Agility Path

AgilityPathKen Schwaber and Gunther Verheyen from introduced“Agility Path” a continuous improvement framework for organizations to use to manage the adoption of Scrum, control the risks, and optimize its investment. It consists of defined KPI’s, 5 domains with suggested practices and a way to measure the progress towards agility with an agility index and practice trends. I think this can radical help organizations optimize their investments in Scrum and Agile in a much better way than today. I really look forward to use it to make higher impact in different organizations.  More on this in later posts.

Scrum Day Europe 2013

ScrumDayEurope2013The second Scrum Day Europe took place on July 4th in Amsterdam (Netherland). There were several presentations from companies about how they have adopted Scrum across the enterprise and how the traditional organization structure and management changed. Larger companies like Philips (144 Scrum teams), SNS REAAL and PGGM talked about their experience adopting Scrum and Agile. Diego Lo Giudice, Vice President, Principal Analyst Forrester Research talked about how Agile has changed the Testing Excellence mindset and research indicated top benefits of working with Agile was “Improved Quality”, “Responsiveness to Change” and “Improved customer satisfaction”. Ken Schwaber and Gunther Verheyen from introduced “Agility Path” a continuous improvement framework for organizations to use to manage the adoption of Scrum, control the risks, and optimize its investment.

Edgar Von Zoelen from Philips talked about the change at Philips with currently 144 Scrum teams in multiple sites. One of the things that started the Agile Transformation at Philips was a flat-line in revenue and decreasing innovation. After they changed to work with Scrum and Agile, they could measure an increased revenue and innovation. Next step was to align more on the portfolio level.

SNS REAAL shared how they with great success started to used Scrum, Agile and Kanban techniques in different team. From the start, they really emphasized that it was organizational change and not just a new method. They have invested in training, team coaching, workshops, external coaching and created a group of internal Agile coached to make the agile transformation really stick in the culture. They now have 28 Agile teams and can see improved performance and results.

Capgemini talked about how they with success had used Scrum in a packaged based world for ERP implementations. Similar success have I seen at ScanJour with teams doing ESDH implementations.

Many of the companies presenting are now looking into more stable teams, which can solve different type of work. They are also trying to get the portfolio level more integrated into the team level. Another learning point was the change of the management role, to more focus on removing impediments for the system with Scrum teams and use more time on vision and strategy level.

See the presentations.

Impact Mapping

This is a great book from Gojko introducing Impact Mapping. It is short and easy to read, but address an important and often overseen area when delivering software: What impact are we targeting and how do we measure it?

This book will not give you a very detailed recipe of techniques, but it describes the basic thinking and provides some good examples.

A valuable technique for any Product Owner or other person responsible for derivering business value.

Doing Agile without Agility?

After talking with different people, I have been reflecting about the situation where many companies seems to adopt agile techniques to be able to deliver faster and with higher quality (more gas for the same buck), but it seems like they are not driving more agility into the organization or into the products. They are not able to rapidly respond to the many emerging opportunities. It seems like the balance is more on delivering the expected and planned requirements rather than regular inspection of each completed Increment, collaboration with customers and be able to rapidly make changes and optimize business value.


Program Managers or Product Owners should do more than just deliver the approved project or approved requirements. Maximizing the business value and optimizing TCO (Total Cost of Ownership), are areas that to often are not done in most organizations. Recently I have talked with different business people who think a best practice is to have a Product Owner for a team doing support and hotfixes and another Product Owner for another team working on the new release for the same product (often called a new project). They had not considered the whole value stream of activities and how they were combined. Having a Product Owner responsible for the product, TCO and full value stream, seems like an alien thought in many larger organizations.

We need to change the sub optimizing thinking to enable Agility in organizations and move beyond the predictability mindset.

Frankly speaking, it did not expect Microsoft and TFS releases adopting agility and starting a journey on continuous delivery. I heard about MSFT people that talked about the radical change from previously doing development in 1 year followed by stabilization in 1 year to now be able to release every 3rd week to TFS as a Service on I look forward to follow how this will evolve in the future including the pricing model and integration with Azure.

Imagine the new opportunities for many Enterprise system, if they move into a regular deployment of functional based releases to a hosted solution, and also be able to deliver their product as a service to customers. This could help them respond rapidly to customer feedback and opportunities and deliver much higher business value.

TFS Erfa in Copenhagen

At the TFS Erfa group meeting at Microsoft Denmark in Hellerup, Rasmus Selsmark and Kim Carlsen from ScanJour presented highlights from TechEd 2012 (Amsterdam). Rasmus also did a very impressing demo using to create a new TFS project with a web solution and linking it together with deployment to a Azure. Done in less than 20 minutes and then ready for continuous deployment to the production site running at Azure.

Quite impressive!

It looks like there are many opportunities for both startup companies and larger companies using tfspreview and Azure. 


Rasmus has blogged more about TechEd 2012 on

Rune Abrahamsson from BRFKredit talked about CUITe (Coded UI Test enhanced) Framework and how they have used it. It will be interesting to see how CUITe will evolve in the future.

Ole Rich Henningsen did a short demo of the new Scrum 2.0 template in TFS 2012 and it looks interesting and easy to use.

Simple Scrum Test

Many team and organizations are talking about doing Scrum.

The Scrum Guide describes the basic rules of Scrum and it actually only takes 9 questions to answer if your are doing Scrum or not.

Skærmbillede 2012-09-06 kl. 22.33.43

If you can answer yes to all of the 9 questions, you are doing Scrum. Great. Many teams are doing some of them and still creates great software.

Still, Scrum can be played in so many different ways depending on context, the organization, products, projects etc. and Scrum can help you be more Agile. It can help creating Agility in the organizations to rapidly respond to new opportunities from customers and create emerging solutions with much higher business value. This also requires the Product Owner to think more on business value and Agility.

Based on my experience, many teams have challenges to do question no. 7 “Create a usable and potential releasable Increment every Sprint”. It requires a good infrastructure, good test automation and the Scrum Team working very well together as one synchronized unit sharing a strong Definition Of Done. Not trying to do too much, but doing what the whole team is capable of delivering. If not doing no. 7, the Product Owner can not rapidly respond to new opportunities and changes.

Lean Startup Concepts

The Lean Startup movement is moving around the world and I have done a number of presentations at my work at Scanjour to establish a common understanding of the concepts. We have also started to look into how we can utilize Lean Startup thinking in our product development to create more data driven validate learning. It will be really great, and I expect we will get very good results from that approach.

The presentation I did at Scanjour can be seen below (it is continiously being improved based on feedback).

Distributed Scrum and Agile

At events in Marts 2012 I did a presentation about Scrum and Agile in a Distributed setup. Find the Prezi presentation below.


Check-in with the kids

I started a practice with my daughter, Silja, last autumn, where we did a check-in and reflected on the day and what had happened in school. After she started in first grade, the typical answer when I asked how school had been was: Fine… When I asked her what she had done in the school, she could not remember specific events.

In the beginning of first grade, she had used a practice a couple of times, where the teachers showed the kids to evaluate different activities by rating them on 1 to 5.

So we extended that practice and I started to ask her how the day had been on a scale from 1 to 5 (she likes to have 1 as the best possible and 5 as a really bad day). Then I ask her what should have been different if it should be a better rating and she starts to talk about events during the day that she did not like. Suddenly we have a conversation about events during the day that I did not hear about in the past and it feels much easier for her talk about them. Often it only takes a couple of minutes and we do the talk when time feels right and we can just have the 1:1 conversation. I don’t judge the events but let her talk about the different experiences during the day.

A typical conversation would happen like this:

  • Me: Silja, have has you day been today.
  • Silja: : <thinking> I would give it a 3
  • Me: Okay, and what should have happened for it to be a 2?
  • Silja: <thinking> I god sad in the morning because of … and when we had the break this happened… and after lunch we did this … that was not fun… <etc>
  • Me: <silent> okay, and if the day should have been even better be a 1, what should then have happened?
  • Silja: <thinking> then we should have done this … and this …

It is amazing how this simple talking protocol has established a way where Silja and I can reflect on her day at school.

I have used similar reflection practices with agile teams and it can be a very powerful tool to focus the reflection.

If you have kids, try some of your agile thinking not only at work but also home.


User Story Mapping – book from Jeff Patton

This week I watched the follow up User Story Mapping slidecast from Jeff Patton (UIEpreviews). On one of the last slides I could see the picture (to the left), where a book about User Story Mapping is expected to be available in winter 2011 (by Jeff Patton). This is so great. Last week at the ALE2011 conference in Berlin I talked with Rachel Davies about Jeff Patton and he should write a book on this subject. I can’t wait to dig further into this area, since I have seen it is a valuable way of working with User Stories. It creates the model that different roles can discuss, test and understand before starting implementing the stories.


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