Tag Archives: lean

Planning as a social event – scaling agile at LEGO

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The past couple of years I’ve been travelling back and forth to LEGO’s HQ in Billund Denmark, helping out with their agile journey. Super interesting! Learned more than we could ever fit in an article, but here’s an attempt to capture at least some of it, written together with LEGO colleague and co-instigator Eik Thyrsted Brandsgård. Enjoy!

Planning as a social event – scaling agile @ LEGO

Agile @ Lego

 

Fluent@agile – visualizing your way of working

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Help your team improve by visualizing their way working with the fluent@agile game. With the game you can help a team find out where it is on its agile journey and help it find new ways of both fine tuning and make leaps in their daily agile practices.

Fluent@agile board

A teams fluent@agile board.

Me and Christian Vikström made the game together at Spotify during the spring 2014 when we were coaching and helping team to improve their agile skill sets and processes.

At Spotify the teams owns their own way of working. A team is basically only accountable to itself. We therefore needed an coaching tool that could help team take ownership of their self image and improvement strategy.

We also wanted the tool to be opinionated. It should be normative, tell what’s good and not, what kind of practices and behaviour that’s expected and not. But at the same time it should be open to new ideas, new practices and the teams local conditions.

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Scaling Agile @ Lego – our journey so far (slides from LeanTribe keynote)

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UPDATE Dec 2016: Wrote an article about LEGO’s agile journey, see here. Includes all of the material below, plus explanations and updates.

Here are the slides for my Lean Tribe keynote Scaling Agile @ Lego – our journey so far.

Here’s also a more detailed version from a talk that Lars Roost and I did at GOTO conference in Copenhagen: is SAFe Evil (that talk was also recorded).

This is just a brief snapshot of a journey in progress, not a journey completed 🙂

Sample slides below.

This doesn't scale read more »

Real World Kanban – now on Amazon

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My new Kanban case book now ships from Amazon (as hardcover or in Kindle format).

new book: "Real World Kanban"Learn how we:

  • Improved the full value chain by using Enterprise Kanban.
    (Find out how we improved time to market and shifted focus from Sprints to Flow to deliver customer value in a traditional company.)
  • Boosted engagement, teamwork, and flow in change management and operations.
  • Saved a derailing project with Kanban.
  • Helped an office team outside IT keep up with growth using Kanban.

Inside each case story, you’ll find guerilla techniques on how we made improvements happen (including cases where we #failed). I also walk through why focusing on “improving IT” can make you miss your biggest improvement opportunity (the front end part of your value stream) as well as the 5 system “enablers” that guided our long term improvements.

Get “Real World Kanban” from:

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.

Book release: Real World Kanban

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My new book – “Real World Kanban” is now available. Here’s the plot in a nutshell:

What happens when Kanban is used in real projects? Kanban has few rules, but an infinite number of strategies. What seems easy in theory can become tangled in practice. So there’s nothing like learning from real world cases. Learn how we:

  • Improved the full value chain by using Enterprise Kanban.
    (Find out how we improved time to market and shifted focus from Sprints to Flow to deliver customer value in a traditional company.)
  • Boosted engagement, teamwork, and flow in change management and operations.
  • Saved a derailing project with Kanban.
  • Helped an office team outside IT keep up with growth using Kanban.

Inside each case story, you’ll find guerilla techniques on how we made improvements happen (including cases where we #failed). I also walk through why focusing on “improving IT” can make you miss your biggest improvement opportunity (the front end part of your value stream) as well as the 5 system “enablers” that guided our long term improvements.

Sounds interesting?  You can get “Real World Kanban” from:

new book: "Real World Kanban"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cheers

Mattias

A3 problem solving template – now in Google Doc!

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I’ve finally gotten around to porting the A3 template to Google Doc. Who wants to send around MS Word docs and PDFs? Bah. Put the doc in the cloud instead, where everyone can see and edit together. Or print the template and do it by hand.

Curious about A3 problem solving? See the FAQ.

Here’s a direct link to the template.

A3 template

Enjoy!

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.

read more »

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.

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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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.

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.

read more »

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:

read more »

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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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:

Förbättra från start till mål

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I denna video berättar jag om vikten av att se till end-to-end ledtid och att den största förbättringspotentialen hos en organisation med Agila team ofta ligger i  stegen innan utveckling påbörjas.

(for english readers: In this video I tell about the importance of improving end-to-end lead time –  not only think about the development portion of it)

Video from “Improving the full value chain using Lean” @ LKCE 2013

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lkce_mattias

I had the privilege of both attending and speaking at Lean Kanban Central Europe (LKCE) in 2013.  (Awesome conference). In my talk I share insights and techniques useful when improving the full value chain, across functions in a software product organization.

Here’s a video on my talk.

read more »

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.

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 »

Enterprise kanban – improving the full value chain using Lean thinking

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What happens when we apply kanban across the full value chain?  What if you are a traditional company, how far can you improve before organizational structures becomes your key constraint? Can you make great products in a multi team scenario without product owners and project managers?

Let me share with you our learning of applying Enterprise kanban in a traditional company.

What we found:

  • We improve time to market by 2x in 1.5 year
  • 95% of shipped product ideas reported value adding
  • We delivered our products without use of Product Owners, Project managers or a Project Office
    (we did however have a marketing function, so another way to put it – it can allow product people to spend more time out with customers)
  • Enterprise kanban, Concepts, collaborative design and facilitation were our main tools

Read the full case study here.

As always, always make sure you use ideas wisely in your context. Never copy, always improve.

Cheers

Mattias Skarin

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

Slides from Lean & Kanban Netherlands 2013

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It’s a busy week! But could not resist beautiful Utrecht region and Lean Kanban Netherlands with focus “Modern management methods”.

Here are my slides from the A3 Workshop, where my goal was to let the participants experience some of the upsides and downsides of using A3 in problem solving knowledge work  (hint: you will need more than A3..). I wanted to elaborate on the complimentary useful tools for complex, fast  paced scenarios (hint: you can do better than “just swarming”) – maybe next time! 🙂

Slides from Agile Eastern Europe 2013

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Met a great crowd in Kiev at Agile Eastern Europe. I’d love to stay longer!

Here are the slides on my presentation on Visualization – what’s my brain got to do with it.

Slides from Lean Kanban France 2013

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Just back from Paris (gotta love that town, many good memories there 🙂

I did my first presentation on Concepts.  Here are the slides.

/Mattias