Improvement Board


Henrik Kniberg says that Squads at Spotify are using Big Visible Improvement Boards that focus on one to three Actionable Accelerators like: “What is blocking us?” Also, the board shows a Definition of Awesome that includes things like:

  • Really finishing stuff.
  • Easily ramping up new team members.
  • No recurring tasks or bugs.

Beyond that, the Definition of Awesome Architecture makes explicit:

  • I can build, test, and ship my feature within a week; and
  • I use data to learn from it; and
  • My improved version is live in week two.

Awesome is a direction, not a place, so it does not even have to be realistic. The Squads use a Definition of Awesome to help focus improvements and track progress.

The Improvement Board is inspired by a technique called Toyota Kata, showing:

  1. current situation;
  2. target situation in the form of a Definition of Awesome telling a little story about the perfect world;
  3. realistic next target condition that is one step closer to awesome; and
  4. next three steps, actions that take you to the realistic next target condition;
    • when these get done, the Squad fills them up with new improvement actions;
    • this section also shows a little week calendar.

The Improvement Board is very similar to an A3 Solver, a Pattern or Pearl, and the general Beyond Bullet Points structure.

Source: Spotify Engineering Culture » Part 2.

Keep the joint running

Picture tweeted by David J. Anderson made me look it up. I like it.

  1. There are no best practices, only practices that fit best.
  2. To optimize the whole you must sub-optimize the parts.
  3. Bad metrics are worse than no metrics.
  4. Relationships precede process.
  5. Relationships outlive transactions.
  6. Don’t confuse documentation with reality.
  7. Before you can be strategic you have to be competent.
  8. Big solutions that work start as small solutions that work.
  9. Customers are external. Internal customers aren’t.
  10. Don’t run IT as a business, run it in a business like way.
  11. There are no IT projects.
  12. Digest with intestines, think with brain.
  13. Every employee is irreplaceable.

Keep the Joint Running—A Manifesto for 21st Century Information Technology

Success profile


Fused Agile Management » David J. Anderson » Lean Risk Management—Options, Liquidity & Hedging Risk using Kanban Systems (ppt) and LKCE12 » David J. Anderson » Liquidity in Flow (video) on a single big visible chart (A2-sized).


  • David uses ‘risk profiles’ to find out what to pull next. If success + risk = 1 you can invert a ‘risk profile’ into a ‘success profile’ if you will.
  • Chart uses a polar chart rather than a radar chart.


  1. Create success profile on an index card for every option you want to execute soon.
  2. Put it into corresponding swim lane, honoring any work in progress limit.


The BOSCARD can be seen as an acronym for the A3 and be used as a strategic planning tool used to provide the terms-of-reference for new projects:

  • Background—Provide background information that includes the reasons for creating the project and mentions the key stakeholders who will benefit from the project result.
  • Objectives—Describe the project goals and link each of them with related, SMART project objectives.
  • Scope—Provide a high-level description of the features and functions that characterise the product, service, or result the project is meant to deliver. Be explicit about what is in and what is out of scope.
  • Constraints—Identify the specific constraints or restrictions that limit or place conditions on the project, especially those associated with project scope.
  • Assumptions—Specify all factors that are, for planning purposes, considered to be true. During the planning process these assumptions will be validated.
  • Risks—Outline the risks identified at the start of the project. Include a quick assessment of the significance of each risk and how to address them.
  • Deliverables —Define the key deliverables the project is required to produce in order to achieve the stated objectives.

Include the initiative’s name, its strategic fit, date raised, sponsor, and lead.

Make all stakeholders understand the BOSCARD and make sure you have everyone’s consent before investing even the first euro on this initiative. Woithout everyone’s consent, some expectations will not be met.

Consider replacing your PIDs with BOSCARDs. Decision-makers, scarce on time, will love it.

The BOSCARD is thought to have originated with consulting company Cap Gemini in the 1980s.

Sprints are like a water tumbler

A sprint of one week is like a small bamboo water tumbler. Sprints of three weeks are larger, heavier and tumble a three times slower than the one week tumbler.

Your organization is like a web of bamboo water tumblers. Make sure they tumble with a synchronous or syncopic rhythm.

Rhythm creates momentum, momentum synchronizes all pulses in your organization.

Syncopation includes a variety of rhythms which are in some way unexpected which make an off-beat tune or piece of music. More simply, syncopation is a general term for a disturbance or interruption of the regular flow of rhythm: a placement of rhythmic stresses or accents where they wouldn’t normally occur.

All dance music makes use of syncopation and it’s often a vital element that helps tie the whole track together.