...And Then It Moved - The Greatest Feeling in the World!

Piano Moving

By Ben Currington, used under Creative Commons

Have you ever tried to lift a piano?

If you have, I bet you’ve had the same experience as me; you go up to the piano, take a good hold, and… nothing. It’s like it’s bolted to the floor, or something (oddly enough, my exact words the first time I tried to lift a piano).

This is impossible. We will never make it. But you get one more guy and then you make another try. Maybe if someone could just slide a mat underneath… And you try again. 1…2…3… and… IT MOVED!

Right there!

That split second is my favorite feeling in the whole world. Trying really hard and getting the first little sign that your efforts are in the right direction. When IT MOVED!

It, of course, doesn’t only apply to pianos or not even...

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Why so sad? Can we point to improvements without making people feel bad?

Fry complaining
“Fry complaining” by Umberto Salvagnin, under Creative Commons

  • As agile and lean practitioners, why do we always focus on the negative? “It’s management’s fault”, “This needs to go faster”, “The quality is substandard”, “You don’t use TDD” … tell me when to stop…
  • Because that’s where we have “unrealized improvement opportunities”, dummy!
  • But it’s not very attractive and makes our “sell” much harder.
  • Yeah, but it sucks! So it needs to be improved.
  • Is there maybe another way to say that so that the receivers don’t feel that they suck?
  • Maybe… but it’s very much up to them. They still suck, are they ready to hear it or not? Also, I’m not actually telling them that they suck, of course. I just tell them that “we’re looking for better”.
  • But that means that we’re never satisfied.
  • No, exactly! I’m never satisfied.
  • ...
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Turning Visualizations into Actionable Insights

My good friend and co-writer Joakim Sundén has taught me a great deal about agile, lean, and a whole bunch of other things too. One thing that he said, early in my journey, that I didn’t fully believe was:

It’s always interesting to see the spontaneous discussions that appear around a kanban board (or other visualization)… after the meeting.

So Joakim says that just by having a visualization in place discussions arise. For example, after the daily standup around the board, people linger and discuss the state of the board, about improvements or other work-related things.

Have you experienced that? I have. Often. Very often, in fact. But not always. In this post, I’ll outline a few things that in my experience make these conversations happen more frequently and some words on how to harvest this nugget of information making.

(The reference in the title is, of...

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Ask a Simpler Question - Real Data Speaks Louder

David J Andersson

David J Andersson, the father of Kanban in the software community, has taught me a lot. One of the best hands-on tricks he taught me was just one sentence:

“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.” This is a great tip that can be applied in many situations. In this post, I want to tell you about how I used this approach to help an entire company understand their situation and start moving towards something better (whatever that means, which I’ll also discuss).

I’ve been working with a company that is struggling financially—on the verge of collapse. Everyone “knows” this, but no action is taken, and no initiatives are coming.

The information has been sent out. The reports have been read. Speeches...

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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 to. 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...

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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.

Clarinet Cat

Nothing to do with Kristian


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What I Should Have 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 revelations 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 meh, but I know that some people there were happier when I left and I supposed that meant something.


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,...

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Coaching Exercise - Building Lego

Lego House Source: Amazon

I’ve just concluded a vacation during which I had time to build a lot of Lego with my sons. That’s really a lot of fun and very developmental for the kids, I noticed. With my oldest, Albert, we had much fun following the instructions and building the house to the left. My other sons prefer to build something that just comes up with the pieces they have in hand.

After spending a couple of hours with Albert, I started to recognize the personality that 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 of things that I noticed and that were very eye-opening for me.

How to Run This Exercise

The whole thing is quite simple. Get a Lego model that you...

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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


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)...

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