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Chapter 53. Culture Change

When in Sydney, do as the Sidneysiders do. Years ago, when an American golden-arched fast-food chain first lodged themselves in Sydney's Pitt Street, they served up hamburgers Aussie-style, topped with beetroot pickles. More recently, American auto makers were dismayed that Japanese consumers were buying few American cars, while Japanese makes sold well in America. Of course, the cars Japan shipped to the States put the driver on the left, to fit with a highway culture where people drive on the right side of the road. To Japan, a small island country that drives to the left of the road, Detroit was trying to sell big American cars with steering wheels on the wrong side!

The simple lesson—that successful imports have to fit with the local culture—applies also to the import of new technology, tools, and techniques into software development organizations. It doesn't matter whether you are talking about software tools, conceptual tools, management tools, or marketing tools, if it is not adapted to fit the local culture, putting it into practice will be difficult.


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