Tag Archives: kanban

The impact on quality and predictability of Agile and XP

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

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

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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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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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Det är inte bara din ScrumMaster som behöver förstå vad “agile” är!

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Återigen har ni diskussionen om “working software over comprehensive documentation” verkligen betyder att man inte behöver dokumentera någonting alls. Eller diskussionen om det är ok att förlänga sprinten med några dagar för att hinna klart den sista fixen på den där storyn. Eller diskussionen om vad det egentligen innebär att vara “lean”. Känner du igen dig? Kan det vara så att alla har nytta av att ha samma grundförståelse av centrala begrepp i och runt “agile”? Läs vidare för ett enkelt sätt att skaffa den kunskapen! read more »

Nytt matigt kapitel till Riv pyramiderna igen

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På ett bräde blev boken Riv pyramiderna igen dubbelt så tjock (222 sidor) med det nya kapitlet “En organisation utan huvud – en agil odyssé“. I den gör vi en historisk, praktiskt och teoretisk resa från apache-indianerna, över Ford, Toyota, Lean, Scrum, Agile, flödeseffektivitet, Hegel, Kant, hur det påverkade oss och mycket mer. Slutstation:en massiv förfyttning av makt till den agila organismen – teamen. Här är underrubrikerna:

  • När Sloan slängde ut Drucker och barnen med badvattnet
  • Kunden i centrum – från Österike till Japan
  • En agil kunskapsteori
  • Scrum – Toyota för programmerare
  • Kontinuerlig förbättring – kunskapen finns på golvet
  • Kult av kvalitet – människan i maskinen
  • Stoppa bandet – och bygg in kvaliteten
  • Vid behov – skapa drag
  • Ibland är det bättre att gå hem – eller vad är flödeseffektivitet?
  • Jobba i lag – ta bort alla köer
  • Motivation – Purpose, Autonomy, Mastery och så lite umgänge
  • Scrum och flödeseffektivitet
  • Kanban i mjukvaruutveckling – utveckla din egen process
  • Rätt sak, på rätt, sätt regelbundet – en agil formel
  • Gro en smidig kultur – med fraser
  • Lägg till lite kaos för innovation
  • Hypertextorganisationen – centralt skelett, distribuerad hjärna

Köp den nu, den blir aldrig billigare

Good and Bad Technical Debt (and how TDD helps)

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Technical Debt is usually referred to as something Bad. One of my other articles The Solution to Technical Debt certainly implies that, and most other articles and books on the topic are all about how to get rid of technical debt.

But is debt always bad? When can debt be good? How can we use technical debt as tool, and distinguish between Good and Bad debt?

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MIKE – The Daily Meeting Microphone

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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 :-)

Slides from Dare – “Visualization, what’s my brain got to do with it?”

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Just got back from DARE conference in Belgium.  I don’t know how Maarten makes it happen, but I always leave with more ideas than I had when I came.

I ran a session on visualization – highlighting our brains limited capacity capture and record knowledge (and what to think of when using visualization).
An amazingly interesting subject. I also introduce five lenses to visual work which (you as coach) can choose to apply in the order the organization is capable of  learning from it Room was packed which always warms a presenters hart.

Enough talking, here are the slides!

10 Kanban board and their context – updated!

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Added a visualization combining architecture with progress follow up for more complex product development scenarios.

Visualizing progress by architecture

You’ll find the complete collection of boards here!



Kanban and Scrum – now in Swedish translation

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Kanban and Scrum book is now available in Swedish translation, you can download from InfoQ here

Thanks to Johan Natt och Dag!

Agile India slides

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Agile India 2013 in Bangalore. Wow, what an awesome conference! I was amazed by the energy level of the participants, spent hours talking to people about all kinds of really interesting challenges. Based on the fully packed rooms and incredible feedback, it seems like my talks were exactly the kind of information people were looking for. Feels great to be able to help!

I also managed to squeeze in a site visit to a local development center, and discuss their agile implementation. Always fun to jump into trenches and see what is going on out there.

Anyway here are the slides from my presentations:

Thanks for a great time everyone!

Agile Software Development Slides

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I gave a talk to a group of mechatronics students at KTH (Royal Institute of Technology) today. The topic was agile software development with an emphasis on Scrum, and some information about Kanban and Lean Startup. Here are the slides:

Scaling Agile @ Spotify with Tribes, Squads, Chapters & Guilds

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(UPDATE: see Spotify Engineering Culture, two short animated videos showing how we work)

Dealing with multiple teams in a product development organization is always a challenge!

One of the most impressive examples I’ve seen so far is Spotify. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Spotify on and off ever since the company was founded, and it’s one of the few companies I’ve seen with a truly agile culture. Spotify has grown a lot lately and now has hundreds of developers divided into 30 agile teams spread over 4 cities in 3 timezones. So how is this managed?

Check out the article: Scaling Agile @ Spotify with Tribes, Squads, Chapters and Guilds. I wrote it together with Anders Ivarsson, one of the agile coaches that I’m working with (Spotify has a truly awesome group of coaches!).


A kanban coach’s day at the office

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Aaaaaah…  Nice.

*Dumdi dum di dum*


.. what?

Ah! I can walk around and pull from the other side!  *clever* :)



Not always easy being a kanban coach :-)

Lean from the Trenches @ Øredev

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Here are the slides for my talk “Lean from the Trenches” at Øredev, Malmö. And here is the book/ebook, in case you want more details. There may also be some copies left at the conference bookstore.

Thanks for attending!

Agile Product Ownership in a nutshell

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This is basically a 1 day product ownership course compressed into a 15 minute animated presentation.

There’s obviously more to product ownership than this, so see this is a high level summary.

Special thanks to Alistair Cockburn, Tom & Mary Poppendieck, Jeff Patton, Ron Jeffries, Jeff Sutherland, and Michael Dubakov for providing many of the models, metaphors, and ideas that I use in this presentation.

Translations: (see also the translation guide by Cédric Chevalerias)

Below is a full transcript in english. But I recommend watching the video instead of reading the transcript. The video is 100% visual, the transcript is 0% visual…

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Slides from Lean & Kanban Central Europe 2012

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Just back from a great conference – LKCE 2012 -  and a great town – Vienna. A really cool thing was the illustrator who worked around the clock to visualize how he interpreted the difference presentations. He did a great job (see below).

Learning from charts LKCE 2012

What would you do – learning from charts

I challenge the audience to figure out “what should happen next” and then tell the story what really happened.

Improving flow from marketing to production

A case story of how we used kanban to tie together a full value stream across four functions. It might be interesting to notice that we used component teams + we don’t use product owners or project managers. While we are still learning,  I do think we have some interesting findings so far.

From Jira to Trello

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For the past couple of years I’ve had to work with Jira. Really, it’s mostly been dreading working with Jira. At both projects I’ve had Greenhopper available, and that hasn’t really made things better. My frustrations have had to do with the complexity of setting up the right fields, to creating a new sprint to creating a new project, down to mundane things like problems with ranking. I don’t particularly enjoy spending hours just tidying up my data. I want to quickly organize so I have time to actually work. I also want to easily see how much work we’ve done, and how much we have to do. Cards and a physical board are great for this, but I end up with stacks of cards everywhere, and after several sprints I don’t know what to do with them anymore. Enter Trello! read more »

Lean from the Trenches keynote @ AgileEE, Kiev

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Here are the slides for my keynote “Lean from the Trenches” at Agile Eastern Europe, Kiev. And here is the book/ebook, in case you want more details. Thanks for attending!

Everybody wants Change – but nobody likes to Be Changed

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Here are the slides from my Ale2012 keynote: Everybody wants Change – but nobody likes to Be Changed.

Thanks for coming!

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Lean from the Trenches @ Agile2012, Dallas

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Here are the slides for my talk “Lean from the Trenches” at Agile2012. And here is the book/ebook, in case you want more details (unfortunately sold out in the conference bookstore). Thanks for attending!

The Kanban Accreditation scheme and why choose to be involved

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Last month market the launch of the Kanban Accreditation scheme.  Let’s give our view including why we have chosen to engage ourselves as members of the advisory board.

Why the Kanban accreditation scheme?
Kanban is a word that needs meaning. So what meaning do we want people to connect with the word? This matters (to us..) . Stumbling upon about kanban classes declaring it will help you “resource optimize”  it makes me think there is a need. (To any unfamiliar reader.. kanban helps you improve flow, quite a different thing..)

Any accredited class will contain some core messages that we care to share. The best way we could think of to make sure that messages is good was to engage ourselves in the process :)

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10 kanban boards and their context – version 1.2

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Release manager kanban board

I’ve updated the ol’ 10 kanban board samples.  Some additions:

  • From marketing to released product – sample kanban board
  • Release manager kanban
  • Operations – online platform maintenance

You’ll find the kanban samples here.


ps: new link! If you get “file is damaged” – try to reload page once.

Intro to Kanban – slides from Leaders of Agile webinar

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Here are my Kanban Intro slides from my Leaders of Agile webinar together with Kent Beck and Aslam Khan on Oct 27. Thanks for participating!

BTW when I did this presentation I was sitting in a small hotel room in Tokyo with 4 sleeping kids. Due to timezone differences it was the middle of the night. Fortunately nobody woke up :)

Sample slides:

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Tokyo Scrum Gathering keynote: Everybody wants Change, but nobody likes to Be Changed

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Here are the slides for my Tokyo Scrum Gathering keynote “Everybody wants Change, but nobody likes to be changed“. Thanks for attending!

Sample slides:

Slides from ReForum Zurich

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Back from Zurich. I presented at the ReForum, a gathering for requirement engineers and product owners, arranged by SAQ. My topic was “Exploring requirement options with kanban” and more specific, what you can do if you do have a more complex development scenario (ie. large customer base, not just one team..)

I always enjoy coming back with some fresh ideas and in my case it was the “world coffee”. I liked the balance between facilitation and curiosity.

World Coffee in action

Wold coffee

Even I got a vote! :)

even I got a vote :)

Anyway, here are the slides!

Properties of a good daily stand-up

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I had a conversation with some of my colleagues about what makes a good daily stand-up, here are some properties:

  • Time-boxed (15 minutes)
  • Everyone is engaged
  • Synchronization is taking place
  • Attention to problems
  • People ask for help
  • The conversation is about stuff that matters to most people, individual issues are postponed
  • Anyone can lead the meeting, not just the Scrum Master / Team Coach
  • The meeting is the starting point for the day, afterwards everyone feels energized and can start working right away
  • Ends with a punch that marks the end of the meeting and the start of the day*

* The team has dumbells by the scrum board. The rule is that if you feel the current speaker is monopolizing the meeting, you can hand the speaker a dumbell. Now the speaker can keep talking only as long as they can hold up the dumbbell with an outstretched arm.

Upcoming events Autumn 2011

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Here is a short of events where I’ll teach or speak this autumn:

Ps:  Hope to be able to spend one day at least at Less 2011, right at the doorstep. Would like to learn more about beyond budgeting.

Slides from Devcon11

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Just back from Devcon11 where I presented on techniques to improve flow.
There is plenty to say here so had to limit the material in some way. Hope to come back to this subject again in the future.

Anyway, here are the slides

Webinar on Lean software development July 20

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I’m doing a free webinar tomorrow together with Kent Beck & Aslam Khan. The topic is Lean software development, with some real-life examples and interesting discussions. I will be sharing some experiences with scaling kanban to larger projects.

Join us! Here is the registration link.

Wednesday July 20 at 1pm EDT, 10am PDT, 7pm Stockholm time.

Kent BeckAslam KhanHenrik Kniberg