A scary thought experiment

Just a short post on a little thought experiment I’ve been testing out.

I am right now in a big company trying to apply agile and lean practices for software development. We struggle because we meet the current organization that is not built to move in the way we want it to.

[Please fill out the rest of the story from your own experience while I yaaawn]



… and now everyone wonders why things take so long and we are not getting more through the system.

[I’ve been through this many times]

I started to ask a question to people I discussed this with:

Imagine if the company, instead of creating a project in the organisation, would have create a new company to solve this problem. First and only employee the current project manager. One goal build the best product you can! Here’s your budget...

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Solving the underpants gnomes pitfall

I have a problem; I often have a hard time connecting our vision and overarching goals to the items that we are actually working on. I want to be able to pick up anything we do and understand why we are doing this now and how it will take us closer to our goal.

I’ve blogged about this before and in my time in Indonesia I even thought I had a great way of uncovering what those high-flying goals really means, by simply asking this question:

What can we measure to see progress to that goal?

But it turns out, understandably once I think about it, that question is too hard. The gap between the vision and the work is quite simply too big.

To me often the connection between vision and our work reminds me a lot of the business of the underpants gnomes in South...

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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.

Thank you

Since I was both a speaker and an attendee I got to experience the full features of the conference and I have to say that it was brilliantly organised. Thought out the two days + workshop day I didn’t see or experience a single glitch and hiccup.

The Lean Kanban team really knows their stuff. I wonder what kind of methodology for organising things like...

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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.

I’m reading Jeff Pattons awesome book User Story Mapping and it’s full of learnings on close to every page. In one episode mr Patton retells the events when he...

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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.

At the time of this story was a young developer...

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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.

I’ve been proposing, and we have celebrated great...

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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.

What’s with this fear really?

Often this particular fear manifest itself by very long lists of work not done, or backlogs that just goes on and on. I’ve seen list of more than 500 items, some of them more than 3 years old.

And yes - they are all important. Prioritized but important.

We don’t want to loose it

Often when I ask about why we should keep it on...

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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.

Ditching iterations

When I started the project the teams where working in sprints of two weeks, and releasing to production after 3 sprints; making a release every 6 weeks. Naturally each release contained quite a lot of new functionality and the “stakes” of failing the release was also quite...

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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.

Setting up AWS Lambda

This is very much like before, see my previous post on the subject

Get your nodes corrected

You might need to up/down-grade the version of Node that you are using. I like the nvm tool for this. Once install you can get the version of Node that AWS Lambda supports with:

nvm install v4.3.2 

Just wait a...

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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...

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