How far have we come?

A few days back I said something to my client that apparently many people on twitter found interesting.

My client, the hospital that I’ve written about many times before, has a big project ahead. We are going to be accredited for quality in all our processes. So… there’s a lot of documentation, implementation and training to be done.

Nobody really knows how much. We think, for hearing other projects, that it’s about 6 months and made that our goal. But we haven’t got a clue how much work it is left for us.

The work is divided into 4 areas that we’ve formed teams around. Each of this area has a number of targets that they need...

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Review: Cucumber for Java

Imagine that you want to learn a new technology or tool. Who would you want to learn that from, and how? For me I’d want to sit down and pair program with the creator (not The Creator, but you get what I mean) of the tool, and then someone who has vast experience implementing this and finally someone who knows this tool well on my platform. Preferable all three together.

This book is exactly that. It’s an opportunity for you to learn Cucumber from Aslak Hellesøy (the creator of cucumber), Matt Wynne that has consulted and trained on the tool for a long time and Seb Rose that have build the Java Implementation.

Now, the important thing to remember about Cucumber is that it’s not about the tool. Specification by example (BDD) is first and foremost a communication and collaboration technique that doesn’t really need a...

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Koa and the 'ReferenceError: Promise is not defined.'

M: “… hahaha, exactly. And speaking of RT*M, you know what I did yesterday?”

H: “No, but I like it already. Tell me more.”

M: “So I wanted to whip out a fast little Koa site. It’s sooo good for those”

H: “Yeah, I know. You told me like a million times.”

M: “Ok… sorry. Off to the terminal I went and went through the usual steps:”

mkdir newAwesomeApp cd newAwesomeApp git init npm init npm install koa koa-route --save touch app.js 

H: “Dude, is this a screen cast or are you going to tell me something interesting already?”

M: “Well hang on for just a few seconds more. I wrote my first simple route, to verify it. And I’m glad I did”

var app = require("

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How we created the need for an emergency lane

In my last post I told you about some practices and policies around emergency lanes. Today, when I visited my client I realized that we, ourselves, had created the need for them. That’s great news because that means that we can also take that need away.

Let me explain what I mean.

The board that my client, a hospital, have doesn’t really look like your normal kanban board, we saw another need here. It’s also in Indonesian but don’t worry, I’ll walk you through it. Here is how the board looked a couple of weeks ago.

  • The board has 4 lanes
    • The top 2 lanes are for bigger projects that will run for considerable time, up to 6 months
    • The lower 2 lanes are called “Perbaikan” or “Improvements” and is used for smaller things that we want to improve...
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Things I say often: I don't care about efficiency

I’ve talked more about effectiveness vs efficiency than you all care about. The reason for this fascination might be that the word is mixed up in Swedish I guess; there’s only one word for these both concepts. Boooh… Swedish.

Because the difference is paramount.

In the excellent book the Goal Dr Goldratt puts it like this:

Productivity is meaningless unless you know what your goal is

This is the same thing. I hear many people talking about efficiency, or that we should become both effective and efficient and yes, but all means, become efficient. BUT don’t speak another word about that until we all have a shared view on what the goal is. Without a clear goal - there can be no effectiveness. And then efficiency is pointless, as Dr Goldratt said.

My favorite explanation for the difference of effectiveness and efficiency makes this very clear;

Usian Bolt...

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Emergency lanes - some tips

One of the things that first made kanban known and loved was the introduction of emergency lanes. Or at least the lack of fixed scope for a sprint where sudden urgent work items was hard to handle in other methods.

Many kanban boards have an emergency lane. However often I see it abused (or being feared to be abused) and hence it will not be as useful as it could be. It’s a really great tool, both for “product owners” and the team alike. In this post I wanted to share some policies that I’ve found useful to manage emergency-lanes (or equivalent).

Emergency lanes

The rationale behind having a emergency lane is that sometimes works comes in that is truly is an emergency and it then feels a bit strange to put it a Todo-column and wait until it’s time for it.

Emergency is emergency. And...

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Things I say often: I run on feedback

This thing I say often “thing” is quite new and a bit personal. It’s very important for me personally and I hope that you like it.

I’ve had the great, but scary, opportunity to play a couple of times under the late James Watson. For any non-brass-players he’s one of the truly great trumpet players of the world, brought up as a wonder boy in the brass band movement. Later in his career he returned and made the world famous Black Dyke Band into a new being - possibly changing what people thought a brass band could be for ever.

Also - he’s know for being very … direct … even mean sometimes during rehearsals. But I fondly remember a lot of things from the hours I got to spend under his direction.

One of the stories he told was about when the...

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Things I say often: I'm into leadership - not management

This is just a short one. I don’t know where I picked the thought up, probably from David Marquet or Simon Sinek.

But really I’m so tired about talking about management for organisation and teams. Manage. That’s what I do with computer resources, stuff and sheeps.

I have higher thoughts for just about every person I ever met. If something these people need a leader. Someone that points, with clarity, towards the better future we are trying to reach, creates an environment where I can feel safe and give room and be challenged to be the best I can be.

I much rather talk about leadership and leading than management and managing. Leadership is what you use on people, management is for your pens or harddisks.

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Make it smaller - some practical experiences

One of the “clients” I work with right now is a hospital. We have tried to turn their performance around and they are improving immensely. In fact - I think they will be just fine. I did not think that just 4 months ago.

One of the things that we have talked with the management team about is trying to do smaller things often and act on the feedback we get from that. Nothing new … in software development or other lean practicationers, but in this setting. I hear eyelids popping open everyday.

How does that look? What have we done? Most of the work we have done has not directly with health care to do but rather change management and business in general. Very practical stuff mostly. In this post wanted to share two of our current projects (or Focus areas as we call them) where our approach made...

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Things I say often: NO! This is how you tear off a post-it

I’ve said this so often that we even wrote about it in the Kanban In Action. It’s not a book about tearing off post-it’s but it’s the printed kanban literature most geeky sidebar.

Post-it’s is such an integral part of agile that I’ve several times thought that the founding members probably own stocks in 3M.

I know embarrassing amounts of information about post-its; how it, accidentally, was invented, why the color is the pale yellow, why the glue is where it is, how to open a pack with one hand, or a knee etc.

But this simple little trick is something that most people I tell it to have not reflected about.

Here’s the sidebar, used by permission of the author…

Yes, this might be the geekiest sidebar in history.
But it’s here to protect you from...
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