How We Developed Candy Crush Soda Saga

Curious about how we developed Candy Crush Soda at King? Like any project we’ve had our challenges. We developed the game on a framework that had never been tested live, while programming in two languages simultaneously to support multiple operating systems. Adding to the challenge, we started working without a prototyped game idea, within an existing Saga format that comes with a long list of features that players are used to. The project, code-named Stritz, was born in the spring of 2013. We soft launched a year later, and hard launched in the fall of 2014. This is our story. 

stritz-for-life-tagline

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GraphWiki

My GraphWiki is now in a public beta :-)
http://www.graphwiki.com/

Download Crisp’s voting and hand signal posters

At Crisp we often find ourselves discussing various, sometimes though topics, in really big groups. The way we govern ourselves (no managers) and the fact that we make big decisions by consensus or concent have driven a need for us to figure out how to have efficient and effective discussions in big groups. A couple of hand signals have emerged over time that works as a great communication/collaboration tool for us when voting and discussing.

IMG_2400

You can download a PDF with all the hand signals here.
Once downloaded you can, if you want to, print them on A4 or A3 papers and use them yourself.

Here you can read a previous blog post from Peter Antman about Crisps concesus model (v2.1).

And here you can read about How we make decisions on dna.crisp.seour open-source site that describing how Crisp works and why. On the same site you can also read about the Hand signals shown below.

The hand signals are…

01 Up (Crisp Hand Signal)02 Sideways  (Crisp Hand Signal)03 Down (Crisp Hand Signal)04 Stand Aside (Crisp Hand Signal)05 Want to speak (Crisp Hand Signal)06 Facts (Crisp Hand Signal)07 Agree (Crisp Hand Signal)

Programming with kids & co-speaking with my son :)

Yesterday me and Dave (11 yrs) spoke together for the first time! We did a public talk at Spotify about how to help kids learn to program. We’ve been experimenting a lot with that in my family (4 kids to experiment with… muahahaha), and wanted to share some learnings. Worked out better than we could have hoped, considering all the risky tech demos and live coding involved :)

Shared the stage with teacher Frida Monsén who talked about how to get this kind of stuff into schools. Thanks Helena Hjertén for organizing this, and Spotify for hosting & sponsoring. Here’s an article in Computer Sweden about this event and our little “mod club”.

Here are the slides! They are in Swedish though. Might do an English version of this talk some day :)

Dave on Stage

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A3 problem solving template – now in Google Doc!

I’ve finally gotten around to porting the A3 template to Google Doc. Who wants to send around MS Word docs and PDFs? Bah. Put the doc in the cloud instead, where everyone can see and edit together. Or print the template and do it by hand.

Curious about A3 problem solving? See the FAQ.

Here’s a direct link to the template.

A3 template

Enjoy!

New book in the writing: Toolbox for the Agile Coach – Visualization Examples

CoverA couple of weeks ago I published my new book ”Toolbox for the Agile Coach – Visualization Examples (How great teams visualize their work)” even though it’s still very much a work in progress.

The book can be found here.

I’ve made it public, thanks to persuasion from my colleague Hans Brattberg. I decided to try out Google Slides to make it easily accessible and to provide a simple way to give feedback. That turned out to be a great decision. The response has been overwhelming. There are at any given point 5-15 people reading the book, many of which provide great feedback, point out spelling correction and provides generous suggestion for more examples.

Examples

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Lean Documentation

My amateur research has given me the insight that the three most important things for greater effectiveness and good quality are knowledge, knowledge and knowledge. Knowledge is best acquired through a dialog but a dialog is only efficient if it includes someone with knowledge. Unfortunately, there are situations when such a person is not around.

This article will help you write effective and useful documentation for those situations where documentation is the only available source of knowledge.

Read the full article at InfoQ

How to peel off Post-its

Having trouble with curled Post-its that won’t stick to the wall? Well, it could be due to bad glue or that you peel them off wrong. I would guess it’s the latter. Might feel like a silly blog post to write, but I found myself teaching people the technique of peeling Post-its quite frequently.

It’s very simply. Grab the top Post-it with a firm grip, and pull it straight down.
Not to the side. Not up.
Straight down.

With practice comes mastery – someone probably said.

How to peel a post-it

Side note: Some colleagues argue that it is easier to place the left-hand thumb in the middle of the pack (on the second Post-it) instead of on the side of the deck. I guess you need to try to see what works best for you :-)

The Sprint Burndown is dead, long live Confidence Smileys

I’ve met very few teams that successfully found a valuable and useful way to update and use a Sprint Burndown. The Sprint Burndown can be tedious to update (if done manually), and doesn’t seem to trigger the discussions in the Scrum team it is designed for. Even to agree on a unit causes confusion (hours, tasks, finished User Stories?).

2015-04-01 11.44.29

But don’t despair; let me introduce you to Confidence Smileys. Confidence Smileys provide a simple, honest, transparent and overview-friendly tool for the team to visualize how confident a team is that they will be able to finish each User Story by the end of the sprint. The can replace the need for a Sprint Brundown (or Sprint Burnup), or function as a complement.

Confidence Smileys_002

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Lean Startup

Du har en idé om en tjänst.
Hur kan du snabbast och enklast verifiera att någon vill använda den?
Det är vad Lean Start-up handlar om.

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A Scrum Product Owner Checklist as a mind map

If you wonder what a Scrum Product Owner need to do, here’s the checklist (in form of a mind map) for you!

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Too small for a user story – bugs, fixes and support

Some things are too small for the overhead of a user story, still they must be handled during the sprint effectively. I suggest a small taxonomy to classify them and also what to do with them.

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Slides from JDays

I talked about some overlooked (and quite new) features of JUnit at JDays in Gotherburg. My presentation was a tour that started with boring example tests, and then proceeded through parameterized tests, theory tests, and generative testing. At the end of this tour, I spoke about fundamental, yet again overlooked, testing techniques such as finding single mode faults and double mode faults, and how these techniques can be combined with parameterized testing and theories. Here are the slides.

 

7 Rules on Code Readability

What makes good code? Many things but whatever the qualities are, readability is a cornerstone.  If you can’t read the code, you can’t fix it. So how do you write readable code? I’ll give you my view but it’s like books, what I find enjoyable may be different from you.

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Something Agile Lean Something – Posters on agile and lean concepts and techniques

A couple of weeks ago I started a new hobby. I’ve found a way to combine teaching agile and lean with creativity, art, Lego and Star Wars. Now I love spending time slowly putting Lego blocks together to create scenes. One by one. Very meditative and creative :-) The scenes I build I then use for illustrating different concepts and techniques from agile and lean in the format of posters.

This is the latest poster – #5 MVP Flavors.#5 - MVP Flavors

If you like it, you can find more here. Clicking the thumbnails on the site will give you high-resolution images that you can download.

1544346_10152571030156249_4360171987474261740_nYou can put print them and put them up on your team’s wall like a friend of mine has done.

Thanks Jörgen Thelin for the photo :-)

Learning Lego Serious Play

Three months ago I stumbled upon a question which needed an anwer: Could Lego be used for business strategy development? I just had to go to London to find out the answer.

With a group of 12 I spent the full weekend.. building Lego! When was the last time I did that? (hint: some 30 years ago..). The real interesting part is of course the stories we tell about the models. Each time we do, the team moves closer towards a shared understanding and also generate new insights. That’s cool!

Below: Team members walking through our shared model.

lsp_walkingthroughmodels

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Guest blog by Anders Ramsay – Finding Agile UX Nirvana with the One-Feature Release

This is a guest post from veteran Agile UX coach Anders Ramsay who’ll be visiting Crisp in March.

In a traditional UX practice, there tends to be a strong focus on whole product design.  In other words, we want to integrate all the features of a product into a unified and coherent experience, before we can consider the design work to be done.

Big Design Up-Front is like growing a tree in a “wireframe nursery” before planting it in the real world of working software.

But if you are taking this approach in designing the user experience, and you’re also part of an Agile team, then that might be a major reason why you’re struggling to integrate your UX practice into an Agile model. read more »

Programming with kids using LearnToMod and Minecraft

I’ve spent years experimenting with how to teach kids programming, mostly using Scratch. But now we’ve found a new favorite: LearnToMod! Kids love Minecraft, and LearnToMod is entirely based on Minecraft, so it’s a perfect match!

We now do a Mod Club every Saturday evening, my older kids (9 & 11 years old) and some of their friends. It’s basically a programming school based on LearnToMod and Minecraft programming. Reeeeaaaally fun, the kids go wild (OK, me too)! AND they learn lots while doing it. To them it’s “magic powers”, not “programming skills”.

I made a 5 minute video showing how it works:

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Crisp DNA is now open source!

Crisp DNA screenshot

Crisp DNA screenshot

We get a lot of questions about how Crisp works and why, especially from other consultants looking to create something similar. After many years of experimenting we’ve converged on a model that works well, basically the sweet spot between being an independent consultant and being an employee. So we decided to open source it.

In January 2015, at Crisp Hack Summit 10, Mats Henricsson, Henrik Kniberg and Max Wenzin huddled up and created the first version of the open-sourced Crisp DNA. It is published at http://dna.crisp.se/

The Crisp DNA is version controlled using Git and both Crisp DNA repository and Crisp DNA web site is hosted at GitHub using GitHub Pages. The web site is a bunch of static web pages and images that is generated from Markdown and Textile files using Jekyll. This is the same setup that GitHub themselves use.

By using open, version-control friendly formats such as Markdown and Textile, we hope to benefit from the open source community which can fork our model, make changes and perhaps suggest improvements. This can actually change how Crisp works!

The Power of Reframing

How Powerful is Reframing?
I recently returned from Seattle, where I held a Coaching Beyond the Team workshop for Agile Coaches, ScrumMasters, Team Leads, and Managers. Among the many topics covered, we explored how reframing negative labels can improve relationships and open up new possibilities.
There’s one particular story I want to share with you, as an example of how powerful reframing can be.
One of our participants had a particularly difficult time  trying to reframe the person she most needed work with.  She was stuck.  “This guy is a bully,” she declared. “I can’t make that positive, not even neutral.”
Problem is, once someone has been labeled as a bully, you’ve pretty much limited your own responses to fight or flight. “Tell me what he does,” I prompted.

Agile Maintenance

Traditionally IT-systems and products are developed in a project. Once developed, it is deployed and handed off to the maintenance organisation. But the new companies that start out with an agile way of working does not have these maintenance organisations. How do they do it? Is there no Maintenance in Agile?

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Föreläsning om Evolving Design på Cap & Design Live

För ca en månad sedan föreläste jag tillsammans med John Ekman, Chief Conversionista, om Evolving Design på eventet Cap & Design Live.

I den 250 personer stora publiken på vackra Grand Hotel i Stockholm satt det designers och UXare som jobbar inhouse. John berättade om 5 designmisstag han irriterar sig på, och jag om hur man kan skapa design som ger bra konvertering med hjälp av Agil och Lean UX-metodik och samarbete mellan olika roller. Jag avslutade föreläsningen med en så kallad “survey the room” där jag bad alla i publiken ställa sig upp och sedan sätta sig ner vart efter jag tände nya påståenden. Om dom gör det jag påstod i sitt arbete i dag fick dom stå kvar. Efter 5 påstående stod ett fåtal människor fortfarande upp, två av dom på främre raden – och dom belönades med en påse praliner :) Det var både ett kul sätt att aktivera publiken, samt att se på vilken nivå stora delar av våda designers och UXare jobbar i dag.

Här är resultatet av utvärderingen från deltagarna
resultat-mia-live-sthlm

I början av mars föreläser jag och John igen på Cap & Design Live, fast då i Göteborg. Om jag får önska något, så är det ett ännu högre utvärderingsresultat – och fler som står upp i slutet av presentationen :)

Här är slidsen från föreläsningen

Kickstart workshops with energizing exercises

Do participants fade away in a long “zzz..”  or the perfect time to update yourself on what your friends are doing on FB? No more!

Check out the Energizer bible for nifty tricks for keeping up the energy level during workshops and trainings.

The energizer bible

The House of Agile – A visualisation of the core of Agile

What is Agile, actually?
Have you ever asked yourself the question, ”what is Agile”? Ever been asked the question and found yourself looking for the easy answer? The true answer is of course that Agile is the Agile manifesto but do you know anybody who can recite the manifesto just out of his or her head? When asking what is Agle, it’s more likely you will get the answer that Agile is about being flexible or about high efficiency. Some will say Agile is about having a Scrum Master, daily stand-up meetings and notes on a white board. I think Agile is much more than that and in this post I will tell you the answer, the short answer, I have found after many years looking.

Is it important to know what Agile actually is? Yes, of course. If you don’t know, how can you know in which direction to change your way of working when you decide to go Agile. By the way, Agile is a direction how to improve your way of working, not a place or a fixed description of how to work.

To make Agile easy to understand I will borrow a symbol from Lean, the house

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Att mäta användarens upplevelse

En av principerna från Lean Startup handlar om att kontinuerligt utvärdera det man tar fram för att veta att det man gör är rätt. Först bygger man något, sedan mäter man det och till sist utvärderar man mätningen för att förstå och lära sig – Build, Measure, Learn.

Build Measure Learn loop från Lean Startup

Vissa saker kan te sig enkla att mäta, andra omöjliga. Men till skillnad från att allt inte kan torktumlas, så kan allt mätas, till och med användarens upplevelse.

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A Decade of Agile, A – F

A decade of agile boils down to theses simple fundamentals and steps for me.

A.
Ask: do you need to improve as an organization?
Only go forward if your sincere answer is yes.
Ask everyone: Do you want to improve? Same procedure.
Make sure you will fail (and win) regularly by commitment (plan/hypotheses) and checkpoints.

B.
Work with just a few things at a time.
Work with small things.
There are NO exceptions to this. This is a LAW.

C.
Build quality in. No exceptions here either. Also a LAW.

D.
Focus on customer value
This is optional, but you might be out of business quickly.

E.
There are multiple ways to achieve this. You are probably stupid if you do not test Scrum, since it’s a great litmus test if you actually get A – D as an organization.

F.
And yes. There are people too.

Agila kontrakt och effektstyrning – Slides från frukostföreläsning för It-chefer

I morse höll vi (Mia och Mattias) ett lyckat föredrag för morgonpigga IT-chefer och andra som hade kommit till Crisp för att lära sig lite mer om hur man kan använda Agila kontrakt för att förbättra beställningar, relationer och leverera produkter och tjänster som skapar önskvärda effekter.

Föreläsningen var ett smakprov på vad vi kommer att gå igenom på kursen “Certifierad Agil Beställare” i mars 2015. Boka din plats nu för att lära dig mer.

Vi tror att många stora företag och framför allt myndigheter har mycket att vinna på att upphandla på effekt i stället för fast scope. Vi påvisade nyttan med att fokusera på effekt och gav 5 tips på hur man kan säkerställa att rätt produkt byggs och att man uppnår önskade effekter. Vi visade också på vad forskningen säger om sambandet mellan goda relationer och samarbete och bra leveranser, samt även hur man inom LOU med hjälp av Agila kontrakt även kan undvika att beställa en lösning, man kan istället tillsammans med leverantören ta reda på vad man behöver bygga och beställa på effekt. Samt självklart ett smakprov på vilka Agila kontrakt som finns i dag.

Frukostföreläsning för IT chefer  om Agila kontrakt
Vår förhoppning är att den här kursen ska ge beställare och leverantörer bättre relationer och större gemensam förståelse för processen. Vilken kan resultera i bättre produkter som skapar mer effekt för lägre kostnad. Har man gått kursen så ska man klara av att hålla en upphandling själv utan att ta hjälp av upphandlingskonsulter.

Missade du föreläsningen?
Vi planerar att hålla samma föreläsning igen i januari vid två tillfällen i samarbete med två olika webbyråer, för deras kunder. Hör av er om ni är intresserade att komma på någon av dom, eller om ni vill att vi kommer och föreläser för era kunder.

Focus. Slides from my keynote at BrewingAgile, Gothenburg

Here are the slides from my keynote “Focus” at BrewingAgile Gotheburg. It was about how to achieve more by working less.

Feel free to reuse :)

You are SAFe with me

evil_coach_feeling_safe

In my quest to expand my growing Evil Empire (oh you call it a company? you can’t handle the truth…)  I finally found the right tool for the job. How long haven’t I been searching for a tool to finally bash in the heads of our obnoxious Agile people? The same ignorant hamsters who never seem to understand their own good (me!). Well, I finally found it. It’s SAFe. The guy who invented that name is a genious! read more »

The impact on quality and predictability of Agile and XP

It’s always nice to look at real data and these two studies are worth their read.

  • “Impact of Agile” from Rally compares the effect of WIP and estimation techniques on productivity and quality.
  • “The State of Developer Productivity” by Rebel labs examines the effect of XP style techniques on quality and predictability.

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