share their vision on what our development teams should really focus on, slowly collecting my own toolkit of how to lead this organizational learning. While doing this work, I got more and more convinced that if the prerequisites for agile have not been met, there is no reason to try an agile transition--instead, improving the culture becomes the primary goal of the organization. My understanding of what it takes to make projects a financial success has been influenced by lean thinking as well as by the ideas of tribal leadership and agility. I've touched upon these topics briefly in this blog--but now there's a comprehensive field guide to how to get culture right on your own, written by colleague and mentor Dan Mezick. He reviews steps anyone can take without asking for permission from their bosses--steps that don't cost a dime but that will re-energize our meetings, our work, and help us produce results. I've already pre-ordered the Culture Game from http://newtechusa.net/about/pre-order-the-culture-game-book/ -- be one of the first people to get your hands on the book! His book shows how "gaming" our work (making goals & rules explicit, having an opt-in culture, and clear feedback) makes it more fun and effective. He introduces 16 practices that can be adopted one at a time or in bulk that will improve culture and morale for anyone you work with. This book is clear and accessible--it is designed for any business environment--and I highly recommend it!