The Ship – who will you be?

The Ship

For years I was hearing an increasing murmur and rumours about some kind of problem with the ship. Finally I decided to take a closer look, went up to deck, leaned out and looked down, and…. oh sh*t…. this ship is sinking! It’s tilting, some cabins are already flooded, with people frantically crowding the hallways and staircases trying to get to higher deck. It’s happening slowly, very slowly. In fact, the ship won’t be completely sunk during my lifetime probably. But my kids, and grandkids…. Darn!

So what’s going on here? I start roaming around, talking to people. read more »

Trading control for great products – the Telia TV team example

Adapting to accelerating change

In a world where the speed of change seems to accelerate almost exponentially, it is only natural that an organization’s way of working must be constantly challenged and improved – especially in the highly competitive media business.

This text, which was inspired by winning an award (we will return to that), is the outcome of a joint effort between Michael Göthe, Agile Coach at Crisp, and Jens Abrahamsson, Agile Coach at Telia Company’s TV & Media Backend department. In it, we describe parts of the always-ongoing journey towards a more lean and agile way of working at the Telia TV team.

As always when looking back at a complex change process it is not possible to copy what we did but our intention is to share useful learnings, practices, and tools that can inspire you on your change journey, in your context.

Jens at Telia TV Team Common (Big-room) Planning

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Codekvast soon available as a Heroku add-on

Codekvast is a tool for detecting Truly Dead Code in your Java application.

Truly Dead Code is code that is in production, but has not been used for a significant time.

Codekvast has been lurking in the spare-time realm for too long. Now the project has eventually been granted some full-time development effort, with the initial goal of being made available as a Heroku Add-on.

The alpha test period is just about to start. For this to happen we need YOU!

Read more about how to become a Heroko add-on alpha tester here.

TL;DR Participant must be a Heroku-app written in Java/Gradle, request invite by mailing codekvast-support@hit.se.

 

Friendly Guide to Climate Change (and what you can do about it)

I’ve spent ALOT of time the past few months trying to understand climate change and global warming, and how to effectively contribute. I’ve dug through 1000-page scientific reports, talked to experts, and basically tried to digest as much information as possible. I was surprised by how little I knew before. I’m convinced that, the more people who really understand the problem, the more effectively we’ll be able to solve it (or at least mitigate it).

So here’s a short animated video summarizing the whole issue. The problem, the consequence, the root cause, the solutions, and what you can do to help. All packaged in a fun and easy-to-digest way, same style as my other videos about Spotify Engineering Culture and Agile Product Ownership. The video is all based on solid scientific references, not speculation or rumours.

Please help spread it as widely as possible! Link to this blog post, or the youtube link: https://youtu.be/3CM_KkDuzGQ

I hope this video will inspire many people to make small changes, and a few people to make big changes. Who knows, maybe the next young Elon Musk is out there somewhere, just waiting for the spark of inspiration 🙂

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How to facilitate a lightweight project retrospective

room-setupLarge group retrospectives are long, large, unwieldy facilitations. So much so that they’re typically done only at the end of a project. Holding a 1-2 day retro every few weeks for a large project is neither practical nor responsible, but continually improving the project is also important.  So, how do you hold light-weight retrospectives for large groups, while making sure that you:

  • Have a common understanding
  • Identify issues and strengths
  • Reach a group agreement on action points
  • Ensure that the group feels that they received a high return on time invested

This retrospective combines different techniques and technologies to achieve these results. read more »

Constellation retrospective

constellationThis is a strong retrospective for bringing issues up to the surface. Instead of just one person expressing an issue as a positive or a negative, the whole team feedbacks about the importance of the issue. The team then decides which issues to tackle. The retrospective also exposes issues where there is not common view, and highlights areas of alignment. It also allows the team to ask tough questions in a safe environment. read more »

CYNEFIN på svenska



Har nött och blött en översättning av CYNEFIN på svenska. Så här ser det ut just nu:

cynefin_svenska

Kom gärna med förslag på förbättringar!

New Jimmy Cards in the making – Blue and Black Deck

Back in 2013 I created a deck of cards with questions for the agile team, called “Jimmy Cards”. The questions on the cards were designed to ignite exciting discussion for teams to get to know each other and grow as a team.

I’ve received so much great feedback and appreciation over the years since. This feedback inspired me to create two more decks, the Black Deck and the Blue Deck. The Black Deck is for mature agile teams. The Blue Deck for leadership teams.

These have been in the working for over a year now but now I feel it’s time I wrap up my work and print them. I’m however not confident on the level of quality just yet, so this blog is a plead for help.

Black and Blue Deck

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What makes your team tick

Screen Shot 2017-04-13 at 16.31.45

You have a team member who has a pressing issue. It’s the single most important thing that they need to resolve. They explain the problem to a coworker, suggest a solution and ask for support… and all they get is a tepid response. This is a situation that repeats itself across workplaces every day. There are many reasons why people refrain from helping. They might not have the competence, they might disagree with the solution/problem or maybe they just don’t have the time. But what happens when they have the competence, agree with the assessment and could easily make time, but choose not to? Why don’t they? How do you help your team navigate these situations?

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The different roles in an agile team

When creating a team meant to work in an agile setting, most people remember that there are supposed to be more people in it than developers. They might skim through the Scrum Guide and fill the roles of Product Owner and Scrum Master. What few do is to think about what other roles that are really needed. read more »

My Testing Philosophy

Testing is a topic covered with mysteries and misunderstandings. Some people believe that testing is simply a verification of a specification. Others rely on a false assumption that everything can be automated and there is no need involving test engineer into anything else than writing automated scripts. Many think that quality is a responsibility of only a few folks in the company and should not bother the rest.

My views are different to the ones stated above, as my expectations on testing are alike to other engineering disciplines, for example, programming.

On high level I am following 3 main principles:

  1. Testing is a creative activity.
  2. What can be automated should be automated.
  3. Quality is everyone’s responsibility.

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Effective carbon offsetting – what we’ve learned and what we’re doing

Flying causes global warming. That sucks. But neverthless, we fly sometimes. Conferences, vacations, business trips. So what can we do? Well, here’s a simple rule of thumb:

  1. Fly as little as possible. Reduce the frequency & distance. Consider train for shorter trips.
  2. When you do fly, make sure you carbon offset. From wikipedia: “A carbon offset is a reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide or greenhouse gases made in order to compensate for or to offset an emission made elsewhere.”

The obvious question then is – HOW do you carbon offset? I was surprised when I dug into it.  “Traditional” carbon offsetting (buying emission credits and things like that) seems pretty useless! I couldn’t find any credible evidence that it makes a real difference! Almost like a scam.

So is there another way to carbon offset? Yes! This chart summarizes some of what I’ve learned so far. Read on for details. Got any more suggestions? Add comments. But please quantify.

(see this spreadsheet for the underlying numbers) read more »

Security Test-Driven Development – Spreading the STDD-virus

Agile development with short release cycles have been here for a while now. Most of us want fast feedback loops and many even Continuous Delivery with changes in production software everyday. However, most of us also want secure software and the question is: Can security engineering keep up the pace? A fast feedback that your production website has been hacked is not so nice.

Security is a quality attribute of your software, just like performance. If you don’t want to be surprised by bad performance in production, what do you do? You test and design for it of course and you preferably do so continuously from the start.

In my experience, the same however cannot be said of security. It is very often relegated to a once a year penetration-test activity. Not really an agile way of working is it? Not a secure one either since untested software is released as often as everyday. There must be a better way of working which allows us to both work in an agile way and to verify security on the way.

In the security field people like Gary McGraw have long been advocating ways of “Building Security In”. The Microsoft MVP Troy Hunt also proposes that you should “Hack yourself first”, instead of just waiting for the pentesters. Shouldn’t it be possible to weave these security activities into the process the same way as it is possible with normal testing activities using TDD? Indeed I, as well others believe it is so. Let’s look at how small extensions to an agile process can work in this direction.

Extending Sprint planning to deal with security

To start off you must first know what the requirements are. In a normal agile project this is done by eliciting User Stories from the customer or the Product Owner.

Let’s take an example of an online e-Commerce site. A User Story might be “As a customer I want to be able to add a review of a product so that information about products can be shared between customers”.

This works very well for traditional functional requirements, but for non-functional requirements a little extra thought is needed. In the case of security requirements it is often useful to state a requirement in a scenario that should NOT happen. In our case we shall call these scenarios “Abuser Stories”. These stories are non-technical descriptions of bad things you want to make sure you avoid. An Abuser story for this site might be:

“An attacker uses the Review Product-function to spread malicious Javascript”. Another might be: “An attacker abuses the Review Product-function to gain unlimited access to the database”.
A Product Owner might not be able to come up with these stories himself, but might need the help of a security engineer to help him with finding these threat scenarios.

SecurityTesting
read more »

The Training Deck – how to onboard a new team member faster

There will always be a productivity dip for the team when a new member joins. The question is not if it is going to happen, but how much will productivity dip and for how long. Imagine if you could onboard new team members with a minimum of productivity loss.

Training Deck

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Slides from “Passion for projects 2017”

Today I met a crowd I do not bump in to all that often; project managers. I decided to share insights from Agile projects, stretching from Hospitals to Digitilization, how they simplified and speeded up their pre-studies. Learning how to do so well, helps avoiding the “we have to speed up implementation, to make up for lost time” syndrome.

Yes, the “black window” backwards bike, was there too 🙂

black_widow_backwards_bike_small

Slides in english, are available here.

Slides in swedish, are available here.

 

 

Doing Scrum with Multiple Teams: Comparing Scaling Frameworks

Our article about Scaled Scrum has been published on InfoQ. In the article we describe the basics of LeSS, SAFe, and  Scrum@Scale and show the similarities and differences between them

You find the article about Scaled Scrum at InfoQ.

Enjoy!

Nivåer av ledarskap

Efter ha läst boken “Leadership Agility” av Bill Joiner och Stephen Josephs har mina verktyg att hantera utmanande situationer i min coaching utökats.

Ledarskap kopplad till Piagets utvecklingsteori

Underlaget till boken “Leadership Agility” är mångårig forskning kring ledarskap kopplad till Piagets utvecklingsteori.
Enligt den genomgår barnet och sedan den unge vuxne ett antal mognadssteg och man kan också klassificera ledarskap utifrån var individen är i denna mognadsprocess.  För mig har det varit och är en modell som jag har stor nytta av i min coaching. 

read more »

The iZettle Example: Decentralized Tech Development In Practice (Case Study)

Don’t stand in the way of great employees.
That’s one of the operational mantras that guide the finance technology company iZettle.
Two others are “Keep the startup spirit strong” and “Stay adaptable to changing market needs.”
In this blog post, we share some of the things we are implementing and tweaking at iZettle to keep producing great results and attracting in-demand, talented developers. My role has been to assist the tech development organization in making this work.
(Another blog post coming soon will cover the transformation of making the whole company agile, while this post focus on the practices that are put in place to keep a high performing, decentralized tech development organization at iZettle.)
Let’s begin by facing the reality of fast-growing startups.

DevOps

The organizational challenges for most fast-growing startups
Most startups want a flat organization to keep their entrepreneurial juices flowing, but when new employees join in a steady stream there eventually comes the point where the founders or upper management feel overwhelmed by chaos.
Things get confusing.
Employees aren’t seen.
No one seems to know what’s going on.
What usually happens for most start-ups at this point is that bureaucracy processes start piling up. Layers of management are added, and project managers are introduced to coordinate the chaotic environment. And so are written reports for managers to send to upper management, and silos are building up between different departments. And decisions are taken somewhere else.
And then what happens?
Usually, entrepreneurial enthusiasm suffers and so does talent motivation and speed of innovation.
And that is exactly what iZettle wants to prevent.
But that is easier said than done when a company grows like a wildfire.

read more »

One thing that improves your personal life – and makes you a better value creator

As a high-performing tech professional, it’s useful to constantly fine-tune your ability to add value.

For example, you might ask yourself at work:

What is the one thing we can change in our product, service or in the way we work together that can bring more value to our customers or the team?

This philosophy of looking for things that can add value can also be used for your personal and professional development.

To give you some inspiration, here are some of the real life small changes and habits that our team members at Crisp have made that have added tremendous value to our personal and work lives. read more »

Warning! These 6 Pitfalls Will Slow Down Your Organization

warning-146916_960_720

You have probably read about “at scale” implementations, activity based offices, globally distributed teams, SAFe, Agile transformations and outsourcing. Beware. Danger can be lurking beneath the surface of these popular phenomena.

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10 years of Agile @ Crisp. Next challenge: Global Warming!

10 years ago, 2007, me and a few Crisp colleagues embarked on a mission: be best in Sweden at helping companies become agile. We had experienced first-hand the power of agile development, and wanted to use this newfound super-power to help both Crisp and our clients improve. Others joined us and – tadaa!  – Agile Crisplet was born (and the concept of crisplets)! That was the year I taught my first Certified ScrumMaster course together with Jeff Sutherland, co-creator of Scrum. Since then we’ve co-trained almost 30 courses! About 2-3 times per year. In fact, May 22-23 is our 10 year anniversary (join us at the course in Stockholm!).

Now 10 years has passed since our Agile Crisplet was formed, and I’m happy to see we have achieved more than we ever could have dreamed!

Dispensing with false humility here, we’ve somehow managed to become one of the world leaders in this field! Famous agile and lean experts partner with us. Super well-known product companies, large telecoms and banks, even government organizations, turn to us as first choice for agile guidance and training. Our videos and articles and books have racked up millions of hits, and we are basically overwhelmed with requests to do coaching, write book forewords, do conference talks and workshops, and run training courses. I’ve done almost 30 keynotes in 20+ countries. I’m amazed (and overwhelmed) every time I look at my inbox, I’ve had to hire an assistant just to turn down the 95% of all requests that we simply don’t have capacity to handle.

OK, so now what?

10 years is a long time, and now it’s time for a new focus! At least for me (Crisp is a no-CEO company where people are free to do whatever they want).

read more »

The Minimum Loveable Product

I recently attended a course (the excellent LeanUX course held by my colleague Martin Christensen) and again the topic of what a MVP is or is not came up in a discussion. In the Lean startup-world an MVP is defined as the smallest thing you can make to validate a hypothesis which helps you decide if you should continue developing something or if you should stop. For more information about this, I suggest you read Eric Ries’ blog post on the topic. However, in (very) many companies and organisations the term is used to describe the first version of a product released to the end customers. This “version one release MVP” usually contains as little functionality and features as is possible without making the end customers too upset, disappointed or unwilling to pay.

Another colleague of mine, Henrik Kniberg, wrote a quite thorough and lengthy blog post about MVPs a while back where he touched upon the point I’m about to make. While quite a few people see the different uses of the word MVP as problematic, I see it as a symptom of a need for a better word for describing at least one of its currently used meanings, i.e. the “version one release MVP”. Luckily enough a good friend and coworker gave me the answer to that need a few years ago: He called the first release of the hardware product we were working on at the time the “Minimum Loveable Product”.

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Team Shapes – Simulating the challenges with component teams

A common pitfall for large and medium size organizations who are adopting Agile is to organize teams based on software component boundaries instead of feature teams. Some of the aspects of long term code ownership are more straightforward this way, but the negative consequences in terms of business agility and costs of coordination are huge. A few years back I designed a simulation exercise that I call Team Shapes which illustrates some of the issues and now I would like to share this simulation with the community. read more »

Reactions to “No CEO” by the BBC

no-ceo-by-ceo-guru-bbc

When the BBC published their “No CEO” piece where Crisp is featured with an article and a 4 minute video, there were a lot of reactions. Friends cheered on Facebook. Colleagues gave a thumbs up on LinkedIn. The article was featured on Hacker News and Slashdot. Here are our reflections on some of the comments we found.

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4+3+2+1 Team Success Factors

I’ve now published a new YouTube video where I present 4+3+2+1 Team Success Factors, a model that captures and describes what you can do to help make your team become strong and successful.

These 10 factors are split into four groups.
* The first group describes four dialogs we need to have as a team.
* Next we have three aspects of hard work.
* Then there are two dialogs I need to have with myself.
* The final one is about how we communicate with the organisation around us.

To download a printable version click here, or the image below.
4+3+2+1 Poster (v2)

And here is the actual video 🙂

 

What is Agile – easy to grasp material for the non-techie

I frequently get the question (often from people outside IT): “how can I quickly understand what Agile is?”.  I’ve collected a suite of links and videos over the years to help people grasp the basics concepts in 10 min or so. I thought I’d share them with you.

(pls note: the list is intended to give people a quick introduction, short and sweet. The intent is not to cover all aspects.)

Brief explanation of Agile (8 min video):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tj-lavaMkxU&t=3s

How a Product Owner works –  “PO in a nutshell” (12 min video)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=502ILHjX9EE

Article highlighting cultural aspects – Experimenting, Awesome people, Deliver continuously, Safe to try

https://www.infoq.com/articles/modern-agile-intro

Behaviours displayed by agile teams – 12 seemingly normal things agile people do

http://blog.crisp.se/2016/04/04/mattiasskarin/12-seemingly-normal-things-agile-people-do

Case: Agile at Scale with 200 people @ LEGO (50 min video).

– Pay attention to how engagement/responsiblity was created for both team and department deliveries, and how positive energy was nurtured.

https://vimeo.com/146522457

I hope you find it useful. I expect this list to evolve over time, so don’t be surprised if new links pop up here in the future.

Cheers Mattias

Feature Verification Funnel

verificationfunneloverviewYou have a feature to implement, and there are several implementation solutions available. How do you choose the best one?

Start out with all your potential solutions for a feature idea. Next, filter based on how the solutions perform using a set of verification methods. Finally, implement the feature knowing that you’ve found the solution that meets your needs.

Verification Methods

The following are the verification methods I’ve experienced most often on the projects: read more »

How to set role expectations and working agreements

teamcultureConflicts in teams about how to work are common. There are expectations from team members on each other that aren’t being met. In a given team, members might be implicitly expected to perform a certain task. The team might have unspoken policies that seem to be common sense. Sometimes people pick up on these unspoken rules and implicit expectations, but when they don’t, you have a team in conflict. You can’t avoid all conflict (and a dose of healthy debate and discussion is good for teams), but you can help teams by explicitly defining the roles and working agreements. Instead of dealing with conflict after the fact, you start with discussion and agreement. The following workshop is the one I use with my teams and organizations.

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Mål: Lösa global uppvärmning

Igår möttes 9 av oss på Crisps kontor för att diskutera vad vi kan göra för klimatet.

goal

För många av oss på Crisp ligger denna fråga nära hjärtat. Tyvärr är det som konsult inte alltid lätt att hitta passande uppdrag. Men klimatfrågan är planetens största utmaning, och många av oss vill inte längre sitta inaktiva.

Vi spånade tillsammans med Niclas Gross Martinsson och Erik Martinson (som Hans Brattberg och Henrik Kniberg redan samarbetar med) ihop ett antal idéer vi ska försöka jobba med:

  • Erbjuda vår unika kompetens till företag som jobbar med miljöfrågor, gratis eller till rabatterat pris
  • Hitta och hjälpa investerare att utvärdera och kickstarta miljöprojekt och startups
  • Utmana andra företag att minska miljöpåverkan
  • Informera om hur situationen ser ut, vad man som privatperson och företag kan göra
  • Blogga om lyckade och intressanta miljöprojekt
  • Hitta partners som kan stärka eller komplettera oss

Vi hoppas bli fler företag som vill jobba med detta, så vi kommer att öka kontaktytan och erbjuda vår kunskap. Vi är duktiga på:

  • Programmering – vi har erfarenhet inom nästan alla områden, från UX till kontinuerlig leverans
  • Agila metoder – hur man tar fram användbar mjukvara på snabbast möjliga sätt
  • Startups – vi 35 konsulter har tillsammans startat eller jobbat på över hundra startups

Kontakta oss gärna om du vill hjälpa till!

Design Studio – Collaborate towards a shared understanding

Design Studio is a design method that focus on a specific format for collaboration to create a shared understanding of the problem. This is done by, together as a team, coming up with a solid foundation for a design solving the problem.

Here’s the short version:

  • Illuminate – In the first step, the team gets a presentation of the problem and possible boundaries (such as a certain target group or a platform).
  • Sketch – The second step is all about creativity. Let everyone in the team sketch solutions to the problem within a timebox of about 5 minutes. It is important that the sketching is quick and dirty, since giving people time gets them stuck on unnecessary details.
  • Present – In the third step, each and everyone presents their design. A good timebox is one minute per person. When a person has presented, a critique sessions for that particular person’s design follows.
  • Critique – As a fourth step, an open discussion about the design is held. The critique is meant to churn out the key issues with the ideas previously presented and inspire the other members for the next sketching iteration. Try to answer the question: Does the design solve the problem? A good timebox is 2 minutes. The discussion will make everyone think deeper about both the problem and the solution. After the critique, listen to another team member’s presentation until everyone has been given the opportunity to present and discuss their designs.
  • Iterate – Run the last three steps at least 2-4 times. Iteration is the key to finding reliable solutions and getting a shared understanding of the problem.

The overall rule for Design Studio is to never dwell on details to get most value out of the least amount of time. After a Design Studio session, the UX designer, have plenty of material to work with to take the design towards implementation. Try it out in the course Agile UX or read on to find out the details.

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