marcusoft.net - sharing is learning


function share(knowledge){ return share(++knowledge) }

Some thoughts after Lean Kanban North America 2016


I’m writing this post in a small crappy hotel room that will be my home for a few days. It’s quite the change after being station at the nice, beach-side hotel where Lean Kanban North America 2016 was held.

I was very honoured to take part in this event - first time for me at Lean Kanban Inc. conference (I think… ) and it was really something special.

I wanted to jot down a few thoughts and comments.

Read on ...

Requirements are not problem/opportunity descriptions


A few weeks back a team mate, developer and agile dude extraordinare, said something profound:

I’m used to people coming to me with problems they need solved. Not solutions.

It was in a backlog grooming meeting and we were discussing if the item was ready for the development team to start to work on or not. It was. Well and ready. But the people writing the requirements felt that it was not worked through enough.

At the time I just giggled a little about this but it got me thinking and herein lies the heart in how the work with a backlog changes when you start to “do agile” or work in shorter releases.

Read on ...

Developer failure


I got a request by a nice man call Brandon Garlock to share some failure of mine. My contribution will be part of a:

collection of stories about experienced and established developers (such as yourself) and the failures, setbacks and hurdles they overcame over the course of their careers. It will serve as an educational guide, motivation and reference for burgeoning programmers as they learn their craft.

You can read more about the project at http://www.iamascrewup.com/

That sounds both fun, worthy and useful. And I’m very honored to be part of the story. Any experienced developer will tell you that the greatest learning came from overcoming, maybe not always doing, great hurdles.

I asked Brandon if I could share my story on this blog, as that how I mostly write stuff, and he kindly agreed.

Read on ...

Flow or value - what is it, Marcus?!


This post could be summaried as you summaries an argument among kids; and then he said, so I replied, and then she went, and I’m like SAY WAAAHHAT?! but also hmmmmm… and then I went back home and asked a few friends and then I went Aaaaaah!

And then I learned something deeper of what I until that point only was a belief.

The last week I was in a lively and good discussion, again, about user stories and value. I think user stories often is misused as just another tool to write requirements in.

Also we discussed that flow is something that we really should strive for, but to what extent? Over value?!

As often, for me at least, it took a few days to think this through. That and some excellent help from some friends and tweeps.

Read on ...

Our fear of forgetting important things


The last couple of weeks an old “friend” has made it’s appearance; fear. This time it is a special kind of fear that I’ve seen many times in organisations that started their agile journey: the fear of forgetting important things.

In this post I wanted to rant talk a little bit about that just as a concept and then give a few pointers and indicators on what you can do to get rid of that fear.

Read on ...

Some simple changes for flow that made a world of a difference


When I started my current gig about 3 months ago the tension around releasing was tremendously high. Also we had failed the last couple of releases resulting in even worse relationships with our customer and messy rollback handling and procedures.

We have now done three very simple changes in our process and technology that made a big difference for us and for the relationship with our customer; ditch iterations, shorten release cycles and feature toggling.

In this post I wanted to tell you a little bit around how we did those and the benefits it had for us.

Read on ...

Claudia 1.2 - some updates that made me want to write a post


I downloaded a new markdown editor called Typora that looks amazing. Now I just wanted to try it out, and needed something to write about.

Also I’ve noticed that Claudia has come out with some new releases and that AWS Lamdba now supports Node 4.3.2 - which is awesome.

This post gave an opportunity to fix both itches above in one go. So this is an updated “Get started with Claudia JS for AWS Lambda”-post.

Read on ...

Flow manager - is that me?


At my current client I don’t have a role name. Or rather I do but that’s not what I do, nor what I am there to do. It struck me that I have had this problem before. Many times.

Here’s some way it manifests itself:

I’m not “development manager” that some people call me. I have no formal authority, no staff and no budget. And I have responsibilities that stretches over the development team.

I’m not scrum master that is the fall-back term for anything that is around agile and doesn’t fit the normal organizational scheme. However none of our teams work with scrum and i’ve not worked with scrum for at least 6 years. I’m also pro-flow-based processes rather than iteration-based.

I’m not a agile coach since that’s a term that I barely myself understand what it means. I don’t want to be a coach to make people more agile - I want to make the system work better to flow idea faster to production.

So I tweeted:

Let me describe what I mean.

Read on ...

Frequent releases and no urge to finish


Yesterday we had a couple of very interesting discussions in the team, that got me thinking on being clearer around the purpose of kanban.

In this team we have made a lot of changes lately to try to improve our lead times and throughput. One simple thing that we changed and that made a significant improvement was to simply release more frequently. When I first arrived here the releases were done every 6 weeks. Going to every 4 was just a simple change, and increasing frequency to ever 2 weeks was a very natural next step that no one objected to either.

But then a question came…

Read on ...

What are you optimized for then?


I was in a couple of very interesting discussions yesterday, through the mean of a SAFe course. Just sitting in the room with your peers and stakeholders, off-site, discussing how to work more effectively is really powerful - it turns out.

“Who knew?”, he exclaimed with some irony in his voice but still some hope and joy.

Ok, in our discussion I, again, ran into the point where I simply don’t understand the reason for organization your company in a certain way.

I just have to write this down, and see if it becomes clearer for me. You can read it too if you want.

Read on ...

Thoughts after a SAFe course


I’ve been on a SAFe course. I was very interested, because like many people I’ve heard much about this, had opinions on it but haven’t experienced it first hand.

The context of the training was that it was given for my client. Not as “let’s get started with SAFe” but rather to align and give us all a common understanding on nomenclature and concepts.

I wanted to share a few thoughts in this post. If you were looking (or hoping) for a SAFe-bashing by a Kanbanista… Sorry - I’m not that guy. I’m also in way too good mood to bash anything right now.

Read on ...

The Brickell Key Award - I am nominated!


Something amazing has happened! I am one of 6 nominees to the prestigious Brickell Key Award.

Not in my wildest dream did I think that the kanban community would appreciate things I’ve been involved in enough to nominate me for this award.

You can help my nomination by supporting me in the form on that page.

But first - let me tell you a little bit about why you should do that, and what this price even is and some other questions that might go through your mind.

Read on ...

Testing with Claudia


In writing the last post I stumbled into a little nugget of gold that I never tried before claudia test-lambda.

This is a quick and simple way to verify and smoke test your lambda function once deployed.

And it’s super easy to use. Tag along

Read on ...

ClaudiaJs and console.log


AWS Lambda functions are really great since the server is out of the picture. We don’t really need to care about it, since AWS will handle scaling, patching, starting and stopping for us. It’s just us and our code. Ah bliss!

But wait a second: what if I do a console.log? Where will that be output? There’s no console, since I don’t have a server. Or is it?

Spoiler alert: Claudia got you covered.

Read on ...

We don't know what will work - a story from last week


The last week I saw yet another time when embracing uncertainty and embracing an experimental mindset, gave us great benefits and potential productivity gains.

I wanted to share the story since I think it highlights these different mindsets and approaches in an awesome way.

It’s also a great story…

Read on ...

Electronic process management tools - proceed with care


I’m a fan of physical boards. But I have to say: many of the tools I’ve used are amazing (like JIRA, LeanKit etc.) in that they support working with the tool in a great way: shortcuts, intelligent search and great design.

But I can’t get around the fact that I don’t think that they support me and my teams. Already now I can hear defenders of these tool racking up arguments and showing me better ways to do the things that I’ve experienced as problems.

This post is not about that. This problem is about the general notion of any tool has it’s limits and that I run into more of them in electronic tools than I do using physical board.

Also this is my experience - your mileage may vary.

Read on ...

AWS Lambda/Claudia part II - Storing stuff


In my last post on Claudia JS we only created a very simple function that echoed some data back to us. Still amazingly cool since that echoing scales to whatever load we will put on it, but a bit meek maybe.

In this post I wanted to up the ante a little bit and store some data, more specifically in the AWS Document database called DynamoDb

Read on ...

S, M, L estimate should not start with a date span


Many teams I visit nowadays have ditched story points and start to use Small, Medium and Large (aka T-shirt sizes) estimation instead. I like that.

But very often a smell is creeping into the estimation, removing the “relative” out of “relative estimation”.

Here’s how this problem will reveal itself. When someone suggests that you’ll use S, M and L for your estimates you will soon here:

Ok - so a S is 1-2 days, M 3-5 and L 5-10 then or what's the scale?

Don’t do that - it’s the wrong way around. In this post I’ll explain why and what is a better, more trustworthy, candid and transparent approach.

Read on ...

The hidden agenda of agile....


Recently I’ve been in many discussions about using agile in bigger enterprises that shows that one message of agile has been lost. It goes right to the basis of using agile (or lean for that matter, more on that later) in the first place.

I think I speak too little about this, or at least I feel the need to be much more open and transparent about it. This post is a first attempt to bring some clarity.

NOTE I know that this will come out like a rant. Sorry. It’s not. It’s just the state where I’ve seen it. If anything I think that I have not been candid, clear and transparent in how I communicated.

Read on ...

First AWS Lambda steps - using ClaudiaJs


First time I heard about AWS Lambda my mind was blown to pieces. Quite simply AWS Lambda gives you the opportunity to run a piece of code without concerning yourself about the infrastructure - AWS will handle deployment, configuration, scaling and all of that stuff. You just push your code.

That “just” in the last sentence proves to be quite a lot of grunt-work, sadly. That is, until you meet ClaudiaJs; your Node flight attendant for AWS Lambda - ensuring a smooth flight to the clouds.

In this post I wanted to describe how I got started with Claudia and Lambdas. It will be loads of fun - let’s get on it!

Read on ...