Indonesia, Agile, Kanban, Lean - its a new book

Posted by Marcus Hammarberg on February 10, 2016
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Never in my life would I dream of writing a book. But that have happened and we (me and Joakim) are super proud of the result and very humbled by the good reception the book has got.

Never in my life would I dream about me writing another book… But it’s happening. Again. I can’t believe it, this time around again.

This will be a story about my experiences in the hospital that I helped during my two years in Indonesia. I’ve blogged extensively about it here and many of those posts will resurface in the book.

There will soon be a site for the book and I’ll make sure to update this post with the link to that.

The background

The story how it came to be is a bit similar as the story of Kanban In Action. One of the most amazing things that happened during my two years in Indonesia is the story about Ibu Elsye. When I published this post, I got a lot of very positive reactions, among them got an email from Vasco Duarte:

How would you like to change 1000's of people's lives with what you learned from this story? I cried when I read that and want to help you do this for many more people :) I have a few ideas, writing a book would be the most obvious, but there are more. What do you think? Can I help you do that?

To be frank I cried when I wrote it. And to be even more frank I don’t want to get 1000’s of people to cry, but I was intrigued by his proposal. We threw some ideas back and forth and pretty soon I realized that there’s a story to tell here.

The concept

This will be a very different book, compared to Kanban In Action. It purely story driven and I try to write the entire book in present-tense. One of the first sentences is:

As I walk into the Rumah Sakit Bungsu lobby this morning two things strikes me as unusual; first a foul stench of mold and moist, and secondly at least 4 buckets to collect the water dripping down from roof, from the second floor, is placed throughout the lobby.

Throughout the book I will tell the tools we used to save this hospital, twice (!) in two years. It’s a mix of lean, agile, kanban and intent-based leadership. A mix of thoughts, principles and practices that we employed to get this to work.

In the book I will explain these topics as they happen in the story, but not dive too deep, rather point the reader to where to read more. We (Vasco and I) that this will be a gripping and nice story to read and by seeing how these concepts are applied in a very different setting (from western, IT organizations that I’m used to) the reader will pick up some tricks, tools and practices that can be applied in their context.

Naturally there will be quite a lot on culture - a topic that I think is very real and important for anyone doing change, in any organization.

The Inception Deck

I created an Inception Deck for this book project as I think it’s a great way of sharing intent and get everyone to have a little better shared understanding.

Here are some highlights from that inception deck that give you a better understanding of what it is I’m trying to do;

Why are we here?

Why am I writing this in the first place?

  • This is a great and emotional story about struggling and conquering against all odds.
  • It holds interesting learnings and lessons about how to apply many simple and advanced lean and agile techniques in a non-IT setting
  • I want others to gain deeper understanding about the concepts I describe by reading the book
  • It summaries my work here in a nice way

Elevator pitch

Writing an elevator pitch for the product is a great way to frame it. It’s a bit different for a book of course, but still.

For coaches who are frustrated with the lack of business focus Who want to apply Lean and Agile in their companies, but lack the courage to talk to "business" is a lean/agile war story book
that shows some basic lean and agile practices in action, in a very unlikely and challenging setting.
Unlike other books on Lean and Agile
this book is not set in IT company, which I hope will highlight the principles and how to apply them.
For people that heard about lean / agile and want to try it Who think it's too advanced or hard and lack the courage to "start" business this book is a lean/agile war story book
that shows how to get started with some basic lean and agile practices in action, in a very unlikely and challenging setting.
Unlike other books on Lean and Agile
this book is not set in IT company, which I hope will highlight the principles and how to apply them.
For agile practitioners Who always had a hunch that the practices could be applied in other business this book is a lean/agile war story book
that shows some basic lean and agile practices in action, in a very different and challenging setting.
Unlike other books on Lean and Agile
this book is not set in IT company, which I hope will highlight the principles and how to apply them.

Design a product box - reviews from the future

Here I thought instead that I should write some fake reviews, as I would want people to react after reading the book.

The book overflows with great examples on how the lean principles can be applied in practices. This will help you to gain a deeper understanding of their meaning

- W. Edwards Deming, Author Out of the Crisis, inventor System of Profound Knowledge

The gripping, true (!), story had me turning pages without me noticing. I was crying at times and laughing at others

- Eliah Goldratt, author The Goal, Theory of constraints inventor

Marcus has taken some very simple principles and applied them in a highly unlikely setting. It's an excellent example about the principles not being rules but rather something that should be applied and adjusted.

- Taichii Ohno, Inventor Toyota Production System

With this emotional and roller coaster of a story, Marcus was able to keep me interested in the people in the Hospital, and how they are able to change the system that they were in, applying simple, yet transformational practices. Deming is alive and well in Indonesia, thanks to Marcus and the crew at the Salvation Army. Lives have been saved (and I don't mean the patients) with this story. This book can save your soul dear Agile coach. Take the first step, the book will do the rest...

-Vasco Duarte - Author NoEstimates book, ScrumMasterPodCast host, agile / lean long time practitioner, editor of this book

The NOT list

What is this book not:

  • This is not a text book on agile and lean practices. You should not read this to learn lean
  • This is not about lean health care - that’s a total different area. This is me applying lean / agile in a management team for a hospital
  • A long book. My goal is a < 170 pages.
  • A Christian book. I will, inevitable, talked about belief and God but that’s just for framing and context.

The status

Me and Vasco are keeping the status of the book in a Google doc and you can see the status here:

Here’s some stats of the size of each part in the story:

Once the site for the book is up there will be free previews and a mailing list where you read the book as we finish chapter by chapter.

The title… help me

The title so far have not been set. I’m not particularly worried about that but if you have any ideas that we used you have a guaranteed place in the “Thank you”-section. And a free copy of the book of course.

The subtitle of the book is set:

How lean and agile saved a small hospital in Indonesia. Twice.

I just need something short and sweet on top of that: “Jungle Lean”, “Agile at the equator” or something like that.

The talks

I’m very honored and happy to have been invited to speak at LKNA 2016. And I’m bursting with pride that they wanted to hear this story!

Here’s a link to the abstract of that presentation that will happen May 17. See you there!

I’ve also been invited to speak on this topic at the Fast Feedback Conference September 21. Among some very distinguished speakers. Very humbled by that and super happy!



Published by Marcus Hammarberg on Last updated