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from the Crisp Consultants

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: 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: Agile 2019

Agile 2019

Agile 2019 in a nutshell: Jam packed with inspiring, informative talks! I tried to sum up my experience when I came home from DC a couple of weeks ago, but there were just too many good things to say! So I’ll leave you with the graphic above with some of the highlights, and I’ll share what I’ve actually followed up on since I’ve been back.

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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: 6 Tips towards Business Agility

6 Tips towards Business Agility

Agile, and Agile methods, like Scrum and Kanban, have had tremendous success over the past few decades, but still, most organizations are not getting the value and expected outcomes from their Agile initiatives. A big reason is that people often confuse Agile methods, or applying the methods in one department, with agility, which means having the ability to adopt these methods and deliver value to both the business and customers. Having that organizational ability is the essence of Business Agility. You can also refer to it as scaling Agile to the whole organization.

As co-organizer of the yearly Agile People Sweden conference, we have recognized that this is a current challenge for most organizations today, and hence the Business Agility is the theme for this year´s conference.

Business Agility is about creating an Agile Organizations adaptable for the VUCA world

I had the opportunity to be interviewed by Kari Kelly from Atypical Workplace LLC.  It resulted in 6 tips for how your organization can create value through Business Agility.

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Continue reading: The Product Roadmap Agility Checklist

The Product Roadmap Agility Checklist

I see many versions of product roadmaps in my work. Unfortunately very few pass this agility test. Does your product roadmap pass the Product Roadmap Agility checklist?

Download the checklist here.

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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: Enter The Target Sergeant

Enter The Target Sergeant

Hi there, it’s been a while since you last heard from me, I know. I have to admit it, I’ve been feeling lost for some time now. Since our company adopted Agile, I haven’t felt at home. People around me started thinking, took initiatives, started to talk about building a “culture”. I felt lost as

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Continue reading: Enkelt att ta bort 10 miljoner ton CO2 ur atmosfären och lagra i marken

Enkelt att ta bort 10 miljoner ton CO2 ur atmosfären och lagra i marken

Det är tekniskt och finansiellt möjligt att inom några få år kunna ta bort CO2 från atmosfären och lagra i marken “negativt utsläpp” med så kallad bio-CCS i Sverige.
Det enda som hindrar är lite lagar och regler.

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Continue reading: Playing with Power – Game of Structure, Beta version

Playing with Power – Game of Structure, Beta version

Two years ago I created a simple role-play card game called Game of Structure. After trying it out a couple of times it has been sitting idle, and what fun is that? So now I am making it available with this post.

=> Game of Structure – Beta version

The game is Creative Commons Attribution 4.0, so you may use it freely as long as you honor it’s origin. If there is enough interest I may go ahead and create a physical card deck based on this game.

What type of game is this?

The idea is to offer an experience of how a single hierarchy of fixed power roles can generate some common patterns of stuck attention, conversation and challenge that we frequently see in organizations. Often we spend a lot of time managing those conversations without seeing that some of them may emerge just from the power structure itself as a design choice. If we can experience that this may be the case we can talk about it and consider redesigning those structures rather than having to fix these challenges directly.

This game helps you see and experience some of the load of this extra complexity. Have fun!

Disclaimer – The game is fun as it is but I invite you to be a little careful when drawing conclusions from it – there may be some fallacies and traps! If you want to dive down this perhaps sensitive and deeper rabbit hole, read on through the second part of this blog post.Continue reading

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: 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: Go Blue or go Black – New Jimmy Cards now available!

Go Blue or go Black – New Jimmy Cards now available!

I’m blown away of the popularity of the Jimmy Cards I created a few years ago. The massive amount of feedback and appreciative comments inspired me to compile two additional decks. The goal of the original red is to help new teams gel. The new black deck is aimed to challenge mature teams that have worked together for some time. The new blue deck will help the leadership team collaborate more effectively. And now, finally, the labour is done and the physical cards have actually been printed and are available to buy!

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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: What is Agile marketing – new article

What is Agile marketing – new article

Consumer behaviors are transforming and the speed of IT development is accellerating.  Launching new products is becoming ever easier. This means new challenges – and new opportunities – for marketing departments.  The companies that learn to master Agile marketing, in a faster changing world, stands a better chance of building long-lasting relationships with their customers.

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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: 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: How to deploy a microservice application to AWS

How to deploy a microservice application to AWS

In this post, I will use an example to show how you can:

  • Write a small microservice with a REST API in Java, using the Dropwizard framework
  • Containerize the application using Google JIB
  • Deploy the application to AWS using Ansible
    • With a robust, clustered and self-healing setup

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Continue reading: Bootstrapping a Working Agreement for the Agile Team

Bootstrapping a Working Agreement for the Agile Team

I suspect that running a session with a team to help them bootstrap a Working Agreement, is the single most common workshop I’ve been facilitating the last couple of years. And I’ve learned a lot of what works for me (and what doesn’t work). In my experience, this approach works equally well for the agile team, the department management group and the steering board team. This blog is me documenting how I ended up facilitating these sessions.

For me, a Working Agreement captures the expectations we have on each other within the team when we collaborate and communicate. I’ve seen teams call it “Code of Conduct” or “Ways of Working”. I call it Working Agreement. You call it whatever makes sense for you.

Running a Working Agreement workshop as early as possible is crucial for setting the team up for success. Preferably it’s done during the team’s two-day kick-off offsite, or at least within the first few weeks as a planned structured workshop.

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Continue reading: Remote or Distributed Retrospectives

Remote or Distributed Retrospectives

Meaningful inclusive retrospectives are possible with distributed teams. Let’s talk about the basics you need to have in place, how you can facilitate a distributed retrospective, and what to look out for. This guide is based on the retrospective format that we used at LRF Media. The retrospective participants included 5 team members at the office in Stockholm, one person working from home, and 2 people working at the Kraków office.

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Continue reading: Agile Everywhere – slides from my keynote at Lean Forum

Agile Everywhere – slides from my keynote at Lean Forum

Here are the slides from my keynote “Agile Everywhere” at Lean Forum, Gothenburg.

Great conference, great atmosphere! Very inspiring to hang out with a bunch of super-experienced practitioners. I love conferences where it’s clear that everyone is there to learn and spread knowledge. It’s funny though, in lean circles like this I’m often known as the Agile Guy, while in agile circles I’m often known as the Lean Guy 🙂

Here are some sample pics.

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Continue reading: Flow through Visualization – Video från SAST Stockholm

Flow through Visualization – Video från SAST Stockholm

Den 20:e September presenterade jag på SAST Stockholm (Swedish Association for Software Testing). Under 30 minuter delade jag med mig av mina tankar kring hur man uppnår “Flow through Visualization”. Presentationen hittar du här, och nedan har du inspelningen av presentationen. Videon fokuserar bara på mig, men med lite skicklighet kanske det går att klicka

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Continue reading: Are you curious? Seminar with Joshua Kerievsky, creator of Modern Agile

Are you curious? Seminar with Joshua Kerievsky, creator of Modern Agile

On September the 19th 2018, Joshua Kerivesky, creator of Modern Agile, gave this talk “Are you curious?” at Crisp Stockholm. This is the video recording from that evening. The seminar is 60 minutes, followed by 30 minutes of Q&A. About the talk: ARE YOU CURIOUS? Learning is key to improving. Yet without curiosity, learning stagnates.

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Continue reading: Q & A with Bonnitta Roy on Open Participation

Q & A with Bonnitta Roy on Open Participation

Bonnitta Roy was one of the keynote speakers at last year’s Agile People Sweden conference and she also held a course here at Crisp last February on self-organization beyond the team using Open Participatory Organizations (OPO), which was very well received by our course attendants. She is coming back to Stockholm in November and we got the opportunity to sit down with her and ask some questions about open participation and her work on the future of organizational life.

What is open participation and why does it matter in organizational life today?

Organizations face continuous pressure to “level up” to new social and economic realities. This places enormous strain on legacy structures which are difficult to overhaul, and conventional management practices which are difficult to shed. Instead of offering yet another “off-the-shelf” product, we help people see simple but powerful opportunities to become more open and more participatory in their everyday ordinary work.

In agile software development there is the notion of refactoring when code has become too unruly and is increasingly built up in an ad hoc manner. Refactoring means starting over with clean, elegant code. It releases a tremendous amount of complexity from the system. Open participatory practices do the same for organizational structures. It releases complexity and affords more elegant ways to solve complex problems.

So OPO is basically a location based structure to self-organize and to self-manage in organizations?

Self-organization and self-management are core principles of open participation. Location-based-structure is one way to optimize them. It is the only way I know that also avoids the “law of suboptimization” which states that when you optimize the lower system, you suboptimize the higher (and vice-versa). This “law” leads to paradoxes in incentive systems that have to juggle rewarding individual merit, team performance, and company profits.

Locations are defined as mutually interdependent. No individual location can be defined outside of its context with larger strategic wholes; but the “whole” is not defined other than by the interdependent coherence of all the locations. The language of “location” helps reinforce the synergistic way of thinking. If you renovate your kitchen you are simultaneously adding value to your house, and to the experience of everyone who lives there. Similarly, in the OPO, people focus on making sure that the locations are healthy, and that the relationships between them are synergistic. This simultaneously adds value to the larger whole.

Let’s ask some frequently asked questions, as most readers may be new to these ideas.

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Continue reading: Confessions of a Change Agent – my keynote from Agile Rock, Kiev

Confessions of a Change Agent – my keynote from Agile Rock, Kiev

Here is the flipchart from my talk “Confessions of a Change Agent” at Agile Rock conference in Kiev. Click for a zoomed in version.

Confessions of a Change Agent

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Continue reading: Slides from KTH agile intro

Slides from KTH agile intro

Here are the slides from my agile intro at KTH last week. Hope you enjoyed it!

Some sample pics:

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Continue reading: Building Great Release Train Engineers – a talk with Mattias & Yuval

Building Great Release Train Engineers – a talk with Mattias & Yuval

In the scaled Agile framework, one key role is the Release Train Engineer (RTE). But who should I look for to fill this role? What are the first few process improvements experienced RTE’s typically do? Yuval Yeret (AgileSparks) and Mattias Skarin (Crisp) took the time to discuss the traits of a good RTE.

What are the traits of a good RTE?

Yuval: The easy answer to this question is that you are looking for a Scrum master for a team of teams. Going beyond that, when it comes to specific traits, you are looking for someone who cares about process and improvements, someone who has the ability to orchestrate things. But at the same time, someone who also knows when to step back and let the teams organize themselves. A good RTE is a great communicator and can see and understand what is happening.

Mattias: Firstly, a good RTE should be a people person, someone you’d like to talk to and bounce ideas with. Someone who builds trust and energy with their presence. In essence, a good RTE is the Uber Scrum master across teams. Secondly, a good RTE is systematic and makes sure the process events are run and planned in advance. Thirdly, a good RTE should be a good problem solver.

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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: Innovation Talk – an Introduction to Locations

Innovation Talk – an Introduction to Locations

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to give a keynote presentation at an internal innovation event hosted by one of the more pioneering product companies here in the Stockholm area. The organizers requested the name of their organization to remain undisclosed, but were happy to see a video recording of the talk shared

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Continue reading: The Story of How to Implement a Zero Bug Policy

The Story of How to Implement a Zero Bug Policy

So how do you go about implementing a zero bug policy when you’ve got a long list of real bugs and users and stakeholders who want things fixed? I’ve been getting this question a lot after posting my blog entry Stop Managing Bugs, Start Focusing on Quality and creating the app and cards to help with the

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