Embrace uncertainty - the family version

The one talk that made the most impact of me have to be “Embrace Uncertainty” by Dan North. If you haven’t seen it… You’re dead to me Please view it now!

Dan North - Embracing Uncertainty from NDC Conferences on Vimeo.

The thing that stuck the most for me in there was the short, and depressing, sentence:

We are rather wrong than uncertain.

Meaning simply that we would rather run with something that we know for a fact to be wrong than to live with uncertainty. We are very uncomfortable with uncertainty. But for those that can embrace it there’s other type of control and “certainty” to be had.

Now… I’m beginning to think that this comes to us from an early age. I’ve done studies… the last one was this Saturday at the mall, with Albert (6).

Here’s the conversation we had at McDonalds:


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Effective revisited

I’m talking a lot about effectiveness and how it difference from efficiency. This probably have to do with two things; first - the difference between these two concepts is at the heart of the lean mindset. The second fact is that I’m Swedish.

Swedish is a very poor language compared to, for example English, that is much richer. If I was to translate the first sentence of this blog post in Swedish you’ll get what I mean:

Jag pratar ofta om effektivitet och hur det skiljer sig från effektivitet

Ah, the poverty! It’s the same word. There’s no difference… in Swedish. I’ve still to understand if that means that Swedes are focused on effectiveness of efficiency.

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Vision statements - why not say what you REALLY mean?

I’m working with vision statements and strategic planning right now. Man - this an area that is really misunderstood and misused I think. Also, and that’s what this post is about, I think it’s deliberately this way in order to get some wiggle room. I don’t understand that. We’ll get there.


As always I’ve learned a great deal while diving into this area again and here are the definitions that we are using and that I think is clarifying:

  • Mission statement - Why are we here? What is our purpose? For example; Why do the Salvation Army exists in Indonesia?
  • Vision - when we are doing the mission perfectly - what would that look like? This is a dream, a target and something to aspire to.
  • Strategic plan - how will we get from where we are today to the vision?
  • Business plan - what kind of...
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cc all the things

We are working a lot with trust and transparency in my current team. Specifically on the transparency item one “trick” we have been using is to cc the entire team in as many conversations as possible.

I picked this practice up from the Stripe company and specifically this article, which is a great read if you haven’t seen it before.

Yes, they cc the whole company on everything. And I’ve seen this practice in action at Spotify to certain extent as well.

By now some of you need oxygen; MY GOD! My inbox will be flooded. And how could anyone be expected to read all of that?! Do these people do any real work?

There’s three comments that needs to be made here, that I have repeated a lot when trying to implement this in all kinds of teams;

First; you are not expected to...

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Some thoughts about waste and waste reduction

Every Lean practitioner goes through a phase of “waste elimination frenzy”. At least the ones I’ve met. Ah, well…. I did at least. This usually happen in the beginning of your Lean journey when you realise that if you can remove waste the flow would be improved and value will be created faster and more effective.

Now we go out on a hunt to find that pesky waste. Kill it! Off with it head! We search for it high and low. “This is wasteful - let’s stop it!”, “This report is that really adding value… I think it’s waste”, “Why should have this meeting/function/role/process? WASTE!”

I think this is where many Lean initiatives goes wrong. We’re so focused on removing things instead of adding value. It’s savings, reduction and removals where it should be improvements, values and focus on people.

From time to time I see people myself try to define...

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Todo Add tests ...

I added this line in a README file for one application I’m writing now. Like I have done before many times. However, for the longest time I have written my tests first, maybe not TDD or even unit tests, but I write the test first. Most of the times.

But not this time. Because I was in a hurry and I didn’t think that this application would be something we’d use.

And of course we ended up using it. And creates a financial record and prints a receipt. It’s kinda of important that it’s correct.

It just struck me:

  • how much harder it is to write the tests afterwards
  • how much I change in my production code, that wasn’t in place, when I go through it and test it
  • how much more boring it is to write the tests afterward
  • how easy and tempting it...
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The only easy day was yesterday - this is a message of hope

At my current “client” we have been employing a lot of activities to increase the number of customer we serve per day. I’ve blogged about this before. Now it turns out that we have succeeded. The customers are pouring in. And the staff finds themselves with much more work than they have experienced in about 5 years. Yesterday was our best day so far and it was amazing to see the difference from a normal day;

  • Everyone was moving fast - compared to sitting around waiting
  • Everyone was focused - compared to not really knowing what to do
  • Everyone was excited - compared to disillusioned and bored
  • Everyone was tired after the day - compared to feeling tired of boredom

| | |:———————————————————————————————————————–:| | | | From Wikipedia |


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My second book is out ... kinda

To many of my colleagues and friends writing a book is at the top of the dream list or life goals. I have been very fortunate to have done that, but quite honestly I never even dreamt that I would do it. Or that someone thought that what I had to say was interesting enough to read it. Maybe should have realised that after 500.000 views on this blog but still... Ok, something really strange have now happened. I have been published again. The book is called Architect book which is even more strange, since I don't consider myself an architect. At least not on the levels that this book is about. I was invited to write a chapter about Specification By Example about a years ago. That was...
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Ugly clothing, symbols and values

Here in Indonesia most companies and organizations have some kind of uniform or at least very strict dress code. For example where I work, the Salvation Army, we have Salvation Army uniform on Mondays and Tuesdays, a set batik shirt on Wednesdays, “pick your own batik” on Thursdays and training clothes on Fridays.

Here’s a collage for you to feast your eyes on be scared by; showing some of those shirts:

Own choice Batik Safari
Shirts collage Batik shirt Salvation Army uniform

I must say… most of these shirts I’ve found really silly and ugly. The don’t sit right on me. I feel awkward.

Let me show you another uniform:

Black dyke uniform

What kind of...

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How to make a empty diagram in Excel

If I don’t write this down I will forget it before the end of the day. That right there was the reason I started my blog, ca 900 posts ago.

A couple of days ago I was, again, creating a big diagram on a whiteboard. This particular one was pretty high and a lot of data points had to go into it. It turned out to be hard and messy to both update and read. I have done this so many times that I've lost count. I never found a great solution. I don't want to use a small A3 report because I want everyone to see it. And I don't want to print a big A1 sheet every day, because it's to expensive. And I...
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