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:

LearnToMod provides almost 200 small programming lessons, starting from Hello World and then moving on to loops and functions and variables and all kinds of stuff. All lessons have really clear instructions and almost all of them involve something actually happening in the Minecraft world, which keeps it exciting. So kids can be pretty much self-guided, with just a little bit of support.

They use a visual programming language (Blockly, derived from Scratch). That’s great because it lets you focus on learning the program concepts, like loops and functions, without having to stumble around with detailed syntax. But since you can also see the Javascript behind the scenes, you can learn from that and write Javascript mods later. So the graphical programming is like a stepping stone (or gateway drug, if you prefer…).

As you progress you earn badges and points and other rewards, like inspiring video clips and things like that. It really does a lot to keep you going!

Last session we did a Mod Duel. The three kids got 30 minutes to prepare attack scripts against me (not allowed to use direct kill commands, but other more creative ways of attacking me, like burying me in sand or conjuring a prison cell full of monsters and teleporting me in), and I wrote defense scripts. Basically a duel where we only can use our “magic powers” (programming skills). I managed to survive one whole minute, not bad!

We’ve added another slight twist to our Mod Club sessions: a Lego house (yes, actual physical plastic bricks). Each kid has their own color, and on each completed lesson they “earn” a Lego brick in that color and use it to build on the house. That way, the house becomes a visual progress meter for the evening. This serves as a subtle reminder to keep doing the lessons and not spend the whole evening just goofing around. Goofing around is a great way to learn too, but some lessons are needed to learn new concepts (like loops, or parameterized function calls), and extend your magic powers!

Here are the kids proudly displaying their house from last session!

Kids programming

… and then back to programming:

Kids programming

 

Give LearnToMod a try! It works for grownups too :o)

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?

read more »

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

read more »

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.

read more »

Why you should do Continuous Code Cleansing

First we had Continuous Integration. It solved the problem of uncontrollable snowballing integration phases at the very end of development projects.

Then we learned about Continuous Delivery and Continuous Deployment. They make putting new features into production a risk-free no-brainer.

Now it’s time to learn about Continous Code Cleansing!

It is about continuously making sure your code base is as small as possible.

Smaller code base means faster development.

Read more about Continuous Code Cleansing and it’s supporting tool Codekvast at http://codekvast.crisp.se.

The value of focus training

Strangely, in most companies people are considered perfectly healthy until they suddenly burn out. While in reality, it seems that a large number of people are somewhere between those two states, and could use some help to get more focused and less stressed.

We had a guy, Mattis Erngren, visit us at Crisp and do a session on focus training and meditation. Very pragmatic, interesting, and useful session. Highly recommended. Mattis and his company Lightly are on a mission to make focus training a standard offering at all companies, just like other health benifits like gym and such things. The brain is a muscle and it needs training too, to stay in shape.

So go ahead and contact the guys at http://lightly.io and bring them over. They offer free trial sessions so it’s really a no-brainer.

Incidentally, Jeff Sutherland was at the session at Crisp, and revealed that he used to be an avid meditator, and that Scrum was actually conceived during a meditation session. As in, the idea behind Scrum popped into his head right after a session. Interesting! When you clear your mind from all the noise, you make room for the really powerful stuff.

How do you know that your product works? Slides from my LKCE14 keynote.

Here are the slides for my keynote How do you know that your product works at Lean Kanban Central Europe, Hamburg.

I travelled with Emma (6 yrs), she’s been wanting to travel with me (alone, without her 3 siblings…) for a long time, so she’s really happy! Thanks Mary & Tom Poppendieck for being her bonus grandparents during the whole trip :)

Some sample slides & pics below.

LKCE14

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Agil HR på IDG

10 oktober anordnade IDG Rekrytering & Ledarskap ett frukostseminarie om Agil HR för dryga 100 HR- och IT-chefer. Jag var inbjuden för att prata om ämnet och min nya bok Riv pyramiderna igen. Vi hade också en kortare paneldebatt om ämnet med bland andra Matti Klasson från King och Gabriella Ekström på SVT (som bloggat om det här). Efteråt intervjudade IDG:s Hillevi Billinger mig om vad agilt är, vad agil hr är och hur man kan komma igång med det. Här hittar du hela intervjun:

Scrum saves lives

I was deeply moved by this letter. I’ve seen how Scrum and similar pull-based approaches not only improve productivity, but reduce stress and improve quality of life for people, and this is a powerful example. I asked the sender if I may share it with the world, and thankfully he agreed. Here it is:

Recently I picked up a version of your free online edition of “Scrum and XP from the Trenches, How we do Scrum” and I have to say it changed my personal and professional life.

I have been and software developer on interactive voice response systems for close to 20 years now.

A few months ago I was speaking with a colleague and mentor of mine about his efforts to become a certified Scrum master.  Up until this point I had never really been exposed to Agile and Scrum in detail and only knew some of the jargon.   My colleague suggested that I research and learn more about the Agile philosophy and in particular Scrum.  Since I have been suffering from a poor work life balance almost my whole career I decided to pay it some attention.

I read your paper on a Saturday night and decided that Sunday that I would implement Scrum start on Monday morning.  So I quickly pulled together a spread sheet with what I had that night and formalized the excel sheet that was our product backlog. That Monday I held my normal morning meeting with my development team and the rest is history.

The short of it is that my team is finishing up its 3rd sprint next week and we all love it.  A lot of the stress that was keeping me up at night has completely gone away.  I feel in complete control when I come to the end of my work day.  In the past two months I have even hung out with my family on Saturdays and Sundays.  I have begun to add more of a balance back to my life.

I really wanted to thank you for writing this paper and putting it out in the world for free.  The tips that your paper offered have literally saved my marriage and probably my life.

Thank you again for you effort.

 

 

10 talks in 2 weeks! Here are the slides.

Wow, it’s been a crazy period. Sydney, Trondheim, Oslo, 10 talks in 2 weeks! Didn’t really plan to do that much, but one thing led to another. Fun, but exhausting!

Henrik keynote @ TDC

  • 4 internal talks at several large banks in Sydney
  • Keynote at Scrum Australia, Sydney. Topic: “Scaling agile @ Spotify” (slides)
  • Keynote at Trondheim Developer Conference. Topic: “Succeeding with Lean software development” (slides).
  • Talk at NTNU (Norwegian University of Science and Technology), Trondheim. Topic: “How do you know that your product works” (slides)
  • Keynote at Smidig 2014, Oslo. Topic: “Scaling agile @ Spotify” (slides) (video)
  • Lightning talk at Executive Workshop at Smidig 2014, Oslo. Topic: “Change” (slides).
  • Talk at Sintef, Oslo. Topic: “Lean from the Trenches” (slides).

Here’s a high-quality video recording of the Smidig 2014 keynote (on Spotify engineering culture). The conference organizers say it’s the highest-rated talk they’ve ever had! Cool :o)

review

Here’s a shorter version with much the same content, in the form of a two-part animated video series, for the impatient.

YANIA – You Ain’t Needing It Anymore

In the agile community we use the acronym YAGNI to remind ourselves to stay away from building (however cool) stuff that no-one is asking for.

If used wisely, the YAGNI veto will help teams maintain velocity over time and let them focus on delivering true business value early and often.

Now when we start adopting Lean Startup principles, it’s time to learn a new acronym: YANIA!

read more »

Example of Product Discovery and Delivery Process with one team

discovery-adn-delivery-process-w-one-team-small

Here you find the “Product Discovery and Delivery process with one team” as a PDF poster if you like to download it >

Ever since I saw Henrik Knibergs movie “PO in a nutshell” about how the PO role work for the first time I have been thinking about how he could have included the discovery process in the picture too. A while ago I created this as an example of how it could look and work for a X-functional team.

All ideas could be good ideas

The process starts with some kind of idea that could come from any stake holder – even from anyone in the team (this is usually a very rare occasion in most companies). The idea is verified in a concept (see example of a concept in my blog post on discovery framework) by the owner of the idea and the Product Owner decides if it worth starting the discovery process to figure out what it is they are supposed to build – or if it is not, based on the information in the concept.
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Agilt ledarskap

brain
Jerry Weinberg säger att “ledarskap är varje handling som hjälper en grupp framåt”.  Det är trevlig definition tycker jag.  Med den definitionen kan vi alla utöva ledarskap i vår vardag.  Men vad definierar en ledare? Om vi nu inte bara avser du eller jag eller vem som helst som försöker hjälpa en grupp framåt genom konstruktiva handlingar som leder till samsyn och framsteg?  Och hur skall man agera om man vill vara en agil ledare?

Concept Cubes

Cubes Crisp blog pic

A while ago I was asked to help out create a checklist for a team, a checklist that could tell something about whether or not a user story was “good enough”. I opened PowerPoint and starting to ponder over how I could help. I immediately realized that a presentation would be boring, shown once and then forgotten, and not invite to curiosity. I put my laptop away and created a cube instead.

A couple of days later I showed it to a friend and colleague (Viktor Sessan, Agile Coach at Spotify), who were also very intrigued by the concept, and we started to talk about how to take this further.

This is the result :-) We believe that if you let an idea loose, and it is a good idea, great things will happen.

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The Agile Meetings Cube

Agile facilitators, be aware, now you are about to be replaced – by a cube. Just kidding. But have you ever felt that your meetings are not on track? Or that you have a hard time doing the elevator pitch for that backlog grooming meeting you would like your team to have? Or do you meeting often ends in thin air? Comes your rescue: The Agile Meeting Cube.

Agile Meetings Cibe

Agile Meetings Cube

The Agile Meeting Cubes gives you purpose, expected outcome and a suggested checklist and possible tools to use for six classical Agile or Scrum Meetings:

  • Release Planning
  • Backlog grooming
  • Sprint Planning
  • Daily Standup
  • Sprint Review
  • Sprint Retrospective

Download it from conceptcubes.com and do the following:
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Internutbildning hos Lantmännen i Konverteringsoptimering och Digital Design

konverteringsoptimerin och hypoteser på lantmännen

I september höll jag en endagskurs hos Lantmännen i Konverteringsoptimering & Digital Design, som även inkluderade user research, användbarhet och effektstyrning och agil metodik. Den här dagen var starten på en serie utbildningar för Lantmännens centrala IT och marknad samt alla webbansvariga för respektive varumärke.

Tanken på en gemensam grundutbildning föddes i våras av Anette Lovas som är centralt ansvarig för alla Lantmännens 35 EPI-webbar.

I min roll som centralt IT ansvarig för alla EPI-webbar såg jag en möjlighet att bidra med en gemensam kompetensplattform i modern utfallsdriven webbutveckling för att ge alla möjlighet att inte bara förvalta respektive webb, utan också förbättra löpande på ett effektivt sätt. Vi behövde lära oss att använda rätt data som beslutsunderlag för att skapa användarnytta och driva affärsvärde även online. Mia var given som kurshållare för den första delen av utbildningarna med sin erfarenhet inom konverteringsoptimering och effektstyrning samt att hon de senaste åren har hållit många liknande utbildningar på Crisp.

Webbansvariga i våran organisation arbetar väldigt mycket ensamt ute i organisationen och har få gemensamma kontaktytor. Utbildning är också ett sätt att mötas och diskutera hur vi på Lantmännen ska arbeta med våran onlinenärvaro, hitta synergier och utnyttja varandras olika kompetenser. ”

read more »

Agila kontrakt – slides från Devlin 2014 (swe)

Här är mina slides om Agila kontrakt från Devlin 2014.

Jag hoppas det skall inspirera fler företag och myndigheter att börja använda sig av dem, då de medför väsentligt lägre risk än traditionella kontrakt.
(Använder du Agila kontrakt idag – tveka inte att höra av dig!)

Vi har i Sverige dåliga practicies för upphandlingar och har redan halkat efter våra grannländer. Det gör att vi tappar nödvändig konkurrenskraft som vi verkligen behöver för att fortsätta utvecklas i global värld.

agila-kontrakt-slides2

Slutligen vill jag påpeka vikten av att inte bara se till kontraktet utan att ha koll på två andra processer:

  • Hur veta jag var jag skall beställa?
  • Hur utvärderar och väljer jag leverantör

Detta går jag och Mia Kolmodin som framgångsrikt hjälpt flera företag med beställning igenom på vår kurs “Certifierad Agil Beställare (9-10 Mars)”, ett initiativ för att öka kundmognaden vid beställning och upphandling, både för privat och offentlig sektor.

Väl mött – här är slides från presentationen

What is Scrum? (slides from my talk at KTH)

Here are the slides for my talk “What is Scrum?” at KTH (Royal Institute of Technology). It was a guest talk at a course called Projektstyrning. Hoping to inspire young entrepreneurs to plant agile DNA in their companies from the very beginning. Last time I spoke at KTH was 6.5 years ago, that’s when I met the first Spotify team, and I’m really happy to have been able to influence and participate in their journey!

Here are some sample slides from the talk:

What is Scrum? Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 08.20.00 Don't go overboard with agile

Facilitating the Elephant Carpaccio Exercise

One of the best exercises I know of on how to learn and practice User Story slicing techniques is the so called Elephant Carpaccio exercise. At Spotify it is something of a staple as it it is (often) used when introducing new employees (now a days).

The exercise is about creating a quoting application which includes different markets, tax and discounts. If you have not done this before your initial slices will probably be pretty large. The aha moment is when you realize how SMALL you can actually make them. You can can dry run this exercise by only creating and discussing the backlog. It’s also very friendly to actually do it for real by programing the application; even excel can be used to do that.

Henrik Kniberg has written an excellent guide on how to facilitate this exercise. Here’s my slides based on that presentation to make it a little bit easier to remember and run it in a classroom.

Getting High on Your Own Supply

shared-knowledge

Back in undergraduate school I had an artsy roommate who quickly dropped any intention of attending classes. Soon thereafter he picked up a line cook job at the local diner and took on a nocturnal lifestyle. That lifestyle led to a whole new set of friends who quickly helped him develop a recreational drug habit. To support his new found hobby, my roommate began dealing to his new found comrades and their acquaintances. The temptation of having all of that product around him turned out to be too much though and, soon enough, he was consuming more than he was selling leaving him increasingly in debt to his suppliers. This culminated in a day I’ll never forget. I had to take him to the pawn shop so he could trade his car (his last possession) for cash to get out of that debt. We rode home on the back of my motorcycle (which became our only means of transportation for the duration of our cohabitation). read more »