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Agile team seatingThere is a an increasing trend in big companies and organizations to go Agile, and of course that is awesome in my opinion. What is really confusing though, is that many of the same companies and organizations also decide to change to activity based seating. This is really confusing in many ways, since it will bring contradictory behaviors than what you are looking for when working Agile, and in the short – and long run, make the company fail to go agile.

Recent posts in this series:

– Free Infographic  “Get seated for Agile”
The Free Report “The Agile Activity Based Seating Report 2018”
Free PP slides of the report
Video of me presenting the report (Swedish)

The only conclusion I can do, is that there is not enough knowledge around how Agile seatings need to be – nor what the consequences of not being Agile when trying will be (costly and frustrating). Or perhaps it’s that the people that do the work (and know about this) and the people making these decisions are too far away from each other and don’t communicate in a good way. Either way, it’s a huge waste – and so unnecessary.

I have several times been contacted by people working in organizations where they have had Agile teams sitting and working together with good results – and out of the blue, usually over a weekend or over a holiday, their office space was changed in to activity based seating with clean desk – and clean wall policy. The team shows up on a Monday finding all their stuff that was put up on the walls in a cardboard box and their 2-3 computer screens gone… These people tell tales about how their colleagues went home after that day, refused to come back in weeks. Their delivery pace went down with below 50% of normal and quality of work and innovation went down the drain totally. Everything the team had fought for to build up was erased over night.

Flexibility in Agile and Activity based offices must be a perfect fit – or does it?

Organizations that decide to go with activity based offices probably have the best of intentions. I’m sure of that, people usually do. But I’m also sure they need better advisory. It might look as if the flexibility in both agile and activity based office works really well together (and this is an argument I’ve heard sales people for these solution use). And it might look like you will save a lot of money, not having as many seatings as before, and it might look like people will get to know each other a lot better when they move around every day, and you might think they will love their new updated beautiful workplace with special designed chairs for people who like to sit alone not seeing or being seen by any one else. But it´s all wrong – so wrong – at least if you want collaboration, innovation and high speed in your organization and culture. Flexibility is not always what you need after all. (more…)

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Many of our decisions, conclusions and actions in a team come about after a good meeting. But what is a ‘good meeting’? How do we make them productive, informative and how do we engage all invited in order to close it with the expected results. Meetings do come in many different shapes and forms, quick stand-ups, day or two long workshops, planning, retrospective the list goes on.

How do you engage people in effective collaboration? Should you entertain them? When you walk in loaded with your beautiful agenda, prepared meticulously ahead of the meeting, to find yourself demotivated by yawns of few attendees. And you, dear meeting goer, ever find yourself spending meetings daydreaming? Not feeling like your voice is heard? Already planning not to show up on the follow up meeting? Daydreaming? Sleeping?
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This is a dialogue board, created to facilitate good discussions around business strategy and tactics in a startup. At Dandy People we are using it to start up our consulting business, but it can be used by any type of organisation, or part of an organisation that wants to improve their customer focus, culture, leadership and take action as a team.

Building in Illustrator

At Dandy people we like to build our new business in a way that involves and inspires the people in our organization. To facilitate the discussions we wanted to have on our first mini-conference 2 months after starting up our shop, and after hiring 2 new people, I did this Lean Business Strategy & Tactics Dialogue Board. Off course we had already done som strategy and tactics work already before we started our company, but we felt that we wanted to be transparent and bring our new Dandys onboard with the idea of the company to enable them to feel as involved and motivated as possible. And off course, they are smart and experienced people, so why shouldn’t they be able to help us improve and grow? And I can just say that it worked like a charm 😀

Free download of the board here (as high resolution PDF) >

The Lean Business Dialogue Board

Feel free to use the board if you want, also we would be happy to facilitate the workshops with you and your team if you feel a need for that. Thats kinda what we do at Dandy People 😀

The board consist of 3 areas:

    • Business Strategy
    • Culture and People
    • Tactics

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As many of you might know, the product owner role is perhaps the most difficult role in the Agile setup. It sometimes feels like it takes super powers to manage. Here I have tried to capture some of the important mindsets, processes and tools that I find valuable for coaching and training Product Owners and Agile Teams and leaders.

As a product Owner you need an understanding of what value the business wants to accomplish (not necessary how the business works), strategic and tactical skills in the craft of product development (mostly done by slicing), ability to work together with the team in the discovery process and with the stakeholders to understand their needs and goals and great communication skills to manage expectations.

UPDATE MAY 22nd 2017: Now you can download this poster in Italian  >

UPDATE JUNE 4th 2017: Now you can download this poster in Spanish >

UPDATE JANUARY 1st 2018: Now you can download this poster in French >

Download the Free Agile Product Ownership Poster in English as high resolution (PDF) >
Product Ownership Poster

As Agile practices proves to work better than other practices and spreads, it starts to involve the organization outside of IT or the development department. When companies start moving towards a more Agile organization across the silos, they might realize they are missing actual product owners and a product owner organization with representation from the business, and they bring in people from the business side to the PO role. What might strike many new product owners is how different the Agile way of working is (usually they love it), and how different the PO role is from their earlier experiences, maybe as a mid level manager. The product ownership is about NOT managing the details, NOR the people. It´s NOT EVEN about knowing what the solution should be. It might off course seem a bit frightening and confusing to some people, depending of the company culture off course, to focus on vision and learning along the way what is the right thing to do.

The Agile Product Ownership (not role) is about trusting in the capabilities of the team, and the process of learning as a team, prototyping and testing to find what is valuable and deliver piece by piece. The every day of Agile business and working as a Product Owner is about delivering value. And it is so rewarding when you know that you can do that, even though you in the early stages had no idea what the solution would feel like or look like, and that was probably the only thing you could agree about 🙂 Being able to trust that process and using proper methods to learn and deliver valuable solutions piece by piece, and doing it over and over again. That is what good product ownership is about – and it´s teamwork, not a one mans job. (more…)

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Cross functional teams are complete in expertise but not necessarily collaborative. Sometimes team members hold on to their expertise too much and the team does not perform to its potential. This Lego game illuminates the difference when members allow themselves to take on tasks outside their expertise, being so called T-shaped. Play the game to kick-start your change and create collaboration.

This post was first published on the Crisp blog when Mia Kolmodin was a Crisp consultant.

Collected downloads from this post – updated June 2017
X-team Facilitators Instructions as PDF >
The X team silos game poster in PDF >

Playing the game.

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Today I held a Design Studio workshop with about 25 people at NetEnt in Stockholm. There where people joining in because they where curious, from all different departments. Perfect for innovation 🙂

design studio free poster

Download the Design Studio poster as PDF >

It was just an hour, with a short introduction, starting with a warm up exercise to get their brains started up, and then 3 short time boxed iterations in 7 groups of 3-4 people. And then we had a 2 min presentation from each team on their combined idea in the team. Really excellent stuff!

A couple of the participants had done Design Studio before, but most of them had not. One of the participants said afterwards “When we got the mission, I had absolutely no ideas at all. But after just the first iteration I had plenty!”. Thats the way it works, you generate ideas and find solutions and see them from different angles as you work together.

The different groups came up with amazing ideas for future games on smart watches. Really innovative and cool 🙂

The Discovery Team

The Discovery Team

The more diverse your team is, the more perspectives you will see at the same time, and the better your ideas will be.

In the start of a new thing you might want to invite stakeholders, customer service, HR, marketing or others. When you do your sprints, you might pick some one outside the team to get a broader picture.  (more…)

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discovery-adn-delivery-process-w-one-team-small

Here you find the “Product Discovery and Delivery process with one team” as a PDF poster if you like to download it >

Ever since I saw Henrik Knibergs movie “PO in a nutshell” about how the PO role work for the first time I have been thinking about how he could have included the discovery process in the picture too. A while ago I created this as an example of how it could look and work for a X-functional team.

All ideas could be good ideas

The process starts with some kind of idea that could come from any stake holder – even from anyone in the team (this is usually a very rare occasion in most companies). The idea is verified in a concept (see example of a concept in my blog post on discovery framework) by the owner of the idea and the Product Owner decides if it worth starting the discovery process to figure out what it is they are supposed to build – or if it is not, based on the information in the concept.
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Product Discovery defines what should be built – and why. Collaboration Is Key. Your success with agile development depends on delivering the right product requirements at the right time.

During the past few years when I have been working as Lead UX or Product Owner I have come to a core process of how to do the discovery. At my latest gig on Viaplay as Chief Product Owner I had great use of some of these methods and also found it to be a great tool to have it visualised for all Product Owners in a one pager.

Within this process I see lots of different methods that may be used.As I use it I pick different methods in each level depending on organisation, product or project. Sometimes not all steps are neccesary off course. When working methodically for some time you start getting a feel for what seems like a good ide or not.

In this post I’m presenting a framework of the process as well as the methods in short formats. I will try to post more in dept posts on some of the methods going forward. Please let me know what methods you would like to know more about 🙂 Hope you find it useful in your daily work.

Download the one pager for Product Process and Tools here >

Here is my blogpost on the product development process with a continuous discovery and delivery process with one team >

Note: Due to some lazyness there are some Swedish material in this article also – sorry for that!

1. Strategy

Why are we doing this? What is the goal & desired impact? 

1.1 Concept
Concepts enables people passionate about a product idea, regardless of role, to realise it all the way to happy client. Concepts is a one page specification, in A3 format that represents a product idea of feature. It is enough to enable a prepared conversation with engineers developing the product. Think of it as a “flexible minimum specification”.  Mattias Skarins blog post on this http://www.crisp.se/concepts

Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 11.08.12

Here you can download the Concept template I have created from Mattias Skarins examples > (more…)

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