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...

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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...

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Reflections on TankWars or when 2 minutes was slow

My current team have a practice to do something “learning, inspiring and future-leaning” on every other Friday. We called it LAME (Learning Afternoon Mob Experience) since we started to run it on Friday afternoons first, but have recently changed into running it for a full day every other week.

The other week we decided to give TankWars a go. It great fun and educational, and I got to observe an interesting phenomena about learning and feedback.

Tank Wars

TankWars is a nice little game that is have been used to teach AWS Lambda / Serverless computing in some classes given by Gojko Adzic

The game is quite simple; you create a little program that GET called with some information about the world you are in. From that information you then POST a simple command about what to do next (left, right, up, down, pass or fire).

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The best product owner I ever met

One of the things that many agile approaches, that I’ve been involved in or nearby, get stuck on is the role of the Product Owner. The role simply doesn’t sit right in bigger organisations. I think there are many reasons for that and I will share a few in this post.

I also wanted to share an unlikely but great example of a great product owner that I met at my current client.

Finally I will share some ideas on how to remedy the problems often found around the product owner role in big organisations (where I mostly worked).

But first let’s meet a great product owner.

(When I’m writing product below please substitute service as needed.)

The great product owner in the diner

My current client is a food retailer in Sweden. Quite naturally the quality in the diner is great - but I realised that...

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A decade of blogging...

Ten years ago today I started this blog.

I really can’t believe that sentence just looking at it. But during that time I’ve learned so much by putting my understanding into words and out on the internet that I really cannot value the experience of having a blog enough.

In this post I wanted to share a few highlights from the 1066 posts (including this) I’ve written and all the stories and relations it has created.

(Full disclosure; much of this has been written in a previous blog post, celebrating my 1000th post. It’s worth repeating (and updating) since it covers basically the same things.)


I wrote the first post on the 24 of October 2006 and in that very trembling first steps I actually wrote somethings that still holds:

This is my first ever publication on the Internet.

I am not...

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Who is this important for?

From time to time we might end up with policies and ways of working that just seems like it’s “the way we do things here”. It can be tooling, procedures and even contractual policies but also many of the practices that we take for granted in agile and lean software development; stand ups, boards or user stories.

I’ve found that thinking outside of the context that we have created for ourselves is often very hard, and I am the first one to default to things that worked for me before.

In this post I wanted to introduce you to two questions and thoughts that helped me pushed me out of my comfort zone and let me ponder;

Is this really important? For who?


A couple of months ago I had an opportunity to speak at the inaugural Agile Islands. Among the other speakers...

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Big room planning - a workaround that can be useful

I’ve just completed my first ever big room planning meeting (a type of exercise made famous by SAFe in their PI Planning). That was quite an excerises and I’m totally worn out. But also immensely impressed by the team and the amount of learning that took place in the room today.

It was quite noisy at times but after 8 hours we went home with our sights aligned and a much better feel for what we will do the upcoming period (5 weeks in our case).

Still I could not get one thought out of my head. It stuck there a few days back and won’t get unjammed:

This big room planning stuff is really an anti-pattern and should be eliminated

In this post I want to explain why and also tell you why I still think it was great.


In order...

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Move the information to the authority considered harmful

I’m a big fan of David Marquet and his Turn the Ship around book that shows on excellent form of leadership but also challenge the way organisations are viewed and managed.

My favourite quote is a simple one:

Move the authority to the information

I like it so much that I’ve already 2 years ago wrote a blog post about that idea, outlining why this is a good thing and how we can save a lot of effort and time in moving the information back and forth.

The other week I realised that there’s other, more subtle and viscous wastes in continuing to move the information to the authority (as we do now). In this post I will describe what that is and how to avoid it.

I’ve often been working in quite big organisations and something that often happens there is that...

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Principles over (best) practices

This is another post in the impromptu series “Marcus explains his tweets in more detail”.

In this post I wanted to talk a little realisation that I’ve grown into the last couple of years

It might sound obvious at first (or not) - but I see many signs of that we, especially in the agile community, do the opposite. Let’s see if I can explain my thinking or if I make a fool out of myself - that alone might be worth reading this. Lets go!

Principles over practices

I often get thrown into meeting about “help us to become agile” or “teach us how to do scrum” or “should we do...

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No heroics and awesome people

I’ve from time to time said things like:

but at the same time I think that it’s a good thing to:

Stand back and let people be awesome

In this post I wanted to try to sort these two separate statements out and see where the common ground for them are.

No heroics

What I meant with the first statement (tweet above) is a reaction to a phenomena that I have observed in many, primarily large organisations; the only way to get things done is through efforts above and beyond what is normal.

For example; someone needs to pull a lot of strings and flex their personal network to get a computer installed with the correct administrative rights....

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