Things I say often: Improving means changing

I’ve already written about this before, but Hey - this was a series about things I said often.

Basically, but please read the other post instead, many times I’ve been at companies that want to improve but don’t want to change. This is impossible. Improving means changing. Changing doesn’t necessary means improving though.

To me this is one of the biggest misconceptions about agile; that it would be something that the IT-guys can start working with and we’ll all be better. It’s not. If you change something locally the impact will also just be local.

In the great book This is Lean the authors defines Lean as a business strategy. I like that and the same goes for agile:

  • it’s a strategy - there are many ways to reach your goal, this is just one
  • it’s about business. It’s not about the robots...
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Things I say often: Why?

Really … this is probably the word I use most often. And I’m proud of it!


It’s not only because I’m ignorant and forget things a lot, but to me this is where knowledge is started to be created. I’m guessing I could write an entire book on just this single word, so this post will just be a few thoughts of the top of my head.

All changes starts with questioning the current status, or at least by longing to a better other context (“Why can’t we be like XXX?”).

Once you think about it, Why might be the most powerful word there is. Every overthrown dictatorship in the world has started with someone asking: Why? “Why can he alone decide in this country?”, “Why should we pay taxes to Prince John?” or “Why should women have to wear clothes that cover them and not being...

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Things I say often: This is your board - change it

I have probably introduce around 80-100 teams to the use of some sort of board to visualize their work. One of the things that I often … ah, always say and also have to repeat is this:

Nobody has told us to create a board. We do this for us. This is great because that it means that we can change it how WE see fit

Many teams that I visit are worried about creating a “good” board or even the correct board. Many times the initial feeling is looking for help from a manager on how it should work and look.

I have never been told to create a board for a team. I’ve many time suggested that teams should have a board to make their work visible, apparent and easy to act on.

This means that we are creating this board for us. Not for anyone...

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New series: 'Things I say often'

New year - new blog series. I was thinking about writing down some of the things that I find myself repeating often.

These post will be short, and possible link to places where I’ve already said this already.

I will collect these post under the label Things I say often

I don’t have a list made up already, so I’ll write things when they pop into my head. Here’s first things I that sprung to mind.

I hope you will enjoy this series. I know I will benefit from writing some of these down.

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Best advice for me this year

When a year has passed I often try to think back and find the one most important thing I learned. This year that was a bit tricky since I’ve learned so amazingly much. So good - and some bad.

The single piece of advice I got that stood out was about presenting. And it came from one of my oldest friends, one that I call my brother: Kalle.

Kalle is a pretty young guy but he’s very thoughtful and … yes I’ll say it: wise.

Another thing that stands out with him is the fact that he’s just become a Salvation Army Officer, a pastor if you want.

The advice I got from him was just before I was about to deliver my first ever “message”, or short sermon. I had asked him for all kinds of things about this but the final thing he left me...

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Our Christmas Scare

This will not be an ordinary post. Just a write up of something horrible that happened to us during Christmas. It ends well, but was a horrible time in our lives.

During the Christmas our family experienced the worst scare and troubled time yet. In Indonesia but also in our lives. It all looks like it will play out alright but many people have asked me to share the story, so i will do that here. If I find the strange I’ll write a follow up post with some lean-learnings that this could teach us, but not now.

The accident

We were going for carolling on the Christmas eve. This is an old tradition from the band I grew up in and something that we have done in my family to. Today it failed: not only was people not at home, but also…

When we got to...

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Ferguson never touched the ball

I’m a coach for teams and organizations. At many of my clients I don’t do anything… Or I’m not typing code maybe is a way of formulating it since I’m very much involved in what goes on (and I also want other companies to hire me).

But really I’ve had a hard time to come to grips with what I’m really doing. Many days is just listening (really just that) or maybe make sure that two people talk. Other days it might be sitting down with someone and think. Or redraw a board that we decided to do but everyone found to boring. I’ve also done training, or suggested other trainers to come by or even suggested that we’d just try something new, like mob programming.

But I’m quite often not very busy and when you look back in what is produced it’s hard to see my foot print...

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What is The Goal?

I’ve been re-reading The Goal. For the fourth time. And I still got that buzz from it. It’s such a great book - I recommend it to anyone interested in business and becoming more effective.

The book of course got me thinking waaay to big thoughts for my small head and I went all gaga over it and tried to convince people around me that we need to rethink why we are here etc.

This time however I dared to question the book too. I love it. So much that I think it will take me question it a little bit.

Because there’s one thing...

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50 Quick Ideas on User stories

Now, if there ever was a book that filled a need this is it! I cannot count the number of teams and companies that have struggled to get user stories right - this book is packed with practical, solid, experienced based advices on how to improve how you use user stories to your advantage.

Throughout the short book the authors share their vast experience and again and again shows us that user stories is less about the tool and more about the thinking and approach to software development that follows with it.

I like the structure of each idea that gives a background, a rational and some practical advice on how to get started. Add to this the funny, informative and beautiful graphics that accompanies each idea and you end up with just an awesome book.

The book is organized in 5 parts that connects...

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Evaluating my presentations... and pricing them?

I’m waiting at a train station to go back after doing 2 presentations on kanban. It’s super hot, I’m tired and it’s 2 hours to wait before my train, with AC, comes. Perfect time to write a blog post in other words. (I’m also happy, proud and healthy again after my flu - came out a bit pessimistic there for awhile).

One of the things that’s always included in my presentation is a slide that asks for feedback. “I love feedback” is my presenter notes and then I ask the people in the room to give me some.

I have experimented with a few ways to get proper and honest feedback and I wanted to share my latests experiment.

Doing now

What I’ve done up to now is to ask for two different metrics.

Throughput visualization ROTI (which in Indonesian means bread…...

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