Jimmy Janlén

How I wrote a book publicly online

I love visualization and I collect visualizations. Why? Well, I love drawing and have a very visual way of thinking. But more importantly, I’ve been amazed time and time again, how great an impact a valuable and useful visualization can have on a team’s ability to focus, collaborate, and adopt new behaviour.

This passion for post-its and whiteboards finally manifested itself in the form of a book; “Toolbox for the Agile Coach: Visualization Examples – How great teams visualize their work”. Not only am I proud and happy of the final result, I’m also very excited about the way it came about. This blog is about how I wrote a book, publicly and collaboratively online, with frequent increments and tight feedback loops.

just-got-it-printed-600

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Video clip – The importance of team size and proximity

youtube_hansJimmy Janlén wanted to make a move star out of me, so he persuaded me to do a short video of an earlier blogpost.

So here it is, a 3 minute video clip!

Enjoy!

/Hans

 
P.S. If you want to read instead, you’ll find the written English version here, and the Swedish version here.

The importance of size and proximity

We have translated our blog on team size and proximity to english.

If you prefer to read it in Swedish it’s called Storlek och närhet har betydelse.

The english version you’ll find at Nomad8 site, because Jimmy Janlén is currently in New Zealand.
🙂

 

Storlek och närhet har betydelse

Process är dyrt. Större team, distansarbete, deltidsarbete samt många specialister leder till mer uppstyrd process. Kanske är detta självklart, men ju fler företag vi lär känna, desto mer upplever vi detta vara något som ignoreras.

Jobbar vi i någon form av agil process såsom Scrum, Kanban, eller Lean UX värderar vi högt samarbetet mellan olika kompetenser. Ett team av olika kompetenser som kan ta en idé från start till mål brukar kallas tvärfunktionellt.

XFT team -- Idé till release_004

Ett tvärfunktionellt team är ett team som kan ta en idé hela vägen till release.

Enklast möjliga agila process för hur dessa personer kan samarbeta ser ut så här:
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New book: Toolbox for the Agile Coach – Visualization Examples, now available on LeanPub!

Book Cover 2I’m happy to announce that Toolbox for the Agile Coach – Visualization Examples is now available on LeanPub! It’s a 124 page book cramped with visualization examples for teams on how to improve collaboration and communication, as well as shaping behaviours.

It’s been great fun to write. It’s been great fun to get feedback from early readers. It’s been great fun to show it to colleagues and friends. And now, finally, it feels awesome to be able to share it with you!

LeanPub LaunchI planned to release the book in physical and digital form at the same time… but getting it printed have sadly taken forever, and I still don’t know when it will be available on Amazon.

So, I’ve decided to go ahead and release the digital version first. Might be a stupid thing to do from a marketing perspective, but I don’t care about that. I want the book out and available 🙂

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Lean Startup comic book “Jennie Discovers” now as a poster

JennieDiscoversPoster1
We have just released our short comic as a poster, free to download and print!

Jennie Discovers is a comic that tells a story about working Agile and Lean. It’s a story of product discovery, the journey from first idea to continuously releasing and updating a product or service. This book is written for product owners, requirements analysts, and project, purchasing, and line managers. Concepts covered: Hypothesis, MVP, Lean Startup, Pivoting and User stories.

/Hans and Jimmy

Agile Topics card deck

The other week I got the idea to create simple conversation cards. Each card represents an agile practice, a conversation topic or an abstract theory. Now I’ve drawn 96 cards. I simply couldn’t stop 🙂

Cards

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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)

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

Update: The book has since the publication of this blog been
made available for purchase at LeanPub.

Cover

A 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.

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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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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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 🙂

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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Facilitating from the Back of the Room at Spotify

Last week Jimmy Janlén and I held a shortened version of our course Training from the Back of the Room for our former colleagues at Spotify. Actually it is not “our” course, but Sharon Bowmans. It’s based on her books about how create a more engaging learning experience in the class room, especially when training adults.

“I really liked the whole setup of this course – a really well organised and inspiring day. Wow :-)”

Jimmy and I are certified trainers of this course. We use the techniques when we do training. But we have also experienced how useful they are in other coaching and facilitation situations, such as workshops and retrospectives. Almost any meeting can be made more engaging and with longer lasting result with the set of tools TBR provides.

We have chosen to call the shortened training Facilitating from the Back of the Room, since that is what we agile coaches do most. 16 persons from the Spotify Agile Guild showed up this beautiful day in a corner room on the 17:th floor in High Tech building with amazing views over Stockholm city. We have to admit we were a little nervous at first. Would this actually make sense to coaches? It did.

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Seminarie “Agil Testning”, slides och video

IMG_0418I tisdags hade jag glädjen att få komma tillbaka till Lantmäteriet i Gävle och återigen hålla ett seminarie. Denna gång var titeln ”Agil Testning – Will automation replace the tester”? Lite vilseledande då ämnet jag täckte var långt mycket vidare än så. Under två timmar pratade bland annat jag om:

  • Contexten som agil testning lever i – dvs agile och lean
  • Vilket syfte har testning i en agil miljö?
  • Vilken roll har testare i det agila teamet? Vad gör hen?
  • Hur kan det se ut när teamet tillsammans tar ansvar för kvalitet?
  • Exempel och historier från verkligheten
  • Trendspotting och framtiden

Presentationen finns tillgänglig här. För att den ska se snygg ut behöver du fonterna Expressway Rg och Inkpen2 Script.

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Seminariet filmades också och finns upplagt på YouTube.

MOVE! Don’t. Sit. Still.

“Rörelse trumfar stillasittande” är den första och viktigaste av de sex principerna för lärande från Sharon Bowmans bok “Using Brain Science to Make Training Stick”

Att bli certifierad Training From the back of the Room lärare var en resa med många steg och moment. En av uppgifterna bestod av att göra en presentation. Jag valde att göra en presentation just på principen “Movement trumps Sitting” då så drastiskt har förändrat hur jag lär ut och faciliterar övningar och workshops. Vad som än ska göras försöker jag få in rörelse.

Klicka för att se presentationen på SlideShare

Klicka för att se presentationen på SlideShare

Rörelse…

  • skickar massa syre till hjärnan
  • introducerar variation (vilket ökar din uppmärksamhet)
  • dina kognitiva funktioner aktiveras (dvs du processar ny information snabbare)

Den 11-12 April kan du om du vill fånga chansen att lära dig mera om intensivt lärande, om att skapa dynamik, ökad närvaro, engagemang och variation. Jag och Peter Antman ger då kursen “Training from the Back of the Room – Deltagardrivet och upplevelsebaserat lärande” i Crisps kurslokaler.

Kursen är den första svenska anpassningen av Sharon Bowmans framgångsrika bok och kurs, Training from the back of the room.

Role Expectation Mapping

Role Expectation Mapping is a series of workshop that explores, clarifies and establishes which expectations members of a group, team or project have on each other.

If you suspect that collaboration is undermined because of mismatch of expectations between people, then this exercise could boost the team’s ability to collaborate efficiently together. It is also a powerful way to jump start a new team and give them a structure to relate to.

Questions

People always have certain expectations on each other, behaviors, responsibilities, etc., but if those aren’t made clear and agreed upon among everyone – you are bound to have unconstructive conflicts, colliding agendas, difficulties in collaboration and things that fall between chairs.

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Team barometer (self-evaluation tool)

Sometimes it’s hard for a team to know if they get tighter and better as a team over time. This is a tool that allows a team to learn just that.

Team barometer (self-evaluation tool) in a nutshell

The barometer is executed as a survey in a workshop. The survey consists of 16 team characteristics, packaged as a deck of cards. Team members vote green, yellow or red for each card in the meeting (or before the meeting as an anonymous survey). Once all cards have been run through, the team reflects and discusses the results. You can, if you want to, run through the exercise in thirty minutes, but I recommend to set aside an hour.

Click here to download the cards.
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Some examples of Sprint Burndowns

In this episode of our YouTube channel Crisp Agile Academy I talk about Sprint Burndowns. I discuss the value of having one and that it is a tool for the team, not anyone else. I also give examples of different kind of burndowns: Remaining Hours, Remaining Story Points, Remaining Tasks, Things in progress, and Confidence level. I wrap up the episode with a little quiz.

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Crisp Agile Academy – Definition of DONE

In this episode of our YouTube channel “Crisp Agile Academy” a brief introduction is given to Definition of DONE. What is it? What is it good for?

Seminar “Will automation kill the tester?”

Last Thursday I gave a two hour talk on Agile Testing, “Will automation kill the tester?”, for Dataföreningens network for test and requirements in Stockholm.

I talked about testing in agile contexts, the agile tester, busted (and approved) some myths on agile testing, and gave examples – lots of them. How different companies, project and teams approach the work of quality and testing. Finally I tried to speculate on what the future might bring us.

I had a great time. All seats were full and the engagement was really high 🙂

The presentation is available here (pdf).

Slides from DARE 2013 – “Scaling Agile @ Spotify”

Two weeks ago I attended a conference in Belgium, DARE. The conference was really great. I met so many fun people and carried with me so many thoughts and learnings back home.

I held a keynote, “Scaling Agile @ Spotify”, talking about how Spotify staying agile, lean and fast, while growing.  I also talked about how Spotify is organized, that Spotify believes that autonomous teams are the key to flow and scalability. I also gave examples of concepts and ideas we are experimenting with. And I gave the audience a challenge – Are you going fast enough?

You can download the presentation here.

MIKE – The Daily Meeting Microphone

This is MIKE, The Daily Meeting Microphone.
MIKE is a concept. An idea.  Captured on a poster.

If you like it; Click the image below (or click here to download the powerpoint). Print it on A3 format. Put it on the wall next to your team wall or in the office corridor. Done 🙂

If you would build it, I’d buy 50 pieces of it 🙂

Improvement Theme – Simple and practical Toyota Kata

Improvement Theme is a tool in the form of a poster that works as a conveyor belt for continuous improvements once the Retrospective is over.

I’ve been reading a little bit about Toyota Kata and seen great presentations on the concept. In order to make it practical and useful for me I found myself tweaking it and packaging it in a concept I’ve come to call Improvement Theme. I’ve tried this concept a couple of times now and found it to be a good tool to extend improvements beyond the Retrospective and bringing it into the daily work. In this article I describe how to create the poster and how to use it as a tool for continuous improvements.

The Improvement Theme is a poster. I’ve been using magic charts since they are easily moved between the room in which the retrospective is held and the teams wall.

The charter consists of five areas.
1. Name of the Improvement Theme
2. Now/Problem – Description of the current situation
3. Definition of Awesome – How would we like it to be?
4. Next Target Condition – X weeks from now, what has changed?
5. First Steps – 3 slots for three post-its that describe the first (next) actions we will take?

It’s a living document, preferable put up next to the scrum/kanban wall. Once or twice a week the team reviews the theme and agrees upon new actions as they get completed.

When X weeks has passed the team does a review of the theme itself. If they want to continue on the same theme they identify a new “Next target condition”. Otherwise they create a new Improvement Theme poster.

Here follows an extensive description of how I’ve been using the concept as a tool for improvement and a more in-depth description of the different aspects of the poster.

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Ignite great team discussions with “Jimmy Cards”

Would you like to try out a tool that has the power to ignite exciting discussions that challenges the team and that possibly inspires to new improvement actions? Then you should try out the “Jimmy Cards”.

So, what is “Jimmy Cards”? Simply put it, it’s a deck of challenging questions and riddles for the agile team.

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Round Table Agile Transformations @ Crisp

Crisp has the luxury of working with small, medium, big and very big companies. We help through providing education. We coach and mentor projects, teams and organizations adopt and master the agile way of working. Last week we at Crisp invited a couple of our clients to participate in a round table discussion regarding agile transformations. The unifying theme were the challenges surrounding large scale agile implementations.

We at Crisp offered a platform and forum to share and learn in a neutral and safe environment. Four companies attended. One to four participants from each company. The participants were directly involved, and in one way or the other, responsible for the agile transformation taking place in their respective company. The size of the department or company involved in the change varied from 300 – 1500 people.

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What questions does your Working Agreement answer?

All teams have some sense of what is regarded as acceptable or good behavior within the team. Most people know that colleagues don’t appreciate it when you’re late. Perhaps you have a silent agreement regarding how you vote and make decisions. Some teams write down their behavior and collaborative “protocol”  in a Working Agreement.

You might think that common sense covers it and writing it down seems silly, but surprise – common sense is subjective and you will have different opinions about things. Great! Let’s discuss and find our common ground.

The act of discussing it and writing it down is also a strong team building activity and forges relationships between team members. Any new team, or any team for that matter, could benefit greatly from a one-hour workshop. It could be part of a retrospective or a stand-alone meeting.

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