Henrik Kniberg

Henrik Kniberg

Continue reading: How a team of 2 kids + adult rookies won a Robot Sumo competition

How a team of 2 kids + adult rookies won a Robot Sumo competition

Last night our Lego Mindstorms robot “Robit” somehow managed to win the Robot Sumo competition at the GOTO conference in Copenhagen! (here’s also an article in Mälarö Tidning)

IMG_7700

Pretty frickin’ amazing considering that this was a big software development conference with lots of super-experienced developers competing, and our robot was mostly built by two kids – David and Jenny Kniberg (11yrs and 10yrs old) – the only kids at the conference.  Their robot didn’t just win once – it outmaneuvered and outwrestled the competing robots in every match!

Here’s the final, Robit to the left:

So how could a newbie team win the competition so decisively?

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Continue reading: 2nd edition of Scrum & XP from the Trenches – “Director’s Cut”

2nd edition of Scrum & XP from the Trenches – “Director’s Cut”

Guess what – I’ve updated Scrum and XP from the Trenches!

Scrum and XP from the Trenches 2nd edition

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Continue reading: No, I didn’t invent the Spotify model

No, I didn’t invent the Spotify model

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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Continue reading: Programming with kids & co-speaking with my son :)

Programming with kids & co-speaking with my son :)

Yesterday me and Dave (11 yrs) spoke together for the first time! We did a public talk at Spotify about how to help kids learn to program. We’ve been experimenting a lot with that in my family (4 kids to experiment with… muahahaha), and wanted to share some learnings. Worked out better than we could have hoped, considering all the risky tech demos and live coding involved 🙂

Shared the stage with teacher Frida Monsén who talked about how to get this kind of stuff into schools. Thanks Helena Hjertén for organizing this, and Spotify for hosting & sponsoring. Here’s an article in Computer Sweden about this event and our little “mod club”.

Here are the slides! They are in Swedish though. Might do an English version of this talk some day 🙂

Dave on Stage

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Continue reading: A3 problem solving template – now in Google Doc!

A3 problem solving template – now in Google Doc!

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

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Continue reading: Programming with kids using LearnToMod and Minecraft

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:

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Continue reading: Crisp DNA is now open source!

Crisp DNA is now open source!

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

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Continue reading: Focus. Slides from my keynote at BrewingAgile, Gothenburg

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. PDF version PPTX version Feel free to reuse 🙂 PS – here is a video of the entire talk.

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Continue reading: The value of focus training

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

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

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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Continue reading: Scrum saves lives

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

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Continue reading: 10 talks in 2 weeks! Here are the slides.

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! 4 internal talks at several large banks in Sydney Keynote at Scrum Australia, Sydney. Topic: “Scaling agile @ Spotify” (slides) Keynote at Trondheim Developer Conference.

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

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

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Continue reading: WIP and Priorities – how to get fast and focused!

WIP and Priorities – how to get fast and focused!

(Translations: French)

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.
Continue reading: Spotify Engineering Culture (part 2)

Spotify Engineering Culture (part 2)

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:

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Continue reading: Squad Health Check model – visualizing what to improve

Squad Health Check model – visualizing what to improve

(Download the cards & instructions as PDF or PPTX) At Spotify we’ve been experimenting a lot with various ways of visualizing the “health” of a squad, in order to help them improve and find systemic patterns across a tribe. Since a lot of people have been asking me about this, I wrote up an article

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Continue reading: Agile @ Scale (slides from Sony Mobile tech talk)

Agile @ Scale (slides from Sony Mobile tech talk)

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:  

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Continue reading: Hello managers, coaches, and other change agents

Hello managers, coaches, and other change agents

Here’s the thing. Suppose you introduce a change X to your workplace, and then business improves noticably. That doesn’t mean X caused the business to improve. Well, MAYBE it did. Or perhaps business improved for other reasons, and X was actually detrimental, and business would have improved even more without it. So did things work

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Continue reading: Focus – slides from my talk at Projektnäring

Focus – slides from my talk at Projektnäring

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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Continue reading: Spotify Engineering Culture (part 1)

Spotify Engineering Culture (part 1)

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

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Continue reading: Keynote slides from my Passion for Projects keynote

Keynote slides from my Passion for Projects keynote

Here are the slides for my Passion for Projects keynote Spotify – the unproject culture (+ failure story “How to burn €1 billion”).

So, now I’ve spent 2 days with 600 projects managers at a PMI conference. Totally different from the usual crowds I hang out with. Fascinating to hear stories about project management successes and failures in all kinds of industries – from warzone reconstruction projects to eurovision song contest.

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Continue reading: Dyr lärdom från PUST: hur undvika nya IT-fiaskon?

Dyr lärdom från PUST: hur undvika nya IT-fiaskon?

2010-2011 gjorde RPS en bra grej. De byggde ett system (Pust Java) som gjorde polisen mer effektiv. Poliserna fick datorer i sina bilar och kunde direkt registrera brott. Därmed behövde de inte åka in till stationen för att avrapportera lika ofta som med gamla systemet. Systemet var skräddarsytt för att ge hög användarnytta, och projektet blev en framgång. Pust Java blev finalist i CIO awards “project of the year 2011” och DN skrev en helsida “Polisen rapporterar betydligt snabbare med ny metod“. Systemet var inte perfekt, men en bra start. Poliserna sa att det var bättre än vad de hade innan, och folk var optimistiska inför systemets framtid.

Sedan hände något tragiskt. Istället för att vidareutveckla och kontinuerligt förbättra systemet, så valde ledningen att skapa ett nytt system från grunden (Pust Siebel) med undermålig teknik. Det blev ett fiasko. Ursinniga poliser klagade på att en avrapportering kunde ta flera timmar – “Pust Siebel gör en helt frustrerad och på gränsen till vansinnig!” – och saknade det gamla systemet. RPS hamnade i ett mediadrev. En poliskälla uppskattade samhällskostnaden till 10 miljarder kr!

Efter massiv kritik från både media, poliser, skyddsombudsmän och oberoende aktörer med insyn i projektet, beslutade RPS att lägga ner Pust Siebel.  Nu är det allt fler som förespråkar att Pust Java återinförs

Varför spenderar en myndighet hundratals miljoner på att bygga något bra, för att sedan spendera ytterligare hundratals miljoner på att byta ut det mot något dåligt? Ännu värre: varför gör man detta trots att hela IT-avdelningen visste, och högljutt påpekade från början, att det nya systemet skulle bli sämre?

Syftet med denna artikel är att belysa och sprida lärdomarna, så andra företag och myndigheter slipper göra om liknande dyra misstag.

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Continue reading: How we make decisions

How we make decisions

We are 35 people at Crisp now, and we are a decentralized organized with no managers. So how do decisions get made? This article is a direct translation of our internal wiki page “Hur vi tar beslut på Crisp” (how we make decisions at Crisp).

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Continue reading: Acceptance-Test Driven Development from the Trenches

Acceptance-Test Driven Development from the Trenches

Getting started with ATDD Have you ever been in this situation? Then this article is for you – a concrete example of how to get started with acceptance-test driven development on an existing code base. Read on.

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Continue reading: How I write (and why)

How I write (and why)

The purpose of this article is…
Actually, there is no purpose. There never is. I just write because I feel like it. Then I read the article and make up a purpose afterwards, and start eliminating anything in the article that doesn’t fit that purpose. But I won’t do that this time. Read on and you’ll understand why. By the way, this text is blue because it’s my second iteration. Black text is the original, first iteration. Here it is:

Let me tell you about my creative process. Every writer has a creative process. Otherwise they wouldn’t get anything written; well, at least not anything creative 🙂Continue reading

Continue reading: Good and Bad Technical Debt (and how TDD helps)

Good and Bad Technical Debt (and how TDD helps)

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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Continue reading: Culture > Process (Paris Scrum Gathering keynote)

Culture > Process (Paris Scrum Gathering keynote)

Here are the slides for my keynote “Culture > Process” at the Paris Scrum Gathering. Amazing level of enthusiasm in the room, seems like this kind of stuff was exacty what people were looking for. Happy to see the ideas take such strong hold!

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Continue reading: Agile event @ major swedish bank

Agile event @ major swedish bank

Yesterday I spent a very inspiring day with a big swedish bank, doing agile intros with 1200 people. We had developers, designers, testers, C-level execs, project leads, pretty much every role represented. The CEO opened with words about why they are determined to go all-out agile, and we had a speaker from another even bigger company describe their ongoing agile journey and amazing results so far. Very interesting. And best of all – no roadmap or other fake attempts at pretending that we know what the journey is going to look like. It was clear that this is a bumpy ride and that change will have to evolve gradually from bottom as well as from top.

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