Integrating Discovery & Delivery – Patterns that work

This is the second article in my series on integrating discovery and delivery. In the first article I outlined some common challenges I have seen holding organizations back from benefiting fully from both.

In this article I will introduce some patterns that will help you integrate product discovery and product delivery in a way that works. These patterns have all been field tested in practice.

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Integrating Discovery & Delivery – Common Challenges

Most organizations that I meet in my work are struggling to integrate product discovery and agile delivery in a simple practical way that works.

I will illustrate what I mean by giving you examples of a couple of very common issues.

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Continue reading: Comparison of three strategy alignment frameworks – OKRs, Spotify Rhythm and Art of Action Strategy Briefing

Comparison of three strategy alignment frameworks – OKRs, Spotify Rhythm and Art of Action Strategy Briefing

A downloadable version of this article can be found here.

One of the strongest management trends right now in companies striving towards Agile is undoubtedly OKRs, “Objectives and Key Results”.

But how do OKRs stack up against the alternatives when it comes to alignment frameworks? And what are the potential undesirable behaviors that come with them?

That is what I intend to explore in this article.

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Continue reading: Interview with Stephen Bungay on Strategy Execution and the gaps of OKR’s

Interview with Stephen Bungay on Strategy Execution and the gaps of OKR’s

Interview with Stephen Bungay on:
– What is the “Art of action” ?
– What is the differences/similarities to OKR’s?
– What organisational capabilities needs to be there, for alignment frameworks to really work?

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Continue reading: En definition av Agilt mindset

En definition av Agilt mindset

Vad är ett Agilt mindset och hur beskriver man det?

Det är en fråga jag fick finna svar på i och med det sista tillfället i Scrum Master programmet Mia Pilebro (agil coach på arbetsförmedlingen) och jag genomförde på Arbetsförmedlingen. Denna artikel beskriver den definition jag landade i, resonemanget bakom samt varför detta är viktigt då man förändrar en organisation mot en Agil kultur och arbetssätt. De definitioner jag hittade när jag sökte svar på frågan kändes inte kompletta, enligt mitt tycke. Efter diskussion med mina kollegor på Crisp, och med Mia, landade jag i en definition som består av ett antal påståenden, hållningar och en intention.

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Continue reading: Make OKRs and Forecasts come alive!

Make OKRs and Forecasts come alive!

Rigid detailed long-term plans, where progress is tracked based on consumed budgets, are in agile organizations quickly becoming a fading nostalgic memory of the past. They are replaced by forecasts and non-static roadmaps. Gather regularly in front of these visualizations and you will enable learning, sharing and trigger important conversations, resolve dependencies and invite to acts of servant leadership. Make your OKRs and Forecasts come alive!

In this blog I want to give examples of visualizations with accompanying recurring ceremonies. The visualization and accompanying ceremony enable sharing of progress and ensure that impediments and dependencies continuously are addressed and mitigated. It also turns the forecast into a conversation (as opposed to a fixed estimate captured in a project plan that is treated as a promise).

The core question the involved teams answer is:

“How confident do you feel that you will accomplish the Key Result before the end of this quarter?”

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Continue reading: Evolutionär förändring

Evolutionär förändring

Inledning

Ser jag tillbaka på mina år som konsult och coach på Crisp har det skett en rätt stor förändring i vilka typer av uppdrag vi får. Många organisationer möter en allt mer föränderlig omvärld med snabbfotade kunder; är de inte nöjda med det utbud som organisationen levererar går det till en konkurrent i stället. Det räcker inte längre med att enskilda team fungerar bättre; hela organisationer behöver förbättras för att nödvändiga effekter skall skapas. 

För att lyckas med förändringsarbetet behöver vi:

  • Utgå från att organisationer är komplexa system vilket kräver en organisk förändring snarare än ett plandrivet och mekaniskt sådan. 
  • Genomför förändringen evolutionärt drivet genom de hinder som teamen upplever, 
  • Successivt forma den struktur och arbetssätt som just den specifika organisationen bäst behöver för att leverera värde. 
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Continue reading: Anti-Agile Personalities – Part 2

Anti-Agile Personalities – Part 2

In my previous blog post I listed personalities on the management side that stood in the way of efficient, modern product development. In this post, I will cover some of the personalities you might find in the actual development teams.

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Continue reading: Efficient, effective and inclusive decision-making – A bold statement, a book and a video

Efficient, effective and inclusive decision-making – A bold statement, a book and a video

I hereby proclaim that; there are ONLY 10 different ways a decision can be made!

At least in a meeting with several participants.

Sorry for starting with this click baity statement. On the other hand – I haven’t been disproven so far. Regardless of if this is true or not, I believe that the art and skill of decision-making is an increasingly important topic. Why do I believe that?

In many organizations, I often encounter the assumption that a decision is either made by one person, or by a group that has discussed a proposal until everyone agrees. If this is actually true, your ability to conduct effective, efficient and inclusive decision-making is sadly limited. A rapidly increasing number of companies go agile, organizing people into a network of autonomous teams, supported by teams of managers and leaders.

Decision-making and ownership are decentralized to those closest to the problems and opportunities. Leadership is no longer manifested in hierarchies of individual accountability, but in interconnected layers of supportive leadership teams. Just as agile teams collaborate to delivering value to users and customers, so must the leadership collaborate when working, meeting and making decisions. A leadership team’s ability to reach a shared understanding through debates and discussions, explore options and then together decide on the best path forward – is crucial. The speed to decision and time to review and evaluate the impact will dictate your whole organization’s ability to quickly respond, learn, adapt and improve.

With this blog I hope to expand your toolbox and inspire you to experiment with a more varied approach to decision-making.

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Continue reading: Anti-Agile Personalities – Part 1

Anti-Agile Personalities – Part 1

The technology development is going in lightning speed nowadays and almost every company has at least 10 competitors who can offer their customers the same or better experiences or goods. This puts quite a lot of pressure on companies and organisations to be nimble and customer focused which in turn does the same on the people working for them. Certain traits have become more important in employees than before, whether it is management or development teams, such as trust, flexibility, passion, curiosity, ability to collaborate, humility, and innovativeness. It also means that personalities not defined by these traits that still worked very well in traditional, hierarchical organisations actually might be obstructing efficient development in modern organisations.

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Continue reading: Three Myths About Strategy

Three Myths About Strategy

Three Myths About Strategy, by Stephen “Art of Action” Bungay.

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Continue reading: How self driving car company AID builds its organisation using Agile – interview with the CEO

How self driving car company AID builds its organisation using Agile – interview with the CEO

How do you grow, innovate, and deliver – at the same time? AID (Audi’s unit for self-driving cars) uses Agile to build its organisation at the same pace as their product. We interviewed their CEO Karlheinz Wurm on why they have chosen to do so. We also sneaked in a question – how is it

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Continue reading: Health checks for Teams and Leadership

Health checks for Teams and Leadership

In this blog post I want to share a powerful tool, the Leadership Health Check. It will help you become stronger as a management team and reveal improvement opportunities for how you, as a team of active servant leaders, better can enable the agile teams you support.

But first, let’s take it from the beginning.

One of my favourite exercises in my toolbox as an agile coach is something I learned during my years at Spotify; the Squad Health Check. It’s a retrospectives format, a self-evaluation workshop, in which the teams express how they feel they’re doing on wide variety of topics such as collaboration, value of what is delivered, ability to influence, received organizational support, etc. The result generates insights and commitment to actions of improvement for both the team and the supporting leadership. I love it because I believe it’s a great tool for strengthening autonomy, culture and continuous learning.

More than a year ago, a colleague at Spotify Georgiana Laura Levinta and I created a health check for the leadership of our Tribe (Tribe is a semi-autonomous department at Spotify encapsulating 4-8 teams and with a dedicated set of leaders and managers). Geo and I were inspired by the Squad Health Check, but the goal with this adoptation was to help the Tribe’s managers perform a self-evaluation of their ability to provide active supportive leadership to the squads within the tribe, and to generate a discussion on how they can improve as a team to be able to provide even better support.

Since then, I have together with my current client Casumo, adopted this for their context, culture and beliefs. We’ve run it several times with great success and value, both with the company’s leadership team but also on cluster level (semi-autonomous department). I believe the Team Health Check and the Leadership Health Check both are tremendously powerful; hence I want to unleash them to the wider agile community, hoping that more organizations will find them valuable and useful. Or at least be inspired by them, and then try something totally different.

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Continue reading: The CTO Questions: 10 questions that help you gauge the current state of your tech operations

The CTO Questions: 10 questions that help you gauge the current state of your tech operations

Ever heard this conversation play out? Manager 1: “We should adopt scaling framework Y.” Manager 2: “But scaling framework Y doesn’t have a recipe for baking cookies. So we need to do X.” Manager 3: “Whut? You’re both wrong. We have Agile teams. We’re good!” In fact, each statement above can be wrong. So the

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Continue reading: Slides from Agile Islands 2018 -“Decision making under uncertainty”

Slides from Agile Islands 2018 -“Decision making under uncertainty”

Åland has one of the coolest visions out there – build an Agile society. They also arrange Agile Islands, a small conference but with sharp content. This year I had the pleasure to speak, so I decided to shed some light on “Decision making under uncertainty”, which is a fascinating subject. Here are the slides. Cheres

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Continue reading: Meet Enspiral, Crisp’ long-lost cousin

Meet Enspiral, Crisp’ long-lost cousin

Meet Enspiral, with the inspiring purpose of “More people working on stuff that matters”. This autumn I finally got to meet Joshua Vial from Enspiral when he and his colleague Susan Basterfield visited Stockholm for keynoting at the Agile People Sweden Conference.  This was the first time Joshua visited us but Susan, I had already had the privilege to get to know last year when we hosted a workshop at Crisp on the Enspiral European tour.

Joshua Vial and Susan Basterfield from Enspiral

After the conference, I had a chance to sit down with Joshua and Susan to chat about Enspiral, social entrepreneurship, doing things that matters and the future of work. As we sat down and chatted and realized that we are a tribe of changemakers separated at birth, or at very least sharing latent strands of DNA. How else can you explain the exquisite similarities of two entrepreneurial collectives from the polar opposites of the planet? Crisp and Enspiral are like long-lost cousins. We are both two companies with a belief that there are better ways of organizing and leading work than the traditional way.

These new ways are based on principles of self-management, agility, openness, and participation. We believe organizations like this are more rewarding and purposeful for the people working in them. This will lead to that people’s potential are freed up to do more good and impactful things in the world.

 

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Continue reading: Using the 7 deadly sins to motivate your workforce

Using the 7 deadly sins to motivate your workforce

So your organisation is going ”agile” and talking about ”collaborations” between teams? You, as the big boss, are starting to feel powerless and not in control of the efficiency of YOUR teams? Let me give some tips on how to turn that around so all progress can be traced back to you. I mean, as their mighty leader, you do deserve all the credit for their work.

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Continue reading: Trading control for great products – the Telia TV team example

Trading control for great products – the Telia TV team example

Adapting to accelerating change

In a world where the speed of change seems to accelerate almost exponentially, it is only natural that an organization’s way of working must be constantly challenged and improved – especially in the highly competitive media business.

This text, which was inspired by winning an award (we will return to that), is the outcome of a joint effort between Michael Göthe, Agile Coach at Crisp, and Jens Abrahamsson, Agile Coach at Telia Company’s TV & Media Backend department. In it, we describe parts of the always-ongoing journey towards a more lean and agile way of working at the Telia TV team.

As always when looking back at a complex change process it is not possible to copy what we did but our intention is to share useful learnings, practices, and tools that can inspire you on your change journey, in your context.

Jens at Telia TV Team Common (Big-room) Planning

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Continue reading: New Jimmy Cards in the making  – Blue and Black Deck

New Jimmy Cards in the making – Blue and Black Deck

Note: Access to Google Docs and Feedback has been disabled.

Back in 2013 I created a deck of cards with questions for the agile team, called “Jimmy Cards”. The questions on the cards were designed to ignite exciting discussion for teams to get to know each other and grow as a team.

I’ve received so much great feedback and appreciation over the years since. This feedback inspired me to create two more decks, the Black Deck and the Blue Deck. The Black Deck is for mature agile teams. The Blue Deck for leadership teams.

These have been in the working for over a year now but now I feel it’s time I wrap up my work and print them. I’m however not confident on the level of quality just yet, so this blog is a plead for help.

Black and Blue Deck

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Continue reading: The iZettle Example: Decentralized Tech Development In Practice (Case Study)

The iZettle Example: Decentralized Tech Development In Practice (Case Study)

Don’t stand in the way of great employees.
That’s one of the operational mantras that guide the finance technology company iZettle.
Two others are “Keep the startup spirit strong” and “Stay adaptable to changing market needs.”
In this blog post, we share some of the things we are implementing and tweaking at iZettle to keep producing great results and attracting in-demand, talented developers. My role has been to assist the tech development organization in making this work.
(Another blog post coming soon will cover the transformation of making the whole company agile, while this post focus on the practices that are put in place to keep a high performing, decentralized tech development organization at iZettle.)
Let’s begin by facing the reality of fast-growing startups.

DevOps

The organizational challenges for most fast-growing startups
Most startups want a flat organization to keep their entrepreneurial juices flowing, but when new employees join in a steady stream there eventually comes the point where the founders or upper management feel overwhelmed by chaos.
Things get confusing.
Employees aren’t seen.
No one seems to know what’s going on.
What usually happens for most start-ups at this point is that bureaucracy processes start piling up. Layers of management are added, and project managers are introduced to coordinate the chaotic environment. And so are written reports for managers to send to upper management, and silos are building up between different departments. And decisions are taken somewhere else.
And then what happens?
Usually, entrepreneurial enthusiasm suffers and so does talent motivation and speed of innovation.
And that is exactly what iZettle wants to prevent.
But that is easier said than done when a company grows like a wildfire.

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Continue reading: Transforming the pyramid to an agile org

Transforming the pyramid to an agile org

I recently published a video exploring how an agile team based organization could look like. How does it function under the hood? In the video I also discussed how you get there.

I got tons of great feedback so I decided to provide the contents of the video in the format of a blog. If you prefer to read instead of watching a 11-minute-long video, then this is for you 🙂

AgileOrg

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Continue reading: Scrum med flera team

Scrum med flera team

screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-11-14-43

Att organisera flera Scrum team görs på en hel del olika sätt. Här beskriver vi likheter och skillnader mellan några av de ramverk som vi har stött på hos våra kunder och utbildare, LeSS, SAFe och Scrum@Scale.

Gemensamt för LeSS, SAFe och Scrum@Scale

I alla tre ramverken utgår man från att man i botten har vanliga Scrum-team som är tvärfunktionella och självorganiserande.

Man utgår också från att vi alltid försöker bryta ner kraven vertikalt, så att varje inkrement blir så litet som möjligt men ändå kan driftsättas separat.

Underförstått är även att man kör kontinuerlig integration och automatiserad regressionstestning, och  att man efter varje sprint har en produkt som går att driftsätta ifall man så väljer.

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Continue reading: Stephen Bungay on Agile Strategy

Stephen Bungay on Agile Strategy

Last month, we had the pleasure of bringing Stephen Bungay to Crisp in Stockholm to share with us his wisdom and insights on how to use Strategy under uncertain conditions. I find this topic interesting, since the interative nature of Agile can trick management into believing either that they do not need to have a

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Continue reading: Riding a backwards bicycle – Keynote at Agile Islands 2016

Riding a backwards bicycle – Keynote at Agile Islands 2016

The Agile ambition at Åland (a group of Islands between Sweden and Finland) is quite astonishing.  Besides being home to a bunch of cutting edge tech companies (who have been using Agile at Scale for 8+ years), they are also experimenting with using Agile in their society. Hm, Sweden suddenly feels sooo 90’s.. I had the privilege to keynote at their first Agile conference

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Continue reading: Alignment at Scale – slides from my Agile Africa keynote

Alignment at Scale – slides from my Agile Africa keynote

Here are the slides from my Agile Africa keynote Alignment at Scale (or How to Not become Totally Unagile when you have Lots of Teams). Thanks for a great conference!

And thanks everyone for the Emma greeting, that sure made an 8 year girl very happy 🙂

(Emma was supposed to join me on this trip, but couldn’t make it because I had missed some required paperwork for travelling with minors to South Africa).

Agile Alignment at Scale

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Continue reading: Introducing Lottie Knutson – speaker at Fastfeedback 2016

Introducing Lottie Knutson – speaker at Fastfeedback 2016

During extraordinary situations and crises, some people stand out and shine. One of these was Lottie Knutson. Lottie led the Crisis team at Fritidsresor during the Tsunami disaster in 2004. While governments were struggling to figure out what had happened, Lottie’s team was already hitting the ground running. Lottie will be speaking at Fast Feedback

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Continue reading: More with LeSS: The Third Large-Scale Scrum Book

More with LeSS: The Third Large-Scale Scrum Book

Based on the experiences with clients adopting Large-Scale Scrum, from 2007 to 2009 Bas Vodde and I wrote the first two books on LeSS:

  1. Scaling Lean & Agile Development: Thinking and Organizational Tools for Large-Scale Scrum
  2. Practices for Scaling Lean & Agile Development: Large, Multisite, and Offshore Product Development with Large-Scale Scrum

These are a collection of experiments related to Large-Scale Scrum, organized into three major sections: experiments in thinking tools, organizational tools, and action (practice or technique) tools.

And now, almost a decade after starting our first book on scaling agile development, comes our third book: Large-Scale Scrum: More with LeSS.

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Continue reading: Slides from “Agile at scale”

Slides from “Agile at scale”

Here are the slides from our evening event Agile at scale that took place at Crisp on May 11th. Thanks everyone who attended for making this a great evening event!

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Continue reading: 12 seemingly normal things Agile people do

12 seemingly normal things Agile people do

Last week, I got this great question from Faraz (a manager for an energetic customer support crew) who is experimenting a lot with getting more Agile. “What seemingly normal things do Agile people do?” I realized that we rarely talk about the small things that effective Agile people do. What makes a great difference is rarely the big sweeping change programs, but rather, the small everyday things we do without thinking about it.

So here’s a list of 12 seemingly normal things Agile people do which we don’t pay much attention to that can make a big difference.

Whiteboard problem solving

Agile Behaviours - Whiteboard

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Continue reading: Better meetings with the Core Protocols

Better meetings with the Core Protocols

Core Protocols Stack helps shaping better meetings
Core Protocols Stack helps shaping better meetings

Good meetings is very much about achieving deep collaboration. But collaboration is often hard. We go into meetings with different modes, intentions, and expectations. How can we make meetings both more fun and energetic? Surprisingly enough: maybe by being more formalized.
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