Comments on common board practices - Todo/Doing/Done is not your process

Ok, got a few encouraging comments on the first post so I’ll continue this series. If for nothing else it’s keeping to my orignal blog-idea to write things down to clear it up for me and not forget about it. Blocked is not a column Todo - Doing - Done is not your process Done? There’s no Done Colors speaks volumes - use them deliberately It’s not a kanban board if you don’t have a WIP limit Walk the board from right to left Focus on the work - not the workers And for the love of everything holy - please tear off the post-it’s the correct way! This time I wanted to talk about the column themselves, or maybe I dare to talk about the process they reflect. Our process for work! Todo - doing - done is not your process This is probably the best example of cargo...
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Comments on common board practices - blocked should not be a column

It’s very interesting to see how a practice goes from a nice idea to best practice and over to tradition. In my community, the software industry, things move very fast so I’ve seen many examples of this; simple things like formatting of code, background colors of editor all the way to architectural patterns - all of these become default usages and tradition, and sometime “the way it’s done”. Sometimes people calls it cargo cult which refers to that I often do things without really reflecting over why. When it comes to my field of practice; lean and agile there’s bountyful examples of cargo culting, but in this series of post I wanted to examine a few very practical things that I often notices on how agile team uses their boards. It will be a little hit-list of my pet issues commonly found on agile/kanban-boards I’ve seen. Here’s the things I...
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An idea for visualising scope creep

Scope creep is a common phenomenon in software development where the size and workload increases beyond what we first envisioned. In many cases this is so small that it happens without anyone really noticing but sometimes it can degenerate and slow down progress considerably. Sometimes even stopping a progress or team completely. Scope creep comes from many sources, sometimes from the outside, but I think that the most common one are ourselves: That value should probably be a configuration property… What if someone decides to change database server… This is of course good questions to ask and could be value, but I think there’s more value in getting a feature in front of users and learn about their behavior and how the feature is doing. After that we can harden it, make it more flexible or otherwise improve it. Drifting away from my main topic… So now you’ve experienced scope...
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Some roles I take on - and what they are

The other day I heard someone distinguish between a few roles that I take on from time to other. I’ve never made the different between those roles clear to myself and as a consequence I end up doing them all at the same time, in my consulting. This can sometimes be confusing for me, and my clients but makes me also ineffective in the role I’m trying - or is expected to play. I actually wrote about this in a post a few years ago - without really knowing what kind of problem I was addressing. In this post I wanted to share a few thoughts on these different roles and hopefully Without saying each of the following headings could easily fill books. I’m just jotting down my current understanding of the concepts here, that helps me to clarify it for myself. If you find it useful it would make...
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Some thoughts after running the marshmallow challenge with kids

Sometimes I get the opportunity to try things that I never done before, or didn’t think that I would dare. Do those things if you get the chance. Always do them! I never regretted taking one of those opportunities, after they are over. In this case I got the opportunity to talk with a bunch of school kids (14-16 year olds) about Lean, experimenting and how to iterate ever faster by improving your process. It was quite the experience and I wanted to share some highlights of the time I had together with them. Background I have a friend, Tristessa, that is a teacher in an international school in Stockholm. She’s a brilliant horn-player and we play in the same band. One day in our rehearsal she told me about a course about Product Design that she was running in her class (SO COOL) and her students had many of...
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3 success factors for a big room planning

A few months back I blogged about the practice of big room planning made famous by SAFe (™) through their Product Increment planning session. For the record I still think it’s a great event and every time we have run it we have come out the other end in a more aligned, enlightened and excited state than when we went in. And for the record I still think it’s just a phase in our process improvement that we should move away from, in a suitable pace. I’ve been running 3 or 4 big room planning sessions now and I’m starting to see pattern of what bites us the most and what is the foundation of being successful in these session. In this post I wanted to share the top 3-4 (there might be few slipping in there) things that I’ve found paramount in order to have a great planning session...
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Here people are saying kind things about each others

I’m very proud of my church (or corps as we say in the Salvation Army - the Vasa Corps of Stockholm. The moment I came there I felt right at home and I’m more than happy to, voluntary, spend a lot of my leisure time in the different groups of the church. About a month ago I heard someone, that is new to our congregation, say something that summarised a lot of the spirit in the church: Here people are saying kind things about each other That did not only make me feel very proud and happy, but also signals a culture that holds true for many of the great place I’ve been working in or associated with. I hope that you have had the opportunity to work in such an environment - it’s amazing. People are saying things like (these are all real quotes from work places) Our IT...
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Some useful practices for flow oriented standup meetings

A daily stand-up is a really common and very good practice among many agile teams. It was popularized by Scrum but is very useful in almost any setting. Over the last 4-5 years I’ve seen how many of the initial practices and recommendation have change a bit. For me the primary factor for these changes has been the focus on flow. In this post I wanted to share a few of the things I’ve seen changed and also a reason as to why. There’s a sentence in this post that (almost) got me fired … so this will be valuable for us all, so that we don’t end up in that situation again. I’ll headline each topic with a sentence that I’ve heard teams I’m working with, use the last couple of weeks, in their daily stand-ups. Sentences previously was unheard or didn’t make much sense. “How can help our...
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Bring out the good

The other week I saw the most amazing transformation of a person I’ve seen in a few years. The number one spot is taken by Ibu Elsye. As many of the other times I’ve seen changes like these I realize that the transformation, as well as the state before and after, are solely (not largely, but solely) created by the system we create for people. I’ll elaborate on that as soon as I’ve described the change that I saw. At first … In my current team we needed to pave the way for easier deployments and to iterate and move faster. Since the company we work on doesn’t really embrace these ideas (yet) all, we have created a little task force to automate our build and some of our infrastructure creation needs. In doing so we created a team with people from the different organizations needed to pull this off....
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Design our work

We had a process improvement discussion the other day in one team I’m working with now and we realized that we were actually would slow down our process a bit now, but in the long run gain flow. I asked the team to design their work to help us flow better, but it would of course, initially increase, the workload. Basically we would increase work in process, which of course felt strange for everyone, not at least me… since I was the one recommended. In this post I wanted to explain why this can sometimes be a good idea and hopefully give you some ideas as to when this can be a useful option. But first some examples; Move fast - break nothing The title of this section is a great talk by Zach Holman that I recommend you to watch. The thing that we were discussing, in the intro...
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