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Apr 16 13

Blogging on the Crisp blog

by Max Wenzin

At the moment I do most of my blogging (if at all) at so you’re welcome to go there and read about Five fundamental principles for building software development teams or other posts by me or my Crisp collegues.

Jun 21 12

Download Expekt Android app

by Max Wenzin

The great development team at Expekt have launched a great Android app, now with both live and pre-match betting!

However, it’s not on Google Play and the download link is a bit tricky to find, so I thought I’d make it easier!

Download the Expekt Android application!

Mar 26 12

Challenges of a distributed Scrum Team

by Max Wenzin

The Mobile Team at Projectplace has people both in Stockholm, Sweden and in Bangalore, India. This gives them a set of challenges that they need to overcome. I current work as a Scrum Master for them at Projectplace and I’ve written a blog post on the Crisp Blog about the challenges of a distributed Scrum Team.

Mar 22 12

My first Visual Agenda inspired by Gamestorming

by Max Wenzin
Visual Agenda

Visual Agenda by Max Wenzin

I will be doing some blogging on the Crisp blog from now on.

Here’s a post about my first Visual Agenda, inspired by the book Gamestorming.

Mar 11 12

Reverse Phone Lookup in Google App Engine

by Max Wenzin

I wrote a small pet-project this weekend based on Java in Google App Engine.

It’s a single-page web app that helps you use directory services (like white and yellow pages) in different countries. Ever needed to search for people in different countries? Hard to find which directory service to use? Well, this app solves that problem for you by knowing the best services and providing you with a single form to use, regardless of which back-end site will provide you with the search result.

I havn’t quite named it yet. It started out with the sexy name “Reverse Phone Lookup”, but since most sites now allow searching for name or phone in the same field, that name was not really appropriate. It now has the totally generic and boring header: Global Directory Search. Yuck. Oh, well. You can reach the app at the following URL:

The source code is available at GitHub if you’d like to write some request, or contribute!

Mar 6 12

Agile Change Strategies

by Max Wenzin

Change Strategies by Henrik Kniberg. Mindmap created in Mindmeister by Max Wenzin. View full map in Mindmeister.

Change Strategies

  • Ask for foregiveness rather than permission
  • Use metrics
  • Reversible “experiments”
  • Set an example
  • Talk to everyone at once & Capture the intent
  • Visualize the current situation
  • Compare options
  • Make a business case for your change
Feb 21 12

How-to do Sprint Planning using Jira

by Max Wenzin

I have been using Jira for many years and have worked as a Scrum Product Owner for a few years. I have managed multiple teams, based in different parts of the world. This is my guide to using Jira as a Sprint Planning tool.

When to use a web-based tool instead of a wall board (whiteboard)

  • When you have distributed teams
  • When you want to work on your tasks from multiple locations
  • When you need to share information with outside stakeholders (like customers)

If you have a simpler scenario, try using the simplest tool possible for your task tracking, like a whiteboard.

Screenshot of Jira

Before Sprint Planning

It’s the job of the Product Owner to keep the Product Backlog groomed & ordered. The items on top of the backlog should be well enough specified so that they can be moved into a Sprint Backlog. This work is ongoing and often means talking to stakeholders a lot.

Before Sprint Planning I prepare one Jira “bucket” per team. Usually I use one Jira “Version” for each Sprint and add a custom field (“Sprint Team”) to track which team a specific issue belongs to.

I fill the buckets with issues I find suitable for each team until there’s more than enough issues for each team. How do I know how much is enough? Past performance. Do I have estimates on all issues? No, usually not. Perhaps on some.

This results in a preliminary Sprint Backlog. This is not the final Sprint Backlog, but only a suggestion.

I usually juggle a bit with the ordering (prioritization) to make sure the most important issues are on top. Also, if there are any bigger or riskier issues, I move them up the list so they are handled early in the Sprint.

A few days before the Sprint Planning meeting I send out links to the preliminary backlog to the teams. At this time, the suggestion for next iteration should be pretty stable, but changes can still occur.

This enables the team to:

  1. Review the issues in advance (makes for a quicker and less painful Sprint Planning meeting)
  2. Give me feedback on poor priotization, poor team choice etc

Managing left-overs

Hours before the Sprint Planning meeting I kick any unfinished issues from the current Sprint into the preliminary Sprint Backlog for the upcoming Sprint. If there are issues that are not valid any more, I close them with “Won’t fix” or similar resolution. Issues that have been started are usually given a higher priority. (“Stop starting, start finishing”) The full remainder from current Sprint does not necessarily make it to the top of the list for the upcoming Sprint. Priorities change and new things pop up.

During Sprint Planning meeting

It is the job of the Scrum Master to send invites to the Sprint Planning meeting. The Product Owner is just there to clarify the backlog and answer questions. I try to take a backseat position here if possible and let the team drive the planning as much as possible.

Since the teams are often distributed in different parts of the world we usually use Skype for voice and some screen sharing software to display Jira.

Quick overview of Sprint Planning process using Jira:

  • Display list of issues (preliminary Sprint Backlog) in Jira and talk about the overall goal of the Sprint
  • For each issue in the list:
    • Team reads the issue
    • Team discusses the issue and asks the PO when in need of clarification
    • Team estimates the issue using Planning Poker or similar technique. Estimation is entered as “Time Remaining” in Jira. (or if estimation is done in “Story Points”, in some other suitable Jira field)
  • When the team feels that they have enough issues to fill a Sprint, the process ends. This is usually done by summing up the “time remaining” on the issues in the Jira “bucket” and when that sum reaches what the team usually manages (their velocity), then they know they have enough. Please note that summing up “Original Estimate” is not a good idea if you have work-in-progress left-overs from last Sprint.

After Sprint Planning

Directly after Sprint Planning I kick all issues that didn’t make the cut to the next version so that the teams bucket only contain what they have committed to for the new Sprint. Then I send a Jira link to the stakeholders so they can see exactly what the new Sprint Backlog contains. I may only send them a list of the issues that didn’t make the cut if I know they were expecting some specific issues.

I usually have some Jira filters for each Sprint to make it simple for the teams to know what issues to work on. I update these for the new Sprint.

Here are some example filter names:

  • Current Sprint – TODO – Team A
  • Current Sprint – TODO – Team B
  • Current Sprint – TODO – Team C
  • Current Sprint – TO TEST – Team A
  • Current Sprint – TO TEST – Team B
  • Current Sprint – TO TEST – Team C

You can probably figure out what these filters show…

Closing thoughts and further reading

Admin Ninja Black Belt, courtesy of Atlassian

I hope this guide gives you some idea how you can make it work. If you wish to read more about Jira in general, visit Atlassians Jira section. If you are unsure of the Scrum terminology used here, or just want to know more about Scrum, check out Scrum Alliance. If you want help implementing Jira at your workplace, keep me in mind. I am a Jira Admin Ninja Black Belt. ;-)

Sep 8 11

(Svenska) Boktips: Prioritera Fokusera Leverera

by Max Wenzin

Sorry, this entry is only available in Svenska.

Aug 31 11

How to add the Google +1 button to WordPress

by Max Wenzin
Wordpress +1

To add the Google +1 button to your WordPress site in less than 5 minutes:

Go to

It will tell you what code snipplets you need to put on your site. The problem is that you cannot put stuff in the header section of WordPress without a plugin. (Well, you CAN hack the WordPress source, but that’s not recommended since your hacks will disappear when you upgrade the next time.) So, install and activate the Header-Footer WordPress plugin.

Now, in WordPress Admin, go to Settings / Header and Footer and enter the code snipplets provided from the Google Webmasters +1 button page. The js link snipplet goes into the “HTML code to be inserted in the head section of each page” section and the +1 button snipplet goes into both “Code to be inserted after each post” and “Code to be inserted after each post” sections. This can ofcourse be altered to suit your preference.

Done! Enjoy! Profit! Socialize! Like! +1!

Aug 13 11

Agreement signed with Bouter Betong

by Max Wenzin

Better Code AB has signed an agreement with Bouter Betong och Maskin AB.

The agreement includes setup of domains, e-mail and a multilingual website using WordPress.