The Lead-Squad Protocol

How to successfully drive initiatives, objectives or opportunities that require several squads (or teams) to succeed? How to do this in a way that respects the agile mindset without falling into the command-and-control trap? Today, this problem is more complex than it seems. We’ve designed and built our squads for self-organization and autonomy in the

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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: Making Sense of Product Discovery: Two Playbooks Anyone Can Use

Making Sense of Product Discovery: Two Playbooks Anyone Can Use

The room was packed. Erin, the Product Manager, had called for an emergency meeting. The product they had just launched wasn’t meeting expectations. Erin stated with a determined voice: “We need to do more Discovery”. The room went quiet.

With confused looks, the team glanced at each other: “What does she really mean?”. “What does she mean by ‘Discovery?’”.

Perhaps this scenario resonates with you. A situation where the term “Discovery” is used, but it’s difficult to discern what it actually entails.

To be fair, the term Product Discovery is ambiguous.

My intention with this article is to try to demystify what Product Discovery is and to give you two Playbooks you can use.

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Continue reading: Design Studio Facilitation

Design Studio Facilitation

Design studios are useful for helping a group of people converge on an idea. This post provides a PDF presentation for facilitating a design studio workshop, including an additional optional section for refining ideas when the desired result is to generate multiple ideas. The general pattern is:

  • Generate ideas
  • Present
  • Get feedback
  • Refine and converge the ideas
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Continue reading: Understand the Essence of Your Product

Understand the Essence of Your Product

In my prior blog, I shared that the Product Canvas is a tool anchoring a shared understanding of your product. Part 1 of the canvas provides contextual and strategic information. Part 2 summarizes the key compositional element of your product requirements using the 7 Product Dimensions.

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Continue reading: Know Your Product with the Product Canvas

Know Your Product with the Product Canvas

What is your product?

If you ask your product development team members, product managers or owners, colleagues in finance, service or operations, marketing, sales, compliance, and all the other departments and teams that make up your organization, would they agree?

It might surprise you to realize that for many organizations, not everyone has clarity around something so fundamental. I’ve developed a Product Canvas to address this issue. The canvas also helps product managers or owners proactively steer their products.

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Continue reading: Need help refining your backlog and finding small MVPs?

Need help refining your backlog and finding small MVPs?

I guess you, like the most of us, have a problem breaking work down to small but still valuable pieces and that your MVP (minimal viable product) is more or less the same as the project scope. If you recognize yourself in this than keep reading.

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Continue reading: Assumption assistance with Impact Mapping

Assumption assistance with Impact Mapping

As a product owner, your job is to make assumptions, or hypotheses. (Hypothesis-driven product discovery, anyone?) You assume that your priorities will be the best outcome, the shortest time to market or something else. But how good are your assumption when it comes to reality? Did that sale increase occur and was it thanks to your great mind or just pure luck? Do people around you understand and help you with your assumptions? Impact mapping is a lightweight tool that helps you with quantifying and communicating your assumptions.

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Continue reading: UX – It’s obvious, right?: Part 3

UX – It’s obvious, right?: Part 3

In the talk I gave at Agila Sverige in June, I brought up misconceptions about UX I’ve encountered during my years in the IT business. One of these is that it’s only the UX people (and possibly the PO) who need to meet the users. In this post I’ll discuss why this not true, but also how meeting the users can make a real difference in focus and motivation for the team.

It's not only UXers who need to meet the users!

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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: Slides from “Passion for projects 2017”

Slides from “Passion for projects 2017”

Today I met a crowd I do not bump in to all that often; project managers. I decided to share insights from Agile projects, stretching from Hospitals to Digitilization, how they simplified and speeded up their pre-studies. Learning how to do so well, helps avoiding the “we have to speed up implementation, to make up

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Continue reading: The Minimum Loveable Product

The Minimum Loveable Product

I recently attended a course (the excellent LeanUX course held by my colleague Martin Christensen) and again the topic of what a MVP is or is not came up in a discussion. In the Lean startup-world an MVP is defined as the smallest thing you can make to validate a hypothesis which helps you decide if you should continue developing something or if you should stop. For more information about this, I suggest you read Eric Ries’ blog post on the topic. However, in (very) many companies and organisations the term is used to describe the first version of a product released to the end customers. This “version one release MVP” usually contains as little functionality and features as is possible without making the end customers too upset, disappointed or unwilling to pay.

Another colleague of mine, Henrik Kniberg, wrote a quite thorough and lengthy blog post about MVPs a while back where he touched upon the point I’m about to make. While quite a few people see the different uses of the word MVP as problematic, I see it as a symptom of a need for a better word for describing at least one of its currently used meanings, i.e. the “version one release MVP”. Luckily enough a good friend and coworker gave me the answer to that need a few years ago: He called the first release of the hardware product we were working on at the time the “Minimum Loveable Product”.

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Continue reading: Hur Karlstad sjukhus byggdes på tid och budget med Agila kontrakt

Hur Karlstad sjukhus byggdes på tid och budget med Agila kontrakt

Karlstad sjukhus har i flera omgångar byggts om och byggt ut. Samtliga hus har levererats på tid, budget och med en fungerande vårdverksamhet från dag 1. Sjukhuset har sparat 300 miljoner åt Värmlands läns landsting. Lösningen? Effektstyrd upphandling med Agila kontrakt och Partnering. Vad skapade förutsättningarna för att lyckas? Vi intervjuade Lars Nilsson, som ledde upphandlingen av Karlstad sjukhus.

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Continue reading: Value: The Lynchpin in Agile Product Management

Value: The Lynchpin in Agile Product Management

You’d think the topic of value would be straightforward when it comes to agile product management and ownership. After all, early and continuous delivery of value is the first principle in the Agile Manifesto and product backlogs need to refined based on value.

And yet, value is not easily defined, qualified, quantified, or agreed upon.

With many smart, experienced folks together at the Agile Product Open last month, I decided it would be informative to propose the topic “Value: The Whats, Whys, and Hows” in the marketplace of ideas.

To start the conversation, I offered my favorite definition, borrowed from the Value Standard: fair return or equivalent, in goods, services, or money, for something exchanged. From there, our conversation grew richer and deeper.

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Continue reading: #slowtofast podcast with Nordnet CIO Dennis

#slowtofast podcast with Nordnet CIO Dennis

Hi! I recently did a podcast together with Dennis (CIO Nordnet) on #slowtofast. I walked into the podcast thinking it was going to be about Kanban and Enterprise Agile. Right! 🙂 Dennis hit me with these simple questions.. The essential elements of proper Product Management The management principles of an Agile leader How the Swedish culture is

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Continue reading: Continuous Discovery and Validation

Continuous Discovery and Validation

Continuous discovery means an open backlog where everything is considered speculation and hypothesis. Continuous validation means that the user experience is validated for each release, rather than up front. This may sound like big budget to you, but let me give you a case study, about how a single team accomplished it on a tight budget.

A small team with a small budget has the advantage of not losing its head with big ideas from experts in different fields, be it architecture or user experience. The budget constraint sharpens your effort in a way that could be healthy even to a larger team.

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Continue reading: Impact Mapping – the developer’s cut

Impact Mapping – the developer’s cut

Do you, a developer, have a feeling that the user stories your product owner is but a list of ideas prioritized on gut feeling only? That the relationship between them and their purpose are vague? Impact Mapping is an agile conversational tool by Gojko Adzic that may be primarily for product owners but hey, a developer needs a purpose too!

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Continue reading: How do you develop awesome products?

How do you develop awesome products?

For  this year’s Stop Starting conference, we asked ourselves three questions: How do you develop awesome products? How do you bootstrap a successful mega project using Agile contracts? How do you use Agile and Lean thinking to turn a stagnant company around? We then picked the brains of people from real companies who have been

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Continue reading: Slides from Hookedfest

Slides from Hookedfest

Just back from Hookedfest – a conference for product people. It’s refreshing to see and discuss product development from a market and product perspective, in contrast to the “what can we build” perspective we all to often resort to as engineers. It was interesting to see other speakers (for example the Google guy) share similar experiences on

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Continue reading: Book release: Real World Kanban

Book release: Real World Kanban

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

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Continue reading: Guest post by Ellen Gottesdiener: Agile Product Ownership – 9 Essentials for Product Success

Guest post by Ellen Gottesdiener: Agile Product Ownership – 9 Essentials for Product Success

packageThe key to product success is to discover and deliver the right product for the right customers—and to do it at the right time. That doesn’t change when you move to an agile way of working. In fact, appropriately applying the agile mindset amplifies the imperative of eliciting and specifying the right requirements. The goal is to deliver the highest value product needs (requirements) in as short a time as possible.
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Continue reading: Lean Startup

Lean Startup

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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Continue reading: A Scrum Product Owner Checklist as a mind map

A Scrum Product Owner Checklist as a mind map

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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Continue reading: Something Agile Lean Something – Posters on agile and lean concepts and techniques

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

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

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Continue reading: Learning Lego Serious Play

Learning Lego Serious Play

Three months ago I stumbled upon a question which needed an anwer: Could Lego be used for business strategy development? I just had to go to London to find out the answer.

With a group of 12 I spent the full weekend.. building Lego! When was the last time I did that? (hint: some 30 years ago..). The real interesting part is of course the stories we tell about the models. Each time we do, the team moves closer towards a shared understanding and also generate new insights. That’s cool!

Below: Team members walking through our shared model.

lsp_walkingthroughmodels

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Continue reading: Guest blog by Anders Ramsay – Finding Agile UX Nirvana with the One-Feature Release

Guest blog by Anders Ramsay – Finding Agile UX Nirvana with the One-Feature Release

This is a guest post from veteran Agile UX coach Anders Ramsay who’ll be visiting Crisp in March.

In a traditional UX practice, there tends to be a strong focus on whole product design.  In other words, we want to integrate all the features of a product into a unified and coherent experience, before we can consider the design work to be done.

Big Design Up-Front is like growing a tree in a “wireframe nursery” before planting it in the real world of working software.

But if you are taking this approach in designing the user experience, and you’re also part of an Agile team, then that might be a major reason why you’re struggling to integrate your UX practice into an Agile model.Continue reading

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: Agila kontrakt – slides från Devlin 2014  (swe)

Agila kontrakt – slides från Devlin 2014 (swe)

Här är mina slides om Agila kontrakt från Devlin 2014. Jag hoppas det skall inspirera fler företag och myndigheter att börja använda sig av dem, då de medför väsentligt lägre risk än traditionella kontrakt. (Använder du Agila kontrakt idag – tveka inte att höra av dig!) Vi har i Sverige dåliga practicies för upphandlingar och

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Continue reading: Getting High on Your Own Supply

Getting High on Your Own Supply

shared-knowledge

Back in undergraduate school I had an artsy roommate who quickly dropped any intention of attending classes. Soon thereafter he picked up a line cook job at the local diner and took on a nocturnal lifestyle. That lifestyle led to a whole new set of friends who quickly helped him develop a recreational drug habit. To support his new found hobby, my roommate began dealing to his new found comrades and their acquaintances. The temptation of having all of that product around him turned out to be too much though and, soon enough, he was consuming more than he was selling leaving him increasingly in debt to his suppliers. This culminated in a day I’ll never forget. I had to take him to the pawn shop so he could trade his car (his last possession) for cash to get out of that debt. We rode home on the back of my motorcycle (which became our only means of transportation for the duration of our cohabitation).Continue reading