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I’m well aware that people often see me as quite a fearless person. I often get comments like “but you are never afraid of anything”. But as all people I have had lots of struggles every day to overcome my own fears, to prove to myself I can do something I thought I couldn’t. And just as probably most people I have tried and failed a lot. One of my mantras I usually say to myself, and others around me is that it will solve itself somehow just as long as we stick to our values and believe in ourself and each other. As Dandy People now has turned 5 years old and we have grown to over 20 people I’m writing this post aiming to tell a bit of the story behind Dandy People and share some of my own personal fears, beliefs and our struggles and successes as a team along the way. None of this will be any silver bullets, but I hope you might find it valuable and perhaps inspiring.

The Dandy Team
The Dandy team on our spring conference 2022 celebrating turning 5 years together.

Building a learning organization where fast and shared learning is a key strategy

Curiosity is one of our most important characteristics as humans and we should always find new ways to explore and increase the pace of our own learning. I have always been very curious and loved learning new things just as long as no one is forcing me. My own strategy to learn new things has often been to work together with people with other skill sets to learn from them, and with them, while testing and building stuff together. This has been one of my core beliefs of how to deliver value and a foundation that has shaped how we want to work and run Dandy. In Dandy we always see learning as part of our job. This means we shape our assignments to work two and two as often as possible, or in teams. Many times we have shared a “1 FTE” (yes, our customers sometimes call it that) assignment on two people, and we always look for assignments for a team. The reason for this is both that we have a much bigger success rate on tough assignments by doing that, and also that we get to learn from each other on the job and we will live as we preach.. 

This belief around learning has also from the start made us prioritize having quite a big financial space for each individual to put time and money on learning new skills outside of work. Everyone is responsible for their own learning but of course we support each other. By doing this and always striving to deliver valuable training and learning sessions for others we make sure we are always at the front line and we will always be learning, making us ready for any new challenge that might occur within Dandy or at our customers.

Starting up my own business – getting over the fear of hiring people

But if we go back to the very beginning, before we started Dandy People, one of the biggest fears I had was to hire people and to be the one responsible for the wellbeing and financial security of other people outside of my own family. This was holding me back for years to move beyond having my own consultancy with only me, myself and I. This was the first obstacle I had to manage and get over when starting Dandy People. Before this I had been running my own company and doing Agile coaching, pretty much the same as we do today in Dandy, but under the umbrella of another consultancy. At that time I had way too much to do and had to say no to helping more and more customers which made me want to find another solution. I felt a huge need to build my own team to help the customers I had and others like them to bridge the gap between business and IT and by that building organizations that could deliver customer centric solutions. I was just getting more and more customers and I really struggled to find the time to help them in a good way as a one woman band. So knowing what I wanted to do in my company wasn’t a struggle at all. Just continuing with what I did, but together with a team of great people. I also knew I wanted to start a_real_company with people who shared my vision, not an umbrella company where everyone follows their own vision, and not just a group of friends who only share the space and occasionally meet and socialize. I often find it just as valuable to know what you don’t want as what you do want, especially when it comes to business.

After looking around for about a year for someone to start my company with, I realized that the people I enjoyed working with all had their own ideas and visions of companies they wanted to start, and none of those was inline with mine. So I would have to go alone… this could easily have been the end of this dream, since I was pretty sure I would never manage it alone. I would work myself to death then. But it happened so that when we came home to Sweden after celebrating Christmas abroad, we got a phone call at the airport that my husband’s company just got sold, meaning he would get out of running a full time business in just a couple of months! This was amazing news both because it meant we as a family would get a small amount of money from his business that we could invest and he would be available to help me with my dream. The choice was easy. He became my business partner. Just a few months after that, in April 2017, we officially started Dandy People and we had an address downtown for our office where we could set up seminars and meetups to meet customers and candidates for employment. After just another few months, after summer we were already a small team of people that could take on customer assignments and collaborate on business development, just as I was longing for. We have never had any problems paying salaries, not even during Covid (but more on that later) and I have never regretted taking on the role as an employer. I am so happy it didn’t stop me from taking the step to grow my business.

Sharing is caring – and it may just be what you need to build a strong brand

You might have seen or used the infographic posters with our logo on. Most of them have my face on them since I am the creator and designer of them. The story started before I started Dandy People and was one of the kicks in the butt I needed to make the decision to start my own company. I created the first Agile in a Nutshell poster just to be able to give something visual that captured the most important things for the class at Hyper Island that I was going to run a half day short training for together with my colleague Per. We had a lot of experience based exercises as always, and was going to do some theory using a whiteboard. But I felt something more was needed to help them remember afterwards, so I decided just the day before to do a one pager with the key topics. After the training I published it as a PDF for download on our blog just if anyone else would be interested in using it. And it happened a LOT of people were interested in that. A few weeks later I was in Paris on a weekend with Mathias and suddenly I realized I had over hundreds of comments on the share of the blogpost on LinkedIn and many friend requests. My first thought was of course that something was wrong with LinkedIn, but it wasn’t. It just exploded due to people really liked the poster. Sharing valuable content for free has been a great business model and so we have continued to do so. When we create new posters we usually set them free on our Dandy blog within days up to 6 months, and also other content such as canvases, coaching models and serious games.

Some of the posters in the series.

Today I have lost control over how many downloads of the infographic posters we have, and also how many posters we have shared. But a few years ago it was close to 350.000 downloads (totally free with no email signups or nothing). People within the Agile community are translating the posters for free to their language to be able to use them better and we also share those translated posters to everyone, so today we can offer our infographics on Agile topics for free in 15 languages to anyone interested, making the Dandy brand really strong. If you would ask most management consultancies they would probably say this is a no can do for them and any business. I’d say it is exactly the right thing to do if you want to be part of the growing Agile community and if you don’t want to spend huge amounts on useless brand campaigns. Of course it might take some bravery (some would probably call it stupidity), design skills and that you feel fairly safe you know your stuff to make it work. But testing and see how it goes can take you a long way.

Building a company with a strong brand and still minimizing known risks

As I wanted to build a_real_company having an office was important to me and something I wouldn’t negotiate with. Many small business owners already then had their offices at home, but for me it would mean a huge benefit to have a good address downtown in the city to meet with customers and I was sure it would also be easier to attract employees. But we know that statistics say most startups don’t make it due to high costs linked to long contracts, and office space is just exactly that. Meaning getting our own space with a long contract was a big no-no, and that’s why we chose a shared office space instead. We picked one with the best address, a short leasing contract of just one month, where we could have our own room, with good big spaces to run seminars and training, and where we could have our dog 🙂 Those were the key principles and worked out well. We have been able to stay there for 5 years, moving into bigger and more rooms when needed, and now when we have outgrown it, we can easily get our very own space. The move to our very own space is just weeks away now and it feels just like moving out from your parents. We are (almost) grownups finally!

We were actually looking for our own space already a few months before Covid hit, but due to some luck we didn’t. We didn’t then find a space that was good enough and we somehow had the feeling we could wait to be more safe financially. And boy were we lucky! If we had signed an office contract with 3 years contracting period we would have had a really tough time during Covid to survive and would probably have had to fire some of our staff to manage. Thanks to this luck and other factors we could keep all staff and go through Covid financially safe and a lot more experienced and equipped for taking our business to the “next” level.

Finding management structures that follow our values – from individual salaries to team based

I strongly believe in building business based on values, and as an Agilist my own values are of course strongly influenced by Agile values. Early on after starting Dandy I invited my fellow Dandies to create our own “Dandy House” to put these values down on paper and what it meant for our behaviors. This has been extremely valuable for us, and me, since it has helped a lot to bounce ideas and situations towards them whenever we have had to make decisions about the business together. To have them clear and outspoken also helps to “keep the space” that you have to do as a founder of a company if it is based on your values. Many organizations struggle if the founder leaves since they don’t have the guidance of the founder anymore and other ideas may easily come and take the company in a different direction. For me it has been important that we all share the same understanding of why I make specific decisions since it makes people feel more safe and I also hope they more easily feel they dare to contribute.

The House of Dandy that has been tweaked over the years.

We have defined our different structures based on these values and beliefs about people (theory Y), that they always want to contribute and do a great job if they can adapt and influence what affects them. Since this is something we work with as specialists in Agile I know this to be true and if they behave in any other way (theory X) it has to do with the leadership or structures holding them back. It was obvious to me when we started Dandy that we have to follow this insight, but it wasn’t always clear what solutions would also attract the right people and help us keep the financial safety we felt we needed in the early days of starting the business. It might seem obvious now that individual salaries would be the wrong solution if you want people to collaborate as I wanted, but still we thought that most people wouldn’t feel safe otherwise so that was what we started out with anyhow. One of our goals and dreams in the beginning was to get a team of Dandies working together with customers. Not just because it is more fun, but because what we do is really complex and difficult and it usually makes it a lot easier to manage with more brains and more experience that you get as a team. I believe very strongly 1+1 makes 3 for the benefit of our customers. Individual salaries showed quite quickly not to be ideal. It made people care more about how much each assignment and person was paid, and less focus on delivering value together and finding great solutions to customer problems. The salary model was clearly hindering us to behave as we wanted. Collaboration, creativity, innovation and working together as teams was at the core of my dream Dandy and it wasn’t happening as it was, a new salary model was a must! So after about a year I decided we should change the salary model from individual salaries to a team based salary model. This has shown over and over again to have been the right choice. Most of our Dandies at the time probably wouldn’t have agreed, but I wouldn’t have been able to go on seeing my dream and vision not becoming what I was longing for and not trying to do anything about it. Happily I had support from Mathias and together with some support we made the shift.

Since then we have had a model based on our values that states that about 60% of our consultancy incomes will always go to the salaries of our consultants. This makes it quite clean and easy to handle most decisions we as a business have to take. Costs of other staff, office space, advertising, conferences and what not, is part of the other 40%. The idea was to create a fair model that gives direct value to the people working in Dandy. If Dandy does well they will also do well. It also removes a lot of boring and in my mind non-value adding activities such as yearly salary discussions. Making our job a lot easier and more fun.

Having a salary model that is flexible and team based enables growth – and helped us not just to survive Covid, but to thrive despite Covid

Another important part of the salary model to make it team oriented to support collaboration is that one part is fixed and one part is variable. The fixed part is the same for all working as senior Agile coaches and for everyone who are working as enterprise Agile coaches. meaning we have only two levels of pay that is based on what we get paid from our customers. This might also be changed in the future as we often manage to get a flat rate for our teams. If so, levels of pay might not be needed either. The variable part is based on the total invoicing from all consultancy. It is as simple as beautiful.

The setup of the salary model has also helped us stay safe during Covid. When Covid hit in March 2020 we lost one assignment quite early on for 4 of our Dandies and we started to feel that this could become a bad financial situation quite soon. Happily our Dandies asked if we could just stop the variable pay until we saw a change in the prognosis of assignment. And in September we saw we had new assignments coming in so we “turned on” the variable pay again. This meant we all had lower pay for a while, only our fixed base pay, but what was left of the variable pay was paid out to everyone at the end of the year. This shows that our salary model is VUCA-safe which has been one of our hopes in making it safe for all of us to support growth and also unexpected situations that we can’t plan for.

Our salary model has one more important feature. Everyone ALWAYS gets BOTH the fixed and the variable pay, with or without assignment. Isn’t that unfair you might think? What if someone is using the system to get paid and just be lazy not getting an assignment? As I shared earlier we believe in theory Y, with lots of support from science. So we know that A: people are not lazy, 2: peer pressure is far more effective than control. This has helped a lot removing fears of being without assignment. When someone is without a customer assignment they work on internal assignments, or help other Dandies for free on assignments which is just as valuable as getting paid directly – it will pay off later for sure. That was the idea behind always getting paid a full salary, and it just means that everyone gets a bit lower salary during that time which feels much better than not getting any if you would be the unlucky one – and we all are without assignments from time to time, that’s part of being a consultant. So much we know.

Finding the right people is the most important thing – but we realized parts of our model was hindering us

We have always been fortunate to have people approaching us asking to join Dandy from Sweden and also from abroad, but we realized many of the people we wanted to hire didn’t want to be hired by us. They liked us, they were a great fit for us and we for them.. but still we couldn’t get them to sign the contract. Something had to change. We had a great recruiting process that helped us keep good people in the loop. We met and socialized with a lot of Agile coaches in our meetups, courses and other open activities we hosted. Our process for finding out if we would be a good fit for each other was also getting better and better as we invited our Dandies to be part of it. We used both deep interviews, practical tests and scenario based tests, having candidates meeting several Dandies in different meetings to ask any questions they wanted, but still when we came to the final meeting to talk about what it meant to be an employee in Dandy we learned they wanted to have their own company. They wanted to join our community of Dandies, would love to work on our assignments and they really believed in the ideas behind Dandy and would really want to contribute to build a great company.

We decided to find a way to have a split offer to be able to get the right people into Dandy, not just those who wanted to be employed. I have never regretted that decision. Today we have a model where we run the regular recruiting process, the same for everyone, and then they can choose to become an employee OR have their own company. Also a simple and really beautiful solution that so far has served us really well. Our goal is that no one should see or feel any significant difference on who is what, and that they can change from one to another if it suits them better. So far one employee has become their own business owner with the support from us. And so far everyone is equally invested in joining in activities and building a Dandy together that we want to work in. If things would change in the future for some reason I am sure we can handle it and find a good way forward together.

We have during the years realized that we are not at all that good at hiring staff that are not Agile coaches. I have to admit that I have been especially bad at judging who could be a good fit or not and sometimes pushed too hard and not listened that well on the Dandies giving me information about who to recruit or not and for what. Firstly our recruiting process isn’t adapted to cater for testing the right skills needed in other roles so each time we have to adapt it which makes it difficult to improve. I have also made the mistake to speed up the process too much due to stress, trying to get someone in to take some workload from mine and other Dandies shoulders. This has resulted of course been even more stressful when we realize we have different expectations, or that the person has no understanding at all of what we do and often people who are used to traditional companies and structures might feel really uncomfortable and unsafe not having a clear chain of command or someone who tells them exactly what to do. I have had some learnings along the way and I think my fellow Dandies might agree that to hire non Agilists into Dandy takes a different setup where we slowly collaborate and see if we are a good fit for each other. Everyone always have to find their place a bit too since we don’t really have clear roles, there is work to be done, responsibilities to take and goals to find the way towards, but you have to have a collaborative mindset and care for us as a team and for our customers. It could be very different from where people come from. Still I believe strongly in getting fresh minds in to get us out of group think and to give us new capabilities that we might not needed yesterday but today and more tomorrow. But anyone joining need to be experts in their field and they need to be comfortable and interested in how we run the organization and believe in our core business and our values. If not we will end up in value based conflicts internally and that is something I believe we should stay out of whenever we can.

Should I as a founder work with our customers – or just work with growing the business?

This is something I have been struggling with over the years and even more lately. I find it really valuable that I also work with our customers on different assignments for many reasons, but as Dandy grows it takes more and more time to grow and run the business and the risk of letting that go is too high. I have had a goal to have customer assignments to a maximum of 50%, and to sometimes not have any customer assignments to get time to take bigger steps with Dandy. As I always have to prioritize the assignment on a daily basis, if I’m out with customers it may impact our daily work badly in Dandy if something unexpected happens. Of course in a perfect world no-one should be so dependent on me that I’m needed every day, but sometimes if I’m on an assignment it can take days before I have time. It has shown to be a good prioritization if I can join in our Dandy operations daily standup every morning for 15-20 minutes, and then might call in or collaborate a bit during the day if it is acute.

The operations setup with one Kanban board and a daily short standup in the morning have grown into something we really like and it helps with delivering both operational and strategic internal work as everyone working outside of our customers deliveries are there and can support each other with admin, marketing, sales and other things. This also increases transparency and engagement and most of all, it helps not grow unhelpful and unwanted silos! If it can help us stay out of traditional silos that we know creates a slow organization with a lot of handoffs and with difficulties delivering value in a high speed and complex domain then it is worth A LOT keeping up and improving on. So for that reason only it might be one of the most valuable good practices to take away from this post.

Creating flow within the company to keep pushing the limits to delivering value not only today, but also in the future

the way we run organizations to make them more humane and customer centric. I really love building products, customer experiences and finding new ways to support people and organizations in becoming what they need to be to make people awesome. My biggest fear around this is that everyone is too occupied to be able to deliver only on the customer assignments doing day to day consultancy work (which of course is not at all a small or bad thing by itself), and not being able to also team up and look at the bigger picture, share our learnings and build reusable products or services that will move us forward in the long run. To be honest I’m really afraid that our consultancy will be too successful so I don’t have anyone to do business development work with outside our customer assignments, or “play with” as I usually see it. Work is not work for me when it comes to this, it is pure creativity and fun. This might be a radical thought for many to be a consultancy and NOT wanting everyone to be 100% at paid customer assignment. I know it seems contradictory, and that most consultancies and agencies do the exact opposite. They ask people to do all internal work outside of their 40h work week which for me is totally unfair and not something you can ask any employee to do. Only founders do that. We work our asses off often, but it is because it is our company. Our baby. We do it because we believe in something and we set the rules for ourselves, they don’t. As a way to reinforce this belief we have created a model (structure) to support this that we call Dandy 4×4 where we state that we only want to work 80% in “our roles” and 20% growing ourselves, each other, Dandy and our customers’ business. This is also supported by structures in each of the 4 areas that we continuously improve and adapt separately.

First to trust wins – getting to know each other will make us psychological safe

This is a hot topic for us now, and has been since we started out. It is often a difficult thing to build trust within consultancies since people often don’t meet their peers often enough to build personal relations. We have worked with this in mind and tried out different things along the way. One thing we have to support and build trust between the people within Dandy is creating a My Needs profile. This profile gives me an understanding of my own key drivers, what is important to me. This also helps us understand others around us. If we are very different and have different drivers we might see things very differently. Now we haven’t been putting enough time into getting to know the whole Dandy System with everyones profile in a couple of years, but everyone always gets their own upon joining Dandy which is a great foundation to build upon when we have the need and time to share with each other as individuals or as a group.

The Buddy System is another structure thats part of the Dandy 4 by 4 development framework. This is a structure where we connect people 2 and 2 or up to sometimes 4 people while waiting for a split. The idea is that they check in with each other more often, weekly or bi-weekly and coach and help each other on any topics. The buddy system can also be used to perhaps get more structured strategy work done, or communication by asking all buddys to do a specific assignment and then share. We have so far focused on using it to build a network of people to make people get peer coaching and make them feel safe by getting to build strong relations with one person at a time, and then rotating about every 6 months. Me and Mathias have many times been so grateful for this system which by far outperform any traditional people managers we have seen before when it comes to bringing safety, trust and support. And we would not have been able to run Dandy without it. What we have realized now the past 6 months or so is that we now need to split it into two buddy systems since we are over 20 people, and having a buddy facilitator within each system to help and keep it alive and bring all buddy pairs together more often for activities might be a good idea. It has turned out not all buddy pairs meet as often as they might have intended, and it has also been failing in the sense that it hasn’t been able to pick up these “system errors” as quickly as we might have wanted it too. A couple of people have sadly become critically ill because of stress during Covid and we can see that the buddy system can not handle those kinds of things, it is not something we can have instead of taking our responsibility as an employer. These people have been cared for by me and Mathias as employers, and both are now well again and doing good. This will be on our shared Dandy agenda moving forward to adapt and fine tune the buddy system, so that it will become what we need moving forward too.

Another thing we have tried and started with just a few month ago is “Secret Dandy Dates” which is as it sounds, someone pulls together some Dandies in a smaller group to spend some time together and do something non work related together to socialize and get to know each other a bit more. This is a test to see if it can help build relations between people faster, and not just those working on the same assignment. To run a SDD anyone can just let RoseMary in Dandy HQ know who will be invited and then give her the receipt afterwards. We have said around 2000 SEK is a maximum per individual per 6 months. But as always, it is making it happen that is the most important, and not following the rules. I’m hoping everyone will have at least one SDD after 6 months 🙂

The picture below is from the first Secret Dandy Date where I invited Kari, Rachael and RoseMarie by asking them separately if they were free a night a few weeks ahead, and then gave them information about an address and time where they should be on a specific date…. They managed to figure out about half of it, that we were going to an amazing vegan restaurant, but the part about building mini eco systems in glass houses before dinner they had no idea about. We had a really lovely time and we still connect about how our plants are doing in the glass house 🙂

Moving from start-up to scale-up? The future will decide, but we will do our best to not make it a screw-up 🙂

These are some of my, and our, beliefs, mistakes and learnings so far on our 5 year journey moving from a startup to perhaps a scale-up, but most certainly not a screw-up 🙂 We don’t know what the future holds for us but I’m confident we can manage it as a team just as long as we stick to our values. That makes me feel safe, and thats why I love the work I, and we do.

When I asked the dandies for some feedback on this post some people asked for more mistakes, it feels like everything has been really smooth and everything is turned into learnings and actions. And of course there have been small mistakes too, everyday. And big ones too that are not mentioned here but more of respect to those involved because I believe no matter how much the “mistake” may hurt us we should not hold grudge or dig a hole and stay there, we should get out of it, make sure we are all safe, get the dust of our shoulders and find a new path forward. We have had lots of reasons to give up along the way, but even more to continue and work even harder – but mostly smarter. Love and values will lead the way.

As I hope you understand who have read this far (big thanks to you), none of these ideas are silver bullets alone, and I can assure you a lot of work will be needed to make your dream happen no matter which way you go, but I really hope you do it. Take that step, start your own company based on your own vision, or adjust the company you are in to better align with what you believe in and fight hard for those values. Feel free to use any of our models and learnings if you believe they might help you. Please reach out with any thought, questions, ask for support when needed, or if you want me or any of the other Dandies to come and share the story.

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In this episode I met with Per Kristiansen to talk about serious games (or serious play as they call it at Lego) that we love using as a safe way for exploring complex strategy and play out different scenarios. Per tells the story how it all got started at LEGO when their CEO needed a better way to work with strategy and they created Lego Serious Play. Per was part of the internal research team that discovered that using lego bricks for simulation and learning was just as useful for adults as it is for children. He tells a fascinating story of how they first failed, but later discovered how to make it work and developed it to the metod that it is today, and how it has now expanded from being an internal method within Lego to a global phenomena that it is today.

The conversation starts with us sharing our purposes and values behind our two companies, Trivium and Dandy People, and it happens to be a perfect match 🙂

If you are interested in learning how to facilitate the Lego Serious Play Method Per travels all around the world to facilitate Lego Serious Play trainings and we are really happy to welcome him to Dandy People and Stockholm too

Read more and sign up for the 4 day Lego Serious Play Certification Course in Stockholm here

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In this blog post, we present a case study using the model designed to leverage the processing strengths and mobilize the brainpower of today’s entire (organizational) collective, which we’re currently calling the Grow/Plow Coaching Model. We have previously published a post on the Grow/Plow model that you can find here if you havent read it.

The Grow/Plow Coaching Model

As you can see on the graphic below, GROW and PLOW naturally overlap at the O and W. PLOW supplements GROW so bottom-up thinking could be integrated into a single coaching model we’re calling the Grow/Plow Coaching Model:

The GROW/PLOW Coaching Model for leveraging top-down and bottom-up processing styles
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In this episode of Dandy Conversations I met up with the founder and CEO of Adventures with Agile (AWA) Simon Powers to talk about the values and purposes that drives their companies. We talk about how our work aims to changing mindsets, making people flourish and become their best and how we can support our customers to meet their goals and visions.

I first came to talk to Simon many years back when I first created the Agile in a Nutshell with the Agile Onion which is a creation by Simon, at least in the form that we have it in the poster with the arrow and the descriptions. I contacted him then to see if he was ok with me putting it in the poster – and he was 🙂

Today we both run successful Agile coaching agencies built on the same mindset, to collaborate and use the power of the network to help as many as possible get value from Agile.

The reason we recorded this video was to share our collaboration as companies more openly with the world. AWA have been running their fabulous Agile Coaching trainings with us at Dandy as their partner for Sweden for a few years already, and we are really happy for the collaboration since we know they deliver trainings in the same way we at Dandy do, with Training from Back of the Room and with trainers who themselves work with – and are experts within what they teach others. So no boring theory sessions, instead engaging, fun, deep insights and hands on learning.

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The following was translated and adapted from the original post in Swedish by Jenny Persson.

We work together at Dandy to create and adapt trainings for our customers’ needs. We often sit together to generate ideas. These sessions, like the one we just had, are unbelievably fun. This time, we had read an article that inspired us to create this game. Namely: https://www.creativehackers.co/posts/the-subtle-art-of-fucking-up

Hence the game was called “Biggest Fuck Ups Game” 🙂

Download the gameboard and play Biggest Fuck Ups Game yourself >

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När vi på Dandy jobbar med att anpassa utbildningar till våra kunders behov så sitter vi alltid och idégenererar tillsammans. Vi har otroligt roligt under dessa sessioner, precis som vi hade nu. Den här gången hade vi läst en artikel som vi inspirerades mycket från i framtagandet av ett nytt spel vi gjorde igår. Nämligen denna: https://www.creativehackers.co/posts/the-subtle-art-of-fucking-up

Därav fick spelet heta “Biggest fuck ups game” 🙂

Ladda ner spelplanen och spela Biggest Fuck Ups Game själva >

Artikeln triggade oss, eftersom vi alla vet hur det känns när vi fuckar upp saker. Vi har alla gjort det! Vi ville göra ett allvarligt ämne som psykologisk trygghet lite kul också. Beroende på miljön vi befinner oss i när vi misslyckas, så får det oss att känna olika saker. Befinner vi oss i en psykologiskt trygg miljö så kan vi lära oss av det. Befinner vi oss i en otrygg miljö så blir instinkten att hitta någon att skylla på eller försöka gömma sig på något sätt, i vart fall så uteblir lärandet. Miljön är alltså avgörande och genom den kan “Backward law” träda in, vilket innebär att rädslan för att misslyckas blir en självuppfyllande profetia, och hur bra blir vi då på våra jobb?

Det här är ett känsligt och ett viktigt ämne för många organisationer. Grunden för om folk presterar bra på jobbet eller inte, ligger i om man har psykologiskt trygghet på jobbet eller inte, och det saknas i många av dagens organisationer. Många TROR att de har psykologisk trygghet, men det visar sig när man börjar mäta att den inte är så hög, och är det någon mätning där det INTE bara duger att ligga ok i en mätning så är det i den här. Det får stora konsekvenser för organisationen i avsaknad av motivation, lärande, självförtroende, innovation, trygg konfliktlösning, och antal ständiga förbättringar som görs har forskning visat.

Vad är psykologisk trygghet?

Vad är då psykologiskt trygghet? Det är när man kan prata om misstag man gjort utan att bli dömd, utan att känna att någon tittar snett på en, för om du inte vill se inkompetent eller negativ ut i en otrygg miljö så låter du ofta bli att dela idéer du har, du ställer inte frågor, du berättar inte för någon om dina svagheter, visar inte dina misstag, du gör så lite som möjligt faktiskt, för då kan du inte göra något fel. Psykologisk trygghet handlar inte om att ha det mysigt och gott där alla har konsensus, tvärtom, det handlar om att höja din röst och ta diskussioner där du ser andra saker, även om det är obekvämt och jobbigt. Eller föreställ dig bara skillnaden att komma till ett jobb där folk förutsätter att du kan ditt jobb, jämfört med att folk kräver att du ska bevisa din kunskap hela tiden. Hur lätt är det då att känna sig psykologiskt trygg?

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Collaboration, innovation, and high performance rarely come from teams that haven’t had the time or the chance to get to know each other, build a strong foundation of common values, and a psychologically safe environment.

No matter if it is a development team, a leadership team, or an operation team, as humans we all need to go through this process to make the magic happen. And when the team works remotely, this is even more important and it can take even longer.

The “Remote Team Culture Canvas” is a way to facilitate and speed up this process by filling up together the canvas, using it as a common ground for healthy -and fun- discussions.

Download the Team Canvas for free in high resolution (PDF) >

Remote team canvas
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We are so happy to be able to share the Agile HR in a Nutshell Poster with you for free also in simplified Chinese! Thank you so much, Paulino Kok and his team at agilizing.com for your awesome work with the translation 🙂

DOWNLOAD IT FOR FREE: Here you can download it for free in high resolution in Chinese>

hr for agile in a nutshell Simplified Chinese

Interested in the English poster? : Here you can download it for free in high resolution in English >

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We are so happy to be able to share the Agile Recruiting in a Nutshell Poster with you for free also in traditional Chinese! Thank you so much, Paulino Kok and his team at agilizing.com for your awesome work with the translation 🙂

DOWNLOAD IT FOR FREE: Here you can download it for free in high resolution in Chinese>

recruting in a nutshell Traditional Chinese

Interested in the English poster? : Here you can download it for free in high resolution in English >

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We are so happy to be able to share the Agile Recruiting in a Nutshell Poster with you for free also in simplified Chinese! Thank you so much, Paulino Kok and his team at agilizing.com for your awesome work with the translation 🙂

DOWNLOAD IT FOR FREE: Here you can download it for free in high resolution in Chinese>

Recruiting in a nutshell Simplified Chinese

Interested in the English poster? : Here you can download it for free in high resolution in English >

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Since we like to have fun and laugh here at Dandy People we did an Agile Advent Calendar last year full of Agile inspired Dad Jokes, so if you missed it we have the wrap up for you here.

December 1

Cycle time is a measure of the elapsed time when work starts on a product or feature until it’s ready for delivery. Cycle time tells how long (in calendar time) it takes to complete the product, also including non value adding time (waiting time).

Thanks to our Dandys Rachael Gibb for the idea, and to Mia Kolmodin for the modelling 👏
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I detta avsnittet så pratar 4 av våra kollegor om Tillitsbaserat Ledarskap, om vad det är, hur det hänger ihop med Agilt Ledarskap, vad det är i praktiken samt om vår meetup vi ska ha den 25/1 2022 som handlar om just Tillitsbaserat Ledarskap.

Anmäl dig till vår Meetup om tillitsbaserat ledarskap och ledning där vi tillsammans undersöker kopplingen till Agilt >

Om du vill läsa vårt blogginlägg om vår enkätundersökning gällande just Tillitsbaserat Ledarskap hittar du det materialet här >

Glöm inte att prenumerera på vår YouTube-kanal där du kan hitta massa intressanta videos.

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We are so happy to be able to share the Agile HR in a Nutshell Poster with you for free also in Polish! Thank you so much, Anna Senften for your awesome work with the translation 🙂

Download the Agile HR in a Nutshell in Polish for free here (PDF) >

Read the original post about the poster and download this poster in English here >

Free to download, use and share

The posters are published under Creative Commons License, so please use it and share it as you like. If you are interested in doing a translation to any other languages please let me know and I will help you with the file and publish it here in the blog as well.

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En teambaserad organisation är ett ekosystem av team. Dessa kort är tänkta att användas för att kartlägga nuläget för respektive team i organisationen och sätta mål för vilka typer av team man skulle vilja ha och därigenom identifiera vad som håller teamen tillbaka från att ta sig dit.

Den här modifierade versionen av team topologier bygger på det fantastiska arbetet från teamtopologies.com som är skapat utifrån ett DevOps-perspektiv. De tillägg och justeringar vi har gjort på ursprungsmodellen syftar till att möjliggöra en tydligare produkt-ledd organisation där agila ledningsteam utifrån Agile Management Areas är en viktig del och justering för kundcentrerade produktteam där ofta även marknad och tech möts i gemensamma team, i stället för enbart stream aligned vilket är mer vanligt på en IT / Infrastrukturavdelning.

Conway’s Law är ett begrepp som pekar på att system ofta speglar organisationen som bygger dem, dvs för att justera de teamen man i nuläget har som ofta är av typen komponent-team och röra sig mot ett ekosystem som bygger på produktteam behöver man göra en omvänd Conway’s Law design. Då utgår man från vilka förmågor man skulle vilja att organisationen, och teamen har, kanske vill man att teamen har förmåga att ansvara för en optimal upplevelse direkt till slutanvändare utan mellanhänder. Äger produktutvecklings-processen end-to-end. Tar ansvar för det de bygger över tid och ser till att det skapar verksamhets och affärsnytta på både kort- och lång sikt – det vill säga vara ett Produktteam. Viktigt är att betona att man alltid behöver en mix av team i alla organisationer, enbart produkt-team är inte eftersträvansvärt, utan vanligt är att man har plattformsteam samt även enabling team, vad man dock vill gå ifrån är komplicerat subsystem-team (komponentteam), samt ha team med både produkt, plattform och enabling uppdrag.

Utifrån det målet kan man sedan identifiera vilka typer av team man har i nuläget, samt vilka typer av team man behöver för att steg för steg förändra den tekniska arkitekturen och förmågan i organisationen för att möjliggöra mer autonoma produktteam på sikt.

Alla team behöver även få tydligt definierade mål som de kan arbeta mot. Dessa mål ser olika ut beroende på vilket typ av team de är, men målet brukar var att ha uppdrag för teamen som spänner över ca 6 – 12 månader som gör att de själva kan se om de bidrar med värde och stöttar dom i att göra löpande prioriteringar.

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Vi är som bekant nyfikna av naturen på Dandy People. Efter sommaren 2021 var vi specifikt nyfikna på att lära oss mer om vilka utmaningar, problem och möjligheter som finns för medarbetare inom offentlig sektor – och så klart om det kanske skulle vara så att Agila arbetssätt och tankesätt skulle kunna vara möjliggörare.

Därför höll vi en designsprint en hel vecka i början av Augusti för att lära oss mer om tillitsbaserat ledarskap och ledning (styrning) och hur de som arbetar i offentlig sektor upplever sin situation.

Denna rapport bygger på svar från en enkät som lades ut på LinkedIn i samband med designsprinten i vecka 32 och 33, 2021. Enkäten har varit öppen för vem som helst att svara på. I slutet av presentationen har vi samlat alla originalbilder från enkäten med alla svar. Vi har dock inte tagit med den frågan där de svarande anger sin organisation och roll.

Hämta och titta på rapporten gratis som högupplöst PDF från Dropbox >


Vår analys och slutsats utifrån denna enkät

Det finns mycket stor förbättringspotential i att prioritera att hitta stödjande arbetssätt för tillitsbaserad ledning och ledarskap inom Svensk offentlig sektor i dag då hela 66% anger att det aldrig, eller bara ibland är prioriterat på deras arbetsplats.

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Många av dagens arbetsuppgifter är komplexa och vi möter kontinuerligt nya utmaningar och problem att hantera. Det är en blandning av att hantera frågor som ingen har svaret på och som vi behöver utforska och att ta till sig nya kunskaper för att kunna lösa uppgiften. Planer och förutsättningar förändras kontinuerligt och för att lösa våra uppdrag behöver vi ofta jobba tillsammans med kollegor med annan kompetens för att få fler perspektiv och förslag på lösningar vilket också ökar den kognitiva lasten på varje individ och teamet och även kan upplevas som hotfullt för individen. 

Hanteringen av denna komplexa värld påverkar chefens roll som förflyttas från att styra medarbetare i att utföra uppgifter till att istället styra systemet där medarbetarna löser komplexa uppgifter. Chefens uppgift är att skapa en lärande organisation där individer har förutsättningar att lyckas med sitt uppdrag och samtidigt strävar efter att nå satta affärsmål. För mig är detta kärnan i Agilt ledarskap.

Konflikter och osämja på arbetet har oftast sin grund i att någon känner sig hotad och använder ett flyktbeteende. När hjärnan går i hotläge får vi svårt att koncentrera oss på annat och vår analytiska och kreativa förmåga släcks ner. Detta motverkar samarbete och de konversationer vi behöver för att ta oss mot målet. Jag brukar använda SCARF-modellen (Neurovetenskapen har tagit fram SCARF-modellen som beskriver fem domäner som alla triggar hot – eller belöningssystemen på samma sätt som fysiskt hot) för att förstå mer om vad som händer, eller inte händer, i teamet och vad jag kan göra för att skapa bättre förutsättningar för en lärande organisation. 

De 5 domänerna är:

  1. Status (engelska Status) handlar om relativ betydelse för andra
  2. Förutsägbarhet (engelska Certainty) handlar om att kunna förutse framtiden
  3. Autonomi (engelska Autonomy) ger en känsla av kontroll över skeenden
  4. Samhörighet (engelska Relatedness) ger en känsla av trygghet med andra – att de är vänner snarare än fiender
  5. Rättvisa (engelska Fairness) är en uppfattning om rättvisa utbyten människor emellan

Jag delar med mig av några av de verktyg som jag använder i mitt agila ledarskap för att skapa en lärande organisation med utgångsläge från SCARF-modellen.

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HOW TO RUN THE WORKSHOP

Strategy is only as good as its ability to enable your product people to make smart decisions. It must evolve to remain fit for purpose. For those of you who want to make sure your product strategy serves your people, a collaborative approach helps you recognise and prioritise the most crucial gaps to work on.

The last post shares the product strategy health check template. Here’s one way you could work with it to align your POs, PMs, CPOs or whoever is in your product org chart. Co-creation is key to a shared commitment and conviction. Start with asking your product people to identify areas where they want more context. You can enable them a little better, each time, even if the official strategy is still in progress.

Treat it like a Kata, returning monthly or quarterly (but no less frequently) to prioritise the next biggest gap you want to close. A strategy isn’t grown in one night, so this is something that you can make more robust over time, piece by piece. Each time, gather product people to add what they know, then dot vote on which field they most need more data on to make informed decisions. Then split into pairs or small groups, choose one, and work on making it clearer before you next meet. This way, your strategy evolves over time, can gradually be strengthened, and benefits from collective effort. Don’t forget to remove old, irrelevant info as you go too. 

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There are many ways businesses can organize to grow and deliver value, but not all of them are equally effective. Melissa Perri, the author of The Build Trap, acknowledges four primary organizational patterns that take very different approaches to achieve growth and value delivery, we have added a fifth pattern that is very common too, the budget-led organization.

Budget-Led Organizations

Budget-led organizations focus on long term planning and mitigate the risk of people working on the wrong thing by having everyone hand in their plans on an often yearly basis and having them reviewed and committed to. This is often a time consuming process, not only to plan, but also to follow up on how all parts of the organization are doing compared to the plan. Important metrics are often deviation from plan as well as obsession over if the work is maintenance or innovation (opex or capex). This type of internal focus gives the organization a locked focus. No matter if the target moves away, the structures are set up to make sure you stick to the obsolete plan. It does not allow new insights to impact what gets delivered and the organization cannot have customer focus nor compete on a fast moving market. Most times people in the organization spend most of their time trying to find ways to game the system to be able to have any success at all.

Sales-Led Organizations

Sales-led organizations work closely with clients to define the product roadmap, taking all of their requests, and sometimes customizing things especially for them. The challenge, however, is when it comes to scaling. Organizations with 50 to 100 customers or more cannot build everything uniquely to match the needs of each customer unless they want to become a bespoke agency. Most products delivered by sales-led organizations suffer from debts in all possible ways; product, usability and tech.

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In this episode of The Agile Weather Report we talk with Magnus Sedlacek about how they used the Buddy System at Ada Beat to create a flexible learning organisation.

If you want to read the blog post that gives you a bit more insight you find it here

Make sure you subscribe to our YouTube-channel so you don’t miss any of our other videos. If you want to go straight to the other Agile Weather Report videos, you can find them here.

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All product companies likely have a document titled Product Strategy, but do they have a real product strategy? Perhaps you’re in charge of the product strategy and want to test and strengthen it. Perhaps you’re a Product Manager feeling the consequences of a strategy that isn’t fulfilling its promise. Do you see any of these symptoms in your product company? 

  • Direct solutions coming from senior stakeholders, without space for product discovery
  • Teams and stakeholders feeling the costs of context switching, working on very different initiatives, and spread thin
  • Teams caught by surprises, needing to help other teams working on very different initiatives
  • Senior product stakeholders unhappy with PM decisions closer to the work, even if the PMs are technically making decisions that fit within the strategy
  • Slick presentations promising upcoming, unvalidated features, rather than focus on opportunities

Alignment is crucial. You can get alignment by directly reviewing decisions, Or, you can share the appropriate information and decision making framework so that others can make smart decisions without the direct oversight. To scale, product leaders can no longer rely on personally approving plans. A leader’s role is to enable their colleagues to make decisions themselves. Especially in the days of hybrid workspaces, it’s all about the flow of information. Your strategy plays a huge role in that information flow. 

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It has been a pleasure working with a company like Unilever, eager to learn and curious to try new things. Of course it has been frustrating and hard sometimes as well, when there have been hindrances in the organisation, and some people have been busy working in their old inefficient way. But change takes time, and being an Agile Coach means you are to hold your client’s hand and help the client to find its own way forward on the path of going Agile.

When we had our first contact with Unilever, most people didn’t have a clue what Agile was, maybe some had some friends working with IT talking about Agile, but that was about it. Now, we hear that people are eager to get on the track of Agile, there is a pull of learning and practising Agile everywhere in the organisation! We got curious about what the main drivers of the Agile journey, the members of team Mountaineers: David Scholander, Jacob Jensen and Emma Lindroos, would say. We asked them some questions. 

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Photo cred Ada Beat

When starting up a new organization we can design it based on guiding principles to enable more Agility and a learning organization. We then might want to keep it flat, without unwanted hierarchies, perhaps even without managers. We also want to enable people to collaborate when needed without both chaos and silos, enable decisions to be made where the work is done, and empower everyone to engage in the development of the organization as well as growing the business.

This was the case for the tech company Ada Beat. In the search for a way to do that they decided to use the Buddy System as a structured approach to enable Agility and build a Learning Organization, and they asked me to support them with this. Read more about what a Buddy system is at the end of the post.

Case: Buddy System at a Tech Company

We asked our friends at Ada Beat´ to write a small case study on why they wanted to grow a Buddy System.

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We are so happy to be able to share the Agile Coaching in a Nutshell Poster with you for free also in simplified Chinese! Thank you so much, Paulino Kok and his team at agilizing.com for your awesome work with the translation 🙂

Free download of the Agile Coaching in a Nutshell in Simplified Chinese in high resolution (PDF) >

Read the original post about the poster and download the Agile Coaching in a Nutshell poster in English here >

Free to download, use and share

The posters are published under Creative Commons License, so please use it and share it as you like. If you are interested in doing a translation to any other languages please let me know and I will help you with the file and publish it here in the blog as well.

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MAINSTREAM MODELS MAY NOT BE CUTTING IT

Mainstream coaching models don’t fully account for the unique processing styles that are prevalent in the systemic thinkers that organizations rely upon for creativity and innovation. As a result, we’re not tapping into and releasing the remarkable creative and innovative potential of today’s talent in roles involving creative knowledge work. Moreover, research suggests that many of these systemic thinkers often have attributes of ADD, ADHD, Asperger’s, or other atypical ways of thinking. Given that everyone falls somewhere on the ADD, ADHD, and Asperger’s spectrum, we posit that unleashing creativity and innovation in today’s workplace requires a coaching model that accounts for multiple processing styles. We all think differently, and we need a coaching model that fits everyone.

In this blog post, we present a model designed to leverage the processing strengths and mobilize the brainpower of today’s entire (organizational) collective, which we’re currently calling the Grow/Plow Coaching Model.

POPULAR COACHING MODELS

All the mainstream coaching models we’ve come across are variants of the popular GROW model, which involves establishing a Goal, examining current Reality, exploring Options, and determining what Will happen next: 

The GROW Coaching Model

Such approaches presuppose that the coachee’s processing style prefers to start with concepts, such as goals or the big-picture aspirations often discussed while coaching, before diving into the details. This processing style is known as top-down processing and accounts for how most people think. Top-down thinking is driven by cognition where the brain applies what it knows from experience and what it expects to perceive and “fills in the blanks”. 

SYSTEMIC THINKERS THINK DIFFERENTLY

Systemic thinkers, on the other hand, often have neurobiological and cognitive attributes that result in a bottom-up processing style that prefers details before concepts. A bombardment of sensory information comes in and their brain takes in these details before moving into conceptualization. This processing style is often connected to what’s known as the Weak Central Coherence deficit. In our experience, such thinkers prefer using problem-solving approaches to coaching that welcome the sensory details underpinning the need for change early in the process where the desired future state can be emergent and shaped by data rather than presupposed at the onset. 

THE “PLOW” PROCESS

We took the basic steps involved in problem-solving to create an acronym we call PLOW. The PLOW process involves defining the Problem (i.e., state the problem as clearly as possible and be specific about the situation, behavior, circumstances, and timing that make it a problem); Learning as much as possible about the problem (which includes gathering data like facts, feelings, and opinions); exploring Options; and determining what Will happen next:

The PLOW Process, which can be thought of as a generalized 4-step problem solving model
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In this episode of The Agile Weather Report we talk about the future of Agile Teams in this new Remote and Co-located world.

Den här inspelningen är på Svenska. This episod is in Swedish.

If you want to watch the Pilot Episode you can find it here

Make sure you subscribe to our YouTube-channel so you don’t miss any of our other videos.

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In this poster, I have collected some organizational design patterns from Agile product organizations at scale. The highlighted questions might serve as an entry point to different topics, such as design principles for the organization, strategy for growing teams and individuals, how to enable autonomy and alignment and how to design the leadership teams to support and grow an awesome product organization that delivers products customers love.

Download the poster in high-resolution Product Organizational Design Patterns poster as PDF >

Highlighted questions to reflect over in this poster

  • How do we measure success?
  • What are our guiding principles?
  • Are we optimizing for flow?
  • Are we optimizing for value?
  • What is the capability we need to scale?
  • How do we enable flow of information?
  • What is the Minimum Valuable Bureaucracy
  • What roles do we need in our leadership team?
  • How do we grow teams & individuals?
  • What type of teams do we need?
  • How do we enable both autonomy & alignment?
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“On the Cover” is a great exercise to define the vision for a product, service, company… you name it!

Use it with your team to define your vision. If you create one each you can then share your thoughts with each other. It might just be valuable to see if you are aligned with eachother on the big picture, but you can also create one picture together and build on what you all shared and find the next level together.

If you are far away from each other on important topics, talk about why and what that means. It is valuable to get a shared vision to be able to know if we are doing the right things and to engage the team.

Free High-Resolution Download of the “On the Cover Poster” (PDF) >

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Ever wondered what the business impact would be of delivering continuously in small batches instead of everything in a big bang? Watch this video and reflect if you could benefit from delivering in an Agile way.

This video is produced as a part of our custom-made training materials in Dandy People Academy.

Visit our digital learning platform here: https://www.agileonlinetrainings.com/

Our total learning offer here: https://dandypeople.com/training/

See more videos on our Youtube channel >

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Bild från MyNewsdesk

I dag stod det klart att Karin Hagren är vinnaren av Stora Ingenjörspriset i Ledarskap. Vi vill gratulera Karin till detta fina ledarskapspris och samtidigt passa på att välkomna Karin till Dandy People! Karin är i dag Agile Director på King och kommer att börja som Agil Enterprise Coach hos oss på Dandy People i Augusti. Vi ser med tillförsikt fram emot att få lära av Karin och jobba tillsammans hos våra fantastiska kunder.

Utdrag ur pressmeddelandet på My Newsdesk

“Det känns jättestort att vinna! Jag brinner för ledarskap och har gjort det i hela mitt yrkesliv, så det känns fantastiskt att bli nominerad av mina medarbetare och sedan vinna, det känns helt grymt! Det är genom ledarskap man får saker att hända och det handlar om att få alla att vilja vara med och lyckas tillsammans”, säger Karin om att motta priset.

Juryns motivering
Mottagaren av priset utövar ett ledarskap som visar vägen och möjligheter och är utforskande och sökande istället för dikterande och styrande. Vinnaren är en nyfiken ledare med stor erfarenhet av arbete i internationell kontext. Hon är både strukturerad och pragmatisk samtidigt som hon är en kulturbärare av rang. Vinnaren har skapat en miljö för aktivt lärande och visar stor öppenhet för förändring. Hon leder geografiskt utspridda personer och team, drar dagligen nytta av sin ingenjörsbakgrund och har fokus inställt på det agila arbetssättet.

Läs hela pressmeddelandet på Mynewsdesk här >

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When working in Agile teams, we want the teams to do usability testing to get quick feedback. This is the most efficient way to make sure we are building the right thing. The Test Canvas can be used to speed up the feedback process and enable more people to learn how to do it and join the process.

This canvas is created based on UX professionals practices and guide anyone through the process in a safe way as well as minimize the time to define and conduct usability testing on a continuous basis – it is perfect for building and scaling the UX capability in many product teams.

Download the test canvas for free as a high-resolution PDF >

Usability testing is qualitative as opposed to a quantitative method

The purpose of usability testing is to observe users and how they solve common user tasks in a prototype or existing service to see if the solution is working well. We want them to talk out loud so we can understand how they think when they use it.  We want to be able to ask them questions so we can better understand their mental models and experience. Since it is a qualitative test where we listen to and look at how users behave and how our service performed it is usually enough to test with 5-8 people. Once you realize nothing new “big” is coming from the tests you know you have reached the limit for what is needed now. But once you have fixed those issues you might test again on new people. You find more information about this in the canvas.

Usability testing can be done on anyone and any user type

Usability testing can be done on anyone and any user type. A user interview on the other hand is something else, that is when we need to learn if the solution solves a specific problem. In that case, we need to validate that on the target group and perhaps someone who is like our users and a specific persona. Often we then need to interview or observe 20 people instead of only 5-8.

Usability testing can be scary at the beginning

Meeting with customers and doing usability testing, in the beginning, can be intimidating. A good way to get started is by creating a safe-to-fail environment by practicing with people you know. Remember, if the team can test on real users once in a while and get valuable feedback, it is so much better than never getting to meet with any users and never getting any validation on what they do. It is also a lot better than only having experts outside of the team, or even worse outside of the organization.

Good methods for usability testing

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We have just finished reading “Humankind” By Rutger Bregman in our Book Club so now we have decided to continue down the sociology path for a bit since every member in the Book Club really enjoyed Humankind.

So the new book in the Dandy Book Club will be “Dare to Lead” by Bréne Brown

Dare to Lead is also a very important book in the times we are in now, where we need to lead ourselves in a complex and ever-changing world. Where we don´t know what tomorrow will bring.
The book will challenge us to lean into courage, put ourselves out there in the leadership role and be brave. Leadership isn’t about a role or a title, it’s about caring for yourself and your colleagues so anyone can lead and be a leader.

So far the Book Club has been there for us to read, reflect and learn from the books we have been reading. But this book inspires me to take a step further, to actually use the Book Club to do differently. I can do something different by using the Book Club for the purpose of trying something new for each week, inspired by the book. Maybe that will lead others to do the same. If you are one of those, or if you are just curious about how the Book Club works, please join us. We start by reading the prologue and the first chat about April 12, 4 pm CET.  Join the Slack Channel here!

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February 2021 was an amazing month for the evolution of agility. As a celebration of the 20th birthday of the Agile Manifesto, there was a month-long, worldwide, free, virtual festival, started by Scott Seivwright. It was open to anyone to join in as a participant and speaker or to host any kind of virtual event, and it was totally self-managed and co-hosted by ambassadors across the world.

I was honored to be the Swedish ambassador

Together with my team at Dandy People, and particularly Patrik Ekstrand who worked full time on this, we supported people to set up talks and events and promote them to the audience. A really big thank you to all the great speakers and everyone who joined in making new friends, building relations, and shared learnings! We are already looking forward to the 2022 event 🙂

The Agile 20 Reflect Festival Videos

As the festival closed, it had over 700 sessions, with speakers ranging from first-timers to co-authors of the manifest. Here is the official Youtube channel for the Agile 20 Reflect festival > And below I have collected the sessions that we hosted and recorded. You also find them on the Dandy People Youtube channel >

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With The Agile Weather Report we want to give you the latest, most up to date look into our Agile Teams and share their current findings and learnings from the Agile World.

Den här inspelningen är på Svenska. This episod is in Swedish.

In this first episode, the Pilot episode, we talk about Remote Teams and share several great tips and tricks for making Remote Work run smoothly.

Make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel where we will bring you more episodes shortly from The World of Agile.

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“-With my style of clothing and your company name, we would be a match made in heaven.” That is a paraphrase of my first comment on The Dandy People Instagram, sometime in 2019.

The Dandy Intro Package arrived a few days ago. Some fun and interesting books to start the journey right. And stickers of course.

And that’s how my journey began really, because after that I just started reading up on them on their webpage, finding what I thought, a company that encapsulated everything I had thought about and looked for without even knowing it. I barely knew what Agile was back then but when I found out about the Agile Mindset everything fell into place. I instantly felt at home in the Agile world because I already had the Mindset without even knowing there was a name for it. 

So, I signed up for everything Dandy People; their webinars, going over their awesome “-In a Nutshell” posters, and some of their courses. And read A LOT of books!

Then I had my first zoom-call with Mia Kolmodin and the week after that, Corona hit – and everything closed down. So we had put it on hold.

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The product development process is the end to end process we go through to make sure we build the right thing. As a Product Manager or Product Owner, your job is to lead this process, or parts of it, together with your team. 

The process looks the same no matter if you are working in an environment or product with legacy systems or a totally new product. This could be a waterfall, step-by-step process if you are in a slow-paced environment where not much is changing over the time it takes to think, build and ship it, but most often we need it to be more of a fluid process where we can go through it in different ways, with different methods depending on the need. We often want to get from start to end as quickly as possible to not just get quick feedback from stakeholders but also from real users to make sure we build the right thing and solve real customer problems.

The keys to building the right thing lay both in defining the right problems in connection to your business goals and finding the solution to solve the problem. When we work Agile we need to get quick feedback along the way and adapt the solution as we go, and we do that by embedding feedback loops into the process. As you can see above the process the feedback you get in the different parts of the process should help you either move forward or go back to re-iterate your assumption or solution, this is what we call Lean UX and Lean Startup depending on what we are building. 

In this chapter we will look at the different parts of the process and what methods can be used to be able to deliver in an Agile way, to get customer feedback, and to involve the stakeholders, team, and customer in a good way along the process. 

A couple of things to reflect on:

– Where are you in the process now? 
– Do you do work in all parts of the process?
– Do you, or the teams, often jump directly into planning?
– Is someone else doing part of the process, or is no one doing it?
– Do you and the team evaluate and optimize what you ship?

DOWNLOAD: Download the free poster in high resolution (PDF) >

The Product Development Process Poster

This poster with the overview of the product development process can be used for discussing your current ways of working, and as support for anyone to move from traditional ways of working with product development and product management. It can also act as a great support in planning how to work in the team together, and to create a high-level plan when starting some new product development.

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So, it is time for a new book in the Dandy Book Club and the next book up is “Humankind: A Hopeful History” by Rutger Bregman.

Books we have read until now

We have just finished reading the current book, “Humanocracy”, and as usual we face the nice task of choosing the next one. So how do we actually select which books to read and discuss, and why have we chosen this next one you might ask?

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This is a workshop that I have used a couple of times to enable shared ideas about product development with development teams. It is originally called ”Prune the Product tree”, and part of the book Innovation Games by Luke Hohmann.

Last Friday we used it with the Dandy People team to look at Dandy and what we might need to, and like to focus on and do next, and what fruits we think it might give us.

I love these kinds of workshops and formats that are visual and where we can use metaphors and get creative in our discovery and prioritization together. The full workshop was over 4 hours (and we didn’t finish).

USE THE MURAL TEMPLATE: Use the template in Mural

FREE DOWNLOAD OF PDF: Download the Prune the Product Tree poster for free in high-resolution PDF format

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We believe that well functioning Agile leadership teams are one of the most important functions of an Agile organization, but also one that often seems to be underdeveloped in most organization. That’s why we got together after summer and started to sketch on good practices and principles for Agile Leadership Teams.

Agile Leadership Team in a Nutshell Poster

We have collected some of our best tools and tips for cross-functional leadership teams that want to support the organization and build structures for Agility in this new poster. We are so happy to now finally be able to share the Agile Leadership Team in a Nutshell Poster with you for free!

DOWNLOAD IT FOR FREE: Here you can download it for free in high resolution >

Recording from the Release Webinar November 30

On November 30 we hosted a webinar where we launched the poster and shared our insights and learnings from where we created the poster.
You can also find the video on YouTube

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This is the fifteenth and last posting of our Agile Leadership & Management Series.

Organizations are complex adaptive systems, which means we can not with precision anticipate all possible impacts changing one part of the organization will have on another. And, we cannot anticipate how the organization will evolve in the future and what strategies will emerge. Success, therefore, requires that we make small continuous changes as a natural part of running the business.

Having a clear understanding of how the organization is working from different perspectives is critical when moving from traditional to more Agile structures and ways of working. One way is to look at the organization from different perspectives and they will shed light on what’s holding it back and what can be done to move it forward.

At Dandy People, we have created an organizational analysis model in 9-Dimensions of Organizational Change (TM) that gives a holistic perspective and connects the dots across the organization. This is the best way, we have found so far, to create and sustain a Learning Organization. The model is based on the 6-Boxes Model by Carl Binder.

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This is the fourteenth episode of our Agile Leadership & Management Series.

During my years working mainly with team, leadership and organizational development, I have experienced so many organizations lacking skills to both find and use the power that comes out of learning. We just tend to study what we already know, where we already are. But that does not lead us anywhere new. We need to learn from other people and in other areas to move forward.

Continuous learning is one of the keystones to be thriving in whatever environment and/or task you set out for. Learning is at its best when it flows through all levels of the organization, from the individual, to the teams/groups and, all the way out through the different parts of the organization. And many organizations struggle to find ways to set this up to work in a successful way and make it fluent in everyday work. So here are some really great tips and tools to get your learning organization up and running.

Becoming a Learning Organization starts with empowerment, e.g., alignment and autonomy, which creates an environment where game-changing strategies can emerge from people at the operational levels. 

So, what are the prerequisites for this to happen?

Check out the graphic below to find the prerequisites to uncover 7 proven strategies for embedding learning into your organization. 

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This is the thirteenth episode of the Agile Leadership & Management Series.

A core function of Agile leadership’s management work is to develop organizations into what is called learning organizations, a term coined by MIT’s Peter Senge, which are organizations that facilitate the learning of its members and continuously transform themselves. Such organizations possess the capability to survive and thrive in the midst of rapid change and high complexity. 

Learning organizations are one of the best ways to create a flexible organization that can handle VUCA in a good way. The idea for a learning organization is that people identify needs so that strategy emerges from the accumulated activities of peoples and teams. It emerges within the overall vision of the organization’s future so innovation and improvements add to the organization’s whole.

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This is the twelfth posting in the Agile Leadership & Management Series.

I have worked with many leaders in several different organizations over the years, and have come to learn that often times leaders struggle with finding out which role to play in an Agile organization.

Old school leadership was a lot about managing people to fit into your old way of doing things in your organization. A more modern (and Agile!) approach to leadership is to unleash the power that resides in your organization, by focusing your leadership skills on building structures and systems that enable the people’s skills to deliver high value at the right time. Here I have collected some of my learnings that I hope can help you on your journey.

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This is the eleventh episode in the Agile Leadership & Management Series

Agile leadership is a transformative, development-oriented leadership style and it is the natural next-step to traditional leadership styles based for example on command and control or on carrot and stick.

Agile leaders are known for their ability to create the conditions required for unleashing the knowledge, motivation, initiative, and team collaboration needed for achieving organizational goals; and stay healthy as teams and people.

Management is a natural part of leadership because the system (not the people) needs to be managed. 

When Agile leaders have strong management skills, they become known for their situational awareness, forethought, initiative, willingness to grant autonomy, responsibility, and ability to demonstrate flexibility and build trust as well. 

In Agile organizations, each leader is responsible for managing one domain: either people, product, technology, or process. The interplay between these domains is where the functions of leadership and management coexist. Therefore, to enable Agility within an organization, it’s critical that management practices used within each domain support the Agile principles! 

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Not many people like being lectured. Not all people like being coached either. But everybody (yes, everybody!) likes games in one form or another. That’s why we’ve created an experienced-based free online game that teaches the basics of an agile way of working.

You can play it yourself or with up to four people, taking the part of a team member in an agile team working on a number of stories in a sprint.

The game introduces:

  • The look and purpose of a scrum board
  • How T-shaping improves your chances of succeeding
  • Why continuous improvements is a good thing in the long run
  • The general structure of a scrum sprint

How to play – the Quick Version

Go to https://tabletopia.com/games/agile-wow-the-game and start playing!

How to play – Extended Version

1. Create an account at tabletopia.com

It’s free and we’ve made an instruction video on how you set it up (because it’s frankly a bit trickier than it should be)

2. Get someone to play with

After creating a “room” you can send an invite code to other players who can join in (they need to create an account as well). Want a video on how to do that? Here you go!

3. Know the rules

Want to know the rules? Then, we’ve got you covered! The rules are available in the game but we made this how-to video just in case:

4. Start playing!

Go to https://tabletopia.com/games/agile-wow-the-game and start playing!

Are you a Team Coach or an Agile Coach?

You can also take the role of a facilitator and play the game to train new agile teams about the basics or let it be the start of a discussion in a more mature team.

After finishing playing, run a retrospective. Follow up the usual “What could have we have done better?” and “What did we do well?” with “How does this compare with real life?” and “Do you work together like this in your teams?” and let the discussions flow.

Playing with people on the same team gets you comparisons to real life (and quite often “why don’t we work more together?”). People from different teams quickly get into comparing ways of working and exchanging ideas. All great stuff, and if you don’t have time to finish the game know that you’ve already won!

In order to create an experienced-based game, we have taken the liberty to simplify some things and we might not follow all the rules of Scrum. But if you are looking for the Scrum Guide you find the 2020 version here.

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This is the ninth posting in the Agile Leadership & Management Series

Leaders play an important role in Agile organizations, as they give direction to the organization, manage the structures around the Agile teams, act as sponsors, empower both teams as well as individuals and, perhaps most importantly, foster a culture of psychological safety.

In Agile organizations, a leader is responsible only in one area. Either PEOPLE, PRODUCT, TECHNOLOGY, or PROCESS. The Agile Coaches coach the people in all processes and areas to improve the value and flow continuously. This is the core of an Agile Leadership team, also for the executives. 

The Agile Leadership Flower

The cross-functional Agile Leadership Team works together on moving the organization forward while working within each area supporting their people at operational and tactical as well as strategic level.

The Main Mission for the Agile Leadership Team is to improve structures and increase the outcome of the organization.


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The next post in the November Agile Leadership and Management Series: “Are you really a Team?”


Sign up for the launch of the Agile Leadership Team Poster

The new Agile Leadership in a Nutshell poster will be released at the end of November 2020. Sign up for the free release webinar here if you want to learn more.

Topic: Free Webinar – Release of the Agile Leadership Team in a Nutshell Poster
When: Nov 30, 2020 06:00 PM Stockholm time
Register in advance for this webinar:
https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_8-st6zZGQA2M-xQLS12euQ

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

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