Ask a simpler question - real data speaks louder

David J Andersson (the father of kanban in the software community) has taught me a lot, and that's probably an understatement too. Because I've learned immensely from him. One of the best hands-on tricks that he taught me was really just one sentence. And I'm not sure he meant to say it at that point, but it's proven invaluable for me: > "Ask a simpler question!" The longer version is something like: "If you find that you don't get the answers you want try to ask a simpler question". I think this is a general great tip that can be applied in all kinds of situations and contexts, but in this post I wanted to tell you about how I just did that in order to get an entire company to understand their situation and starting to move towards something *better* (whatever that means, I'll talk about that too). I've been working for...
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Accountability, authority, trust, and all those things

How’s that for a little topic to clear out in a blog post? I promise this will be just a short thought… even though the title promise more of a book. Well, after the last couple of weeks at my work I just wanted to write down a thought that I keep coming back too. I’m very proud to be part of the Salvation Army and right now we have a world wide leader (aka The General) that I think talks about a lot of good things. Here’s video with his latests message: I like this message for a number of reasons, but the part that stands out for me is "We know we are not perfect. We **want** to become better. We start Now!" I like that kind of transparency and humbleness. The keyword in the message is Accountability. I have a bit of a hard time with that...
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Luck has nothing to do with it

Have you noticed that people and organisations that are great have a lot of luck? And the opposite is also true: a poorly managed companies are unluckier. In my experience. Now, I don’t think luck has anything to do with it (no - this is not a post about my Christian faith, please contact me for that :)). Which is good news; because that means that we can control it, do something about it. I’ll share a few stories and then some thoughts in this post. Example 1 - Clarinet players I had the good fortune to do my military service in the Royal Swedish Army Band (1992 version) and playing there had a great influence on my musical life. I also got to meet some amazing musicians and some of them went on to great heights. | | |:———————————————————————————————————————————————————————–:| | | | Nothing to do with Kristian | I’m...
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What I've should done - my Jerk-store moment

Have you ever had a conversation and then a couple of hours later you come up with a much better way of stating your matter or a better phrasing? This feeling is shown to great effect in “The comeback” episode of Seinfeld. I almost always have those kinds of revolutions after coaching gigs. Sometimes during the gig which is helpful because I then can change into something better. Sadly sometimes after the gig which just frustrates me since there's not much to do at that point. The story I'm about to tell you is of such an episode. It's from my, by far, biggest agile (brrrr...) roll-out task. To me it all ended in a big meeeh, but I know that some people there was happier when i left and I supposed that meant something. #### DISCLAIMER Below when I write "I" we actually were a complete team. If I...
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Some thoughts I got after talking with Woody Zuil

Yesterday I had the good fortune to have a chat with Woody Zuill over Skype. I was a really nice hour that just flew by, where we exchanged stories, ideas and had a few laughs. Let me, as a side note, just say that I love that; just exchanging stories with people. I always learn new stuff and quite often stories from my own experience pop back into my memory. This is the best part of conferences - meeting, interacting with others. That’s what I miss the most, being a little sidestepped here in Indonesia. Praise the Lord for Skype and Twitter… ah well for the Internet too (although I’m not entirely sure He had any hands-on action on either of those inventions). I just thought I summarize some of the things that I took away with me from our conversation. It was never about the estimates, really Tell me...
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Coaching exercise - building Lego

| | |:————————————————————————————:| | | | From Amazon | I’ve just concluded a vacation during which I had time to build a lot of Lego (tm) with my sons. That’s really a lot of fun and very developing for the kids I notice. With my oldest, Albert, we have much fun following description and building the house to the left. My other sons more like to build something that just comes up with the pieces they have in hand. After sitting with Albert a couple of hours I started to recognise the personality the Lego building brought forth in me; this was coaching-Marcus talking. I think this is a really good exercise and in this short post I’ll show you a couple things that I noticed and that was very eye-opening for me. How to run this … exercise The whole thing is quite simple. Get a Lego model that...
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KoaJs Making the make file test, push and all that

The last couple of days I have enjoyed the speed and easy-going-flow that Node, KoaJs and Herkou gives me. It’s truly blows me away and I have been tweeting stuff like: Once @heroku tool belt is set up the first time deployment is SILLY simple. I’m talking 20 seconds, including #mongodb provisioning #amazed — Marcus Hammarberg (@marcusoftnet) June 18, 2014 and Again: From idea (we should put this into prod now) to complete: 25 min. #koaJs #heroku #nodejs Like last time: http://t.co/GSvpuV4xsA — Marcus Hammarberg (@marcusoftnet) June 18, 2014 But… In one regard I have lied. I told Woody Zuill (friend and role model) that I could push to production with a single command. While that was true the command (git push heroku master) did just that. Push to Heroku. But I wanted it to test my code, version it, push to GitHub and then push to Heroku. You know...
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Simple = Good. Complex = Bad. But what does it mean?

I’m a programmer. But I, for some strange reason, often find myself doing management consulting on different levels. Since my basic schooling is in programming I sometimes often find myself using principles that works well for programming in management. One such principle was something I picked up about 10 years ago and I’m still reaching for that everyday. Here’s my current desktop background, showing that principle to me everyday: This is a so called truism that nobody says again, but I fail to reach just about all the time. I find it very useful as a guiding north star both in organizations and programming. But what does it really mean? I have the good fortune to coach some managers in my current position and today we got to talk about that statement above with one of them. She obviously bought into that, as do we all, but I thought I’d...
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KoaJs - the fast route between idea and production

A couple of days ago I had a great experience in why a modular framework is a great thing, that I wanted to share in this blog post. You will follow the EXACT path of my thinking. Yes, it might scare you but… it will not take very long. Before we start, I’m sure theres a number of times when a very modular framework, like Koa Js and NancyFx for example, might be bad too - but for the most part I think my experience is the most common one. In my current job, management consulting for the Salvation Army hospitals in Indonesia, we have seen the need to do a quick poll. Simple questions like: “What did you like your stay?”, “Are you happy at work?” or “How was your meal?”. So I built a very simple little application, using Koa Js and called it KoaVote. With it you can create...
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Delegation and my jedi mind trick

A couple of days ago I learned about the 7 Levels of Delegation in the Management 3.0 book by Jurgen Appelo. The last level of delegation (aptly named Delegate) is defined as: You leave the decision to them and you don’t even want to know about details that would just clutter your brain. Yes, that. Give someone a responsibility and then step away. Today I got the opportunity to talk with a manager that have a tendency to micromanage a lot and we came up with conversation template that I think was worthy remembering. I told her that she needed to delegate an area of responsibility to a manager of one of her departments. And I introduced her to the definition above. Because she’s really involved in almost everything that happens in the company right now. And a lot of the tasks depends on and wait for her. She cringed...
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