Tag Archives: agile

No, I didn’t invent the Spotify model

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You know the saying “don’t shoot the messenger”? Well, that goes both ways – “don’t praise the messenger”. Well, OK, you can shoot or praise the messenger for the quality of the delivery – but not for the message content!

I’ve spent a few years working with Spotify and published a few things that have gained a surprizing amount of attention – especially the scaling agile article and spotify engineering culture video. This has come to be known as the “Spotify Model” in the agile world, although it wasn’t actually intended to be a generic framework or “model” at all. it’s just an example of how one company works. The reason why I shared this material is because my Spotify colleagues encouraged me to, and because, well, that’s what I do – help companies improve, by learning stuff and spreading knowledge.

Spotify engineering culture

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Tillsammans – så river programmerarna företagspyramiderna

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I år hade jag äran att i anslutning till Agila Sverige (2015) släppa Riv pyramiderna igen som riktig bok med den mycket bättre titeln Tillsammans – så skapar du flyt och egenmakt med agile och lean (tack till Joakim Holm för att du övertalade mig att negativa titlar är dåliga).  Den hemliga undertiteln tycker jag dock är “så river programmerarna företagspyramiderna”.Tillsammans

För det är ju just det det handlar om. Först vände programmerarna upp och ner på mjukvarubranschen genom att börja ge bort sitt arbete som fri källkod. Nu vänder de upp och ner på företagen genom att göra den gamla sortens chefer överflödiga.

Programmering handlar om att generera kunskap. Och det sker bäst när man får arbeta direkt mot användarna och när man själv får styra sitt arbete. När man får makt över sitt liv på jobbet, kort sagt. Och eftersom allt mer i samhället kräver programmerare får programmerarna makt. De kan forma sina arbetsliv så bra som det är möjligt.

Denna förändring är så spännande att följa och i Tillsammans skildrar jag mitt arbete som chef i en produktorganisation och hur vi förvandlade den till en utvecklingsorganisation i världsklass, med hjälp av agile och lean och en hel del gnutta sunt förnuft, och framförallt: extremt experimenterande.

Jag påbörjade och en märklig resa där min roll som chef drastiskt förändrades: den som behöver praktiska tips om hur man gör med utvecklingssamtal, karriärvägar, lönesättning, kompetensutveckling och rekrytering i en organisation som domineras av självorganiserande team hittar gott om tips i Tillsammans hoppas jag.

Läs mer om Tillsammans här eller köp direkt från:
adlibris och bokus.

Lean Startup

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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

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

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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 🙂

A Decade of Agile, A – F

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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.

Agil HR på IDG

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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:

10 talks in 2 weeks! Here are the slides.

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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.

The Agile Meetings Cube

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

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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

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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.

WIP and Priorities – how to get fast and focused!

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Many common organizational problems can be traced down to management of Priorities and WIP (work in progress). Doing this well at all levels in an organization can make a huge difference! I’ve experimented quite a lot with this, here are some practical guidelines:

WIP = Work In Progress = stuff that we have started and not yet finished, stuff that takes up our bandwidth, blocks up resources, etc.. Even things that are blocked or waiting are WIP.

“As a, I want, So that” Considered Harmful

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If you are working on an agile project, it is almost certain that you are using Stories to describe your backlog of work. It is another near-certainty that if you are using Stories, you write them down using this format:

As a <user or stakeholder type>
I want <some software feature>
So that <some business value>”

As someone who cares about the state of agile practice, I want to offer some alternatives, so that agile teams remember that the point of the story is in the telling, not the template. The shared understanding comes from the conversation, not the card. By offering you different ways to ‘tell’ the story in its short written form, I hope you will be able to re-ignite a greater level of meaning, interest and engagement in your team’s discussions about the work they are doing to build great software that matters to people.

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Spotify Engineering Culture (part 2)

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Here’s part 2 of the short animated video describing Spotify’s engineering culture (also posted on Spotify’s blog). Check out part 1 first if you haven’t already seen it!

This is a journey in progress, not a journey completed, so the video is somewhere between “How Things Are Today” and “How We Want Things To Be”.

Here’s the whole drawing:
Spotify-Engineering-Culture-Part2

(Tools used: Art Rage, Wacom Intuos 5 drawing tablet, and ScreenFlow)

Let the User Story Flow

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One of my biggest surprises when I first met the squads I where going to work with at Spotify was that none of them were using User Stories. At first I observed to see their alternative. Unfortunately there was none. Instead most of the work got done as big chunks of work (what I would tend to call Epics) that was sliced into a todo-list of tasks (named that way by the developers) and also divided according different platforms.

Squad focus on technical tasks

A typical board contained one or more business cases and lanes for each developer/platform with tasks that were executed upon. These big “busses” where on the board blocking other works for weeks, which of course meant there needed to exist one or more emergency lanes for all expedite work (in the long run, most work).

This is a setup that does not foster collaboration, focus on value and art-of-the-possible. From an agile fluence point of view I would say it is a way of working that does not even reach fluence level 1 (Christian and I will describe agile fluence in more depth in a follow up blog post). From my experience focusing on User Stories is a great way of fostering the above values, and reach fluence level 1.

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Agile @ Scale (slides from Sony Mobile tech talk)

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Here are the slides from my tech talk Agile @ Scale at Sony Mobile. Full house & very high level of engagement, I was impressed by this crowd! And thanks for the awesome recommendation on LinkedIn 🙂

 

Some sample pics below:

Visualize and limit WIP

Visual planning

Productivity and motivation

 

Tradeoffs

Lean Canvas – an hypotheses board

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As so many others I’m inspired by the book Lean Startup. The idea of experimenting with your business model and deliver just the bare stuff needed to validate (or actually try to refute) your business hypothesis is so enticing. But how do you do that when you are one of 50 or 100 teams? How do you do that when the teams are not even using User Stories? How do you do that when daily work is done on a Kanban board only showing tasks?
Lean Canvas

One part of a possible solution is to find a way of visualizing the business case. A popular approach has become setting up a business board, often called a Lean Canvas. I wanted to try something like that. But going trough all the different variants I could find, no one was good enough in itself. I wanted to get the same feeling as with User Stories: a simple formula that everyone can understand and use as soon as the formula is presented.

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My Spotify tools

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Last week i quit my assignment at Spotify. I was there to help and act as a stand-in for Joakim Sundén while he was on paternity leave. He’s now back in the saddle as Agile Coach in the More Than Music Tribe.  I had the pleasure to work closely with the Agile Coach Christian Vikström on Spotify and together we have been coaching the Browse, Growth and Customer Support squads. A was also a member of the tribe management team, and together we did some new interesting stuff.
Facilitating from the Back of the Room
It’s has been fascinating and fantastic to work with such dedicated people and a product that has such a traction. Spotify is also really trying to build an awesome and agile organization and culture that can win and sustain in the long run. What is there to do at such a fantastic company? That’s a reasonable question. A lot I discovered. Spotify is shock full of super smart people, but many of them has not worked there for long, many of them has not worked long at all, teams have been newly formed and are under constant change. Simply put: even Spotify needs a lot of basic agile coaching.

When I now look back at what we did during these last 8 month I see a lot of tools and experiences that I think others also can find useful. During the next couple of month I will share them through this blog. Hope you will find them useful. Here’s the planned list:

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What is an Agile Tester? Slides from my Sri Lanka talk.

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Here are the slides for my talk What is an agile tester from the Colombo Agile Conference in Sri Lanka.

What is an agile tester

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

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Here are the slides for my keynote How do you know that your product works, from the Colombo Agile Conference in Sri Lanka.

Henrik Kniberg

How do you know that your product works

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Focus – slides from my talk at Projektnäring

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Here are the slides for my talk “Focus” at Projektnäring. Great group, lots of energy in the room. Had lots of great conversations with people. Thanks for attending!

Sample pics:

Screen Shot 2014-05-09 at 13.11.23

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Stop-the-line spoken word performance

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Agila Sverige 2012 höll jag min första ignite i form av en Majakovski- och Bob Dylan-inspirerad Spoken World performance om hur vi på Polopoly skapade kvalitet genom extremt fokus på automatiserade tester och en stoppa-bandet-kultur.

Förra veckan fyllde konsultbolaget Adaptiv 5 år och firade genom att låte en utvald skara Agila Sverige-talare reprisera sina alster. Jag fick äran att stå för en liten del av middagsunderhållingen. Här är uppläsningen:

Learning flow with the Lean Dot Game

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Yesterday we had one of our regularly occurring so called Agile Lunch & Learn in the tribe at Spotify I currently work. We wanted to make the lunch about why it is often better not to work and focus on flow than to maximize your work and focus on resource efficiency. I searched for something in the Crisp bag of games. Pass the pennies – more about big batches. Kanban  tothpicks – to many rounds and variables. Folding envelopes – again more batches. Eventually I found the Lean Dot game.

Result board from a round of the Lean Dot Game

Result board from a round of the Lean Dot Game

What a find! This game will be with me for a long time. The best flow game there is, with extremply simple props: post-it notes and colored dots. You can run it  in an hour and get tons of experiences and stuff to discuss, such as:

  • Why it’s better to slow down
  • Adapt to bottlenecks
  • Batch sizes
  • Little’s law illustrated
  • Waste and inventory
  • Customer collaboration
  • In process testing
  • And more, and more, and more…

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Spotify Engineering Culture (part 1)

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Here’s a short animated video describing Spotify’s engineering culture (also posted on Spotify’s blog). See also Part 2.

This is a journey in progress, not a journey completed, and there’s a lot of variation from squad to squad. So the stuff in the video isn’t all true for all squads all the time, but it appears to be mostly true for most squads most of the time :o)

Here’s the whole drawing:

.Spotify-Engineering-Culture-Part1

Here’s Part 2.

(Tools used: Art Rage, Wacom Intuos 5 drawing tablet, and ScreenFlow)

A bug is just an unwritten test that failed

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In the first week of March I attended two Spotify unconferences about Continuous Deliver and Quality (which I also had the pleasure to facilitate). I am amazed on how many we were (people had flown in from a lot of other places), the energy in the room, the quality of the discussions, and the massive number of practical initiatives that where suggested and started.

One reoccurring theme was the importance of a stop-the-line culture and what that actually means. I have to admit I was quite active in those discussion, and also held a short lightning talk about the broken windows syndrome. My this simple formula when it comes to bugs is this:

  • You write tests to create a product without defects
  • When a test fails you fix the underlying problem
  • A bug found outside testing is just an unwritten test that would have failed
  • Failing tests are always fixed
  • Therefore: a zero bug policy is the only thing that works in the long run
  • Otherwise you will suffer the broken windows system
  • Just do it
  • Now

Here’s my slides:

Why I prefer ToDo over Trello for agile teams

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The Gist

  • ToDo has a flow. It knows about cycle times and about being DONE. Trello does not.
  • ToDo has Planning Poker Estimates. Trello does not have any estimates.
  • ToDo has automatic burn up charts. Trello does not.
  • ToDo has swim lanes which groups cards by your dimensions. Trello does not.
  • ToDo has Work-In-Progress limits. Trello does not.
  • ToDo has upgrade possibilities to the full tool set of Projectplace. Trello has a bunch of plugins from different vendors of various quality.
Swimlanes on a ToDo board

Swimlanes on a ToDo board

Already convinced? Sign up for ToDo by Projectplace! Want to know more? Read on.

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Delagardrivet och upplevelsebaserat lärande

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I juni kommer min kollega Jimmy Janlén och jag hålla kurs i deltagardrivet och upplevelsebaserat lärande. Vill vi hjälpa andra att upptäcka och praktisera sätt att skapa sant engagerande och lärande undervisning, presentationer och workshops. Kanske slipper ni då mina egen långa resa bort från katedern.

Kort med verktyg och upplägg från Training from the Back of the Room

Kort med verktyg och upplägg från Training from the Back of the Room

Så vitt jag minns det var jag 24, kanske 25 år. Jag och min vän Göran hade blivit inbjudna att hålla föredrag inför en större samling människor. Det hade jag aldrig gjort förut. Visst var jag van att prata inför andra människor, från seminarierna på universitetet till redaktionsmötena på vår lilla tidsskrift, men inte att hålla tal. Jag gjorde det som kändes säkrast. Jag skrev ett tal och läste sedan upp det.

Förutom att det tog jättelång tid att skriva talet, så kändes det inte bra att stå där och läsa rakt upp och ner. Visst försökte jag läsa med inlevelse och dramatik, ungefär som när man läser högt för barnen, men det kändes ändå inte bra. Höll inte åhörarna på att somna? Lärde de sig alls något? Det går att trollbinda en publik med högläsning, om man berättar en riktigt bra historia. Göran var bra på det, men inte jag. Något behövde jag göra annorlunda.

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Agile People i Göteborg

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Den 3:e december var jag inbjuden till nätverket Agile People i Göteborg för att tala om min bok Riv pyramiderna igen. Det var god uppsluting av människor som ville prata om hur HR påverkas av när en organisation börjar använda agila värden och principer från lean; och hur HR själv kan inspireras av ett iterativt och flödesbaserat arbetssätt. Vi pratade om så upphetsande ämnen som:

Bild01

  • Coaching
  • Titlar och roller
  • Rekrytering
  • Lönesättning
  • Utvecklingssamtal
  • Kompetensutveckling

Här är mina slides från seminariet.

Customizing the Google Spreadsheet Story Card Generator

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At my current project we use a Google spreadsheet to manage our backlogs. This works really well for storing and sharing the backlog, but it’s not very good for visualizing it. So we print out the stories on cards by copying and pasting each row into a document table cell and reformatting, adding extra labels, and manually inserting priority. Well, that’s what we did the first couple of times, until I found David Vujic’s fantastic Index Card Generator for Google spreadsheets (http://davidvujic.blogspot.se/2011/06/visa-vad-du-gor-eller-dude-wheres-my.html).

Except, we have multiple backlogs in one sheet, our column names aren’t the same, and we use a different layout for the cards. Here’s how we customized David’s script! read more »

Visa att du verkligen kan programmera

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I det nya kapitlet “Hitta rätt folk – konsten att rekrytera” i boken Riv pyramiderna igen – agil HR from the ‘trenches'” skildrar jag hur vi skapade en för oss passande strategi och metod för att kunna rekrytera rätt folk till våra team. Här kan du läsa ett utdrag:

“Så vitt jag minns det kom förslaget till nästa initiativ från en diskussion om rekrytering med teamen. Minns jag rätt tyckte man att min utfrågning inte gav tillräcklig bra underlag för att verkligen förstå om kandidaterna var bra programmerare. Vi brukade förvisso be om arbetsprov, men många hade inga sådana av med tillräcklig verkshöjd och det var också svårt att utveckla någon form av rimliga kriterier som kunde användas att bedöma kodexempel av väldigt olika sort.
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