Word of the week: Sustainable

11 06 2014

I was at an organization where the top management changed more or less every year.
At another well reputed organization where some of my friends used to work and deliver good stuff, BAAM, top management changed or it got bought or something and then it changed from a team-oriented organization to a very bureaucratic top-down way of work.

A third one, smaller, same thing happen and within a few months the crew was gone.

At a forth one..  I can give you thousands of stories of companies and organizations who seriously changed in very short time. If these organizations are still successful today, more successful or less successful I don’t know.

At one organization, an academy, not much changed at all, bits and pieces now and then and sometimes a small change could take 250 years. Is this academy successful? 

What are you’re criterias?

The academy keeps, as far as I know, ”delivering” awesome bright students.

The ”team-oriented” to ”top-down bureaucratic” organization I still believe have profit and a loyal customer base.

Some organizations die, some of them turn into something else, better or worse – who is the one to judge? The market?

The market is not always right. Just think about all those seriously successful industries.. which get so much profit, to the cost of humanitary and environmental disasters. Are they successful? They keep selling.

Was the .com era a failure? Oh NOOO way if you ask me! I too was part of ”portal site projects” stopped before launch ’cause of the crack in the bubble. But .com was successful, don’t you agree?

And for all those companies who might have got sucked in and died within HP or whatever huge enterprise, how long would they have succeeded, how long would their technology have stood up for the seriously high pace of their competitors with much cooler stuff.

What makes a sustainable company? How long will HP be around? SAP? H&M? Twitter..? Myspace?

I think Google will be around for a while. As HP. Will Apple?

But all those ”we have such a cool map/search product, it can draw you a map very easy”.. well they disappeared or live a tiny existance today. 

The owners, the entrepreneurs, they keep going on most of them even after something happened to their baby. Taking what they learned and doing something new, wiser from the previous experience and possible with a contribution to technology development that get injected in someones project somewhere. Or they retire on that sought after palm beach.

What is sustainable? 

Kids are.





Word of the week: Leverage

5 04 2014

Have you ever seen a business statement, a press release or similar in the software business that does not include ”leverage”?

For me, leverage is a collector for all things you want to say, which you just don’t have the time, will or data to specify more clearly.

I want to leverage everything that’s good.



Examples of testable requirements

1 04 2014

In the last edition of  @TestingCircus I was yammering around testable requirements and the need for requirements people to get help from all you testers out there.  http://www.testingcircus.com/examples-of-testable-requirements/

Testing Circus is btw a great magazine! Even go back to old editions is well worth the time.

Happy ending 2013, fuck Agile and be Good

26 12 2013

Sorry Agile about the title. I can’t figure out another way to say it. Time to ditch the concept of Agile and talk about what matters. All we want to do is Good. In projects, organizations, development, business.

I was upset by everyone, and I mean everyone (at least in the IT domain), putting ”Agile” in front of every word related to their work, to make some sort of statement. ”We need to be more agile”, ”you have to make this team agile”, ”Our organization should be more agile”, ”In agile user experience we do this”, ”to have an agile release process you need to..”, ”our marketing department is agile”..  Seriously, what do you mean really?

A friend of mine, @froderik,  suggested we just replace ”agile” with ”good” and it will become more clear.

Try that.

The Agile manifesto did something awesome more than 10 years ago, putting into words something that needed to be put into words. To put attention to something that was not good in the IT business, and could become better.

Now, the Agile manifesto seems to has served it’s purpose and it’s not enough as a guide anymore.  For instance there’s nothing in the Manifesto that says we actually should deliver stuff (product and services). :-) You’ll see it if you read it as another friend @NiclasReimertz reminded me of.  It’s fine. It’s just time to take a breath and take the next step on the ladder.

Nowadays, the word Agile is  used in every situation to explain something bad, or good, or middle. It doesn’t mean anything any longer. How many times have you lately heard the word ”agile” used in any kind of setting?

The Agile communities did change my professional world. With the help of Agile people I learned new methods and structures to do better team leadership & development processes and somewhat better services and products.  For these communities, Agile is now more of a brand name. People know who they are by the name. No need to change. But in all other settings Agile is obsolete.

Now, to do seriously good services and products for my customers, there are so many things that need to be considered, known and explored. Business, people, process, user experience, quality, domain, context, learning. Knowledge from the history and science of communication, psychology, engineering, learning, marketing, technology  as well as crazyness, invention, collaboration over great distances, with highly integrated and complicated or complex systems, Agile just don’t have the chance to give an answer any more. Now I just want to do Good.

I get confused and restless when hearing Agile. What do you really really want? I ask.
You want a faster release cadency?
A functioning team?
An innovative product?
A stable environment?
Happy users?
Big sales?

Tell me what you want, and I’ll try to find a Good way to do it for you.

Bye Agile, enter Good.

The word of the week: Momentum

23 09 2013

It is something very appealing about this word, and I believe you’ve all seen it somewhere not long ago.
Feels nice to say, both vague enough and very business like, and people seem to know what you mean even though they haven’t heard the word before (especially in non- English countries). Maybe ’cause it comes from the world of physics?

Do I need to say IT managers love it? As do physical trainers.

(btw, I might bring up the practice of the word of the week again.)

Driving your product

16 08 2013

The challenge
Going to the production line. Everyone who develops a product starts by needing the tool himself. He develops something of use to him or his closest peers. Then a business appears. Facebook. Spotify. Twitter? Netflix. AirBnb. A nice pen. An automated calculator. An aeroplane. Then he gets so busy building new versions of the tool, and to run the company so he no longer have any use of the tool himself. Others have. And he cares about them. Feel responsible. And earn his living from it. So how to build a tool that no longer is of any use for him? He now knows how to market, make sales, grow effective teams. But how can he possible know what’s needed?
Someone would say, he can visit his customers, users, watch them, study them with scientific methods. I ask, is this enough?
Does he need to use the product himself to be able to build it? Does he need to drive the car himself to develop it?
I sincerely believe, Yes!
Someone will argue – it’s enough to know your target groups, your environment where your product are. Is it? To make decisions of overall features, yes. For decisions of details, hmm.. How can you know how the gear handle should fit in your hand if you’re not using it?
But just let someone test drive it for you. Yes good. But as a business leader, on the top of it all, can you make wise decisions without sometimes using your own stuff?
Well, for medical products I guess the answer has to be no, don’t get high on your on supply.. still medical inventions have all? been tried by the inventor, isn’t it so? Pencillin? Viagra? Birth-control pills?
Extensive testing with trial groups is at least a prerequisite to develop any medicine at all. The same should be true for software.

What we right now, too often, are saying is that we neither need to drive our car nor do extensive trial testing in groups for our product. That our general knowledge of the market & users is enough.
Just point & shoot without knowing the emotion of the cars’ gear handle.
Well, you probably can sell a car by following design standards and be a clever business guy. But
can you build a fantastic one with only that?

Ulrika Park


What direction do you need?

8 07 2013

Some friends with a little summer house in the beatiful island of Utö, Stockholm archipelago, always invite friends to visit, to stay in one of the two small rooms or in tents. Now they plan to fix their shed down the water to make it liveable.

So they have the idea to bring all friends for a weekend to restore & fix it together with them. Great idea. But ”oh my” my first thought was. A lousy carpenter I am (maybe I don’t know haven’t tried much), anyway with no experience, I can see this crowd of friends standing there with no plan and some tools and starting to discuss where to start, who will do what.  It makes me sick thinking of it. ”I’m more than happy to help out, but please please make sure there is someone gaffer from the start who tells me exactly what to do, and get us going.

This made me think about projects in general, and software projects. A group of people coming together to fix something will for sure gonna be a drain, it there is no direction at all. They’re gonna talk for days. About what and how.

This can work I believe, if you’re really really explicit about that it’s up to the group to decide – everything – and they have easy access to the money – with a sharp deadline and with very direct, personal and visible reward and outcome from the project.

But if it’s not and you just want the shed liveable in the way you want it, and the outcome for the crowd is just ”a pizza and some beers, and maybe access a night or two in the shed during the summer”,  this is not the way to do it.

When knowing nothing about how to build a roof, to do up the windows, fix the floors, install a small kitchen, we for sure need a lot of detailed direction. ”Paint this border of the window, first clean them, with this tool” etc. This will make me productive.

If there are some people in the crowd who knows some  more, they will only need to know ”you take care of the windows, here’s the material, and some guidelines, ok!” to get anything going. Anything more detailed will get them irritated and much less productive.

Someone might be a builder, or have a lot experience from hobby projects, and all she/he will need to know is some constraints ”fix the house” – it can’t be bigger than x m/2, and have to be red, and must include some sort of kitchen area. And this guy will make it. If you give her too much constraints she will just give up ”what’d’you need me for if you know everything yourself!?”

Depending on experience, different sort of direction is needed. Please don’t expect your friends, being there over the weekend, to ”sort it out themselves”. They won’t. They will spend hours talking, discussing, who does what, what should be done, how it should look. Ending up by the rocks having a swim pretty soon..  or at the porch having a beer ”to think”.

Please assign us some roles. ”You’re in charge of the windows” is very helpful even with no experience. Knowing I’d be in charge for window, I’d make sure to gather some people around to figure out what to do. But HOW to do it? With no experience, please give me someone who can give us directions. ”You should start with..”

In software teams, compared with a bunch of friends fixing a shed, we have most often at least some experience or education. No-one is totally rookie. Therefore we start a bit ahead. Still we can’t put together a new group of mixed people expecting a great result without any sort of direction.

Is the product owner’s direction on WHAT to do, enough for software teams?

And the way many project managers, especially less experienced ones, ”direct” a software team, is that really effective? To tell more or less senior developers & team members exactly what to do and how to do it, is that really working?? Or to say ”we’re agile” and with that leave all direction?

Is the HOW so unique and changing so there is no need for any sort of technical instructions? ”You should start with…” Ever?

What level of direction do YOU want and need for yourself? To be able to fix your software shed with pride?

And have you told anyone that?
For example your project manager, CTO, team members or other managers?

Please tell us at least with a comment on this blog, if not anywhere else. :-)


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