We want parallell (agile) & predefined (waterfall) requirements at the same time.

19 01 2015

I believe we are many in the same situation. At the same time as we are developing the software we define the requirements in different formats – verbally, written or as drawings & models. Also we define our requirements in parallell with other projects who are dependent on our project or vice versa, and who already have started development.

This is basically something good. Previously many did the specifications up front – sometimes for months or years (!), then handed over to development who tried to understand and implement what was written. This led to many errors so the ”requirements phase” has basically disappeared completely.

I have many good experiences from working with requirements in parallell with development. It’s pretty messy and frustrating for everyone, but in the end, the result seems to get a bit better off.

The problem arise when the organization do want to work like this, and at the same time expects the product owners, business analysts, solution architechts or whoever works with requirements to have ALL the answers exactly specified completely for every conversation.

”If you can’t give us a complete specification this week on feature x then we cannot commit to give you any delivery for the next 8 months, and possibly not at all”

-”But, in order for us to give you a good spec we need to see your first version of the software so we know where the gaps are, and can fill in the blanks”

I have seen this many times. You don’t want a 6 months requirements specification phase, because you know this will generate too many errors. Still you don’t want to accept that by removing this you DON’T have a complete specification to offer, you DON’T have the answers to new or modified business rules and you actually HAVE to have a development process that deals with this.  (There are many available..)

It seems so hard for many organizations to accept the fact that there is no specification and to adjust the processes to fit with the new reality of requirements discovery during development.

Those organizations who learns how to facilitate the new way of working by building in these facts into agreements with suppliers or dependent organizatons will succeed.

And those who have realized you need people who spend more or less 100% of their time with requirements investigation, disvovery, design in the teams & projects will also have a better chance to succeed. In mature teams, with time, the ”agile” requirement process will settle but it needs attention, competence and focus.

We’re in the middle of a change and too many are trying to work both in the old and the new way with requirements. This creates only more mess. Let’s accept the new form of working with requirements in parallell with development, and adjust our organizations, agreements and contracts to this.


Stop starting – Start finishing (Lean Kanban Nordic 2013)

13 03 2013


Back to normal again?
Exhausted after 4,5 months of real planning and 2 days performing of the Stop starting – Start finishing (Lean Kanban Nordic) conference at Hilton Slussen, Stockholm

I should really be going into ”Kvinnofängelset” mode and watching bad tv-series now. But I guess I’m in the ”Whatever” zone as Henrik Kniberg stated in his finishing talk.

Too tired & inspired to write any real content now, so STOP READING.
This is just some personal things that no-one should care about. Just once I decided to save these kinds of thoughts on a blog instead on a local not-backed-up disk.

During these months of intensive planning, coordinating, email-communicating, decision-making I have many times wondered – OH WHY!?

WHY didn’t I just say NO?

I have a full time job, two little kids & husband – aka DJ on the conference Open Night, trying to do some cooking sometimes (with or without them), exercising sometimes, meeting friends sometimes, put a little time in other hobbies sometimes, reading & writing sometimes and NO TIME to add conference planning.

Now I know why.

Maybe the same reasons as all the other idealists, crazy people out there, doing all these conferences all the time, over the world.

1. There was really no choice – suddenly you’re just there with the conference date set, and you didn’t know how it happened.

2. There is some mission that you have, that is just stronger than the inbox control robot in your head.

3. Enforcing surroundings from the mates that suddenly also said YES against all their rational mind.

4. The joy you see in many eyes during the conference. Without your no-choice commitment the particular event just wouldn’t have happened.

5. The many new and old friends you have met

6. The opportunity to give away small presents to people you admire in front of a big audience.

7. The draw to keep going out of comfort zone

8. The unavoidable learning you make. By arranging a conference I felt that I was more focused and learned more from the speeches than attending. Also just by arranging the conference you learn about communication, collaboration, organization, planning, trust, emotions, people..

So, to those of you that are in the middle of planning a conference :

YOU have no choice!
And many people will love you for that.

Lots of love to all participants and speakers and DF Kompetens for the Stop starting – Start finishing conference.

And to the sponsors of Open Night, without it, it wouldn’t have been the same conference experience. Thanks Frontit, Athega, KnowIT, IRM & LeanKit!

MAYBE – I will now take up some writing on this blog again. If you find nothing here – you might find something on the SmartBear blog
 I have a hard time deciding when to publish something there or here.. private hobbies & work just doesn’t need to be separated sometimes. Such as enjoying the time with great people at #sssf13 & programme team I can’t really divide in personal or work mates anymore.

See you around!

Stop starting, start finishing

10 11 2012

I feel like I’m ignoring my blog…

If anyone would care, I’m busy finishing programme set up of the conference ”Stop Starting – Start Finishing” (Lean Kanban Nordic) which will be held in Stockholm March 12-13 2013. Together with this great team – Håkan Forss (Avega), Anders Eklund (Frontit), Hermanni Hyytiälä (Reaktor Innovations) and Ketil Jensen (Leverage51) and the professional conference team at DF Kompetens.

At the moment Call for sessions is open a couple of weeks more. Don’t miss the opportunity to have a conversation with an audience of managers and others curious for next step in project , portfolio and change management.

Submit your proposal at sssf13.uservoice.com  or visit the Swedish submission info page at dfkompetens.se


How do you finish stuff in stead of starting more?

Cleaning under the stair

30 07 2012

Every time I do gardening (in our very little garden area) I get struck by the natural flow of clean-up thinking. I don’t know how other amateur home garderners do, but it’s hard for me to think of doing it without the non-consious thinking of cleaning at the same time as putting new features (plants) on.

The other day I bought some new flowers to put in pots on our stair – our new little beautiful features you could say if you’re in system development business. To be visible for us and visitors (users I guess) as soon as you come to the stair. Also we have some sad plants that severerly needs re-planting or they’ll die or look very ugly.

Before putting them on the stair I need to do some work – that is planting the flowers in some pots with new mould.

I need just to bring out the pots and mould bag from under the stair, and Ouch!! here it looks like a mess! (Ever got that feeling when working on software??)

What to do? Ignoring the mess? Just drag out the (dirty) pots from the spider nets, close my eyes and plant my new features (flowers).

I already know what will be the consequence of that decision..  the stair will have some bad looking dirt under it and next time it will be even worse to put new features or re-plant old features (flowers) in the garden.

I do a quick calculation of risk. What IF I will now do the not so pretty work of cleaning under the stair? What could happen if I do that now?

Worst case scenario is that I start cleaning and get interupted by some unexpected event today that will make me leave the garden for some more important or social event. Will my plants survive another day without getting new pots?

Well, ONE day or maybe two they might survive. Some of them are more sensitive. I take the risk of cleaning, I know it’s worth it.

I start dragging out the stuff from under the stair, and start cleaning. Washing up the pots, brush away the dirt, hunting away a huge spider keeping my head cold since little son is watching (mummy’s not bothered by a little friendly black huge spider at all… right).

Have placed the new plants in a friendly well organized spot so they won’t fall.

And actually, the cleaning did take some work but not as bad as it looked like at the first glance. I made some decisions during the action to NOT clean exactly every garden tool, every little pot plate with water. While cleaning under the stair I could see the bikes connected to it also could need some washing up. But hell no. Stick to the scope here. The mission was to put new features (plants) on the stair and taking care of some old ones, not to fix the bikes.

Be aware of scope and mission.

Now to the plants. Quick risk calculation. I might get interrupted. With two little kids that wouldn’t be a surprise. So which of the plants could die first if they don’t get new mould?

One new one and one old one it seemed. So I start with them of course. And just them.

Start with the high risk items!

If something will happen on the way and I have to stop, at least these two will not die and the other ones will probably survive a few days.

For very harsh interruptions such as urgent long time sickness, I cannot plan. The features (plants) I guess have to die if something really bad would happen.

The first two plants get in their pots.

Next item, hmm.. which one. I’ve promised husband (stakeholder) to re-plant a sad old one with little chance of survival). I have another new one waiting. Hm..

Well, not a very complex environment – in this case it really didn’t matter that much which I chose. I went for the new one and got time to re-plant the old one  – since I already had a nice clean pot to put it in it was quite quick done.

In a complex environment I would have done some calculation, maybe a user test with my husband and son on how important the old sad one was compared to the new flowering one. They would have made the decision.

The message here is just:

In our daily lifes the effect of cleaning and prioritization is so obvious. It’s natural.

How do you think about cleaning your system stuff? Be it code, tests, requirements, documentation, storage..? Do the same natural law of risk calculating, mission focused, cleaning apply?

If you act the same way when working in the garden (or whatever item-cluttered hobby you might have) as when working with systems development how would your garden (fishing equipment, book shelf, diving gear, antique collection, whatever) look like by now?

Using Agile retrospectives as a tool for organizational change

9 02 2011

Att stanna upp och reflektera i organiserad workshop-form ökar vår produktivitet markant. Jag har själv sett det fungera – när tillbakablickarna fungerar bra vill säga. Det är lätt att det blir mycket snack och liten verkstad. Med intresse och lite tips och hjälp från olika håll kan vi alla bli fantastiska workshop-ledare är jag övertygad om – och genomföra mirakel.

Därför har Frontit, Agical och Crisp bjudit in Esther Derby & Diana Larsen att komma till Stockholm mellan 14-16 mars för att hålla både introduktionsseminarier på temat ”Hur kan vi genomföra organisationsförändringar med hjälp av agila retrospektiv” – och en 1-dagars-kurs för den som redan provat på retrospektiv och vill komma vidare.

Läs mer i inbjudan. http://www.projektstyrning.se/files/agile_retrospectives.pdf

Sprid gärna vidare om du gillar förbättringar 🙂

Hoppas vi ses!

Do you use the spoilt brat pattern?

13 08 2009

Underbart inlägg apropå användbarhet