Building a strong Agile Coaching Community – The Swedbank story

What can you do when the demand for Agile Coaching is increasing in your organization at a rapid pace and you cannot keep up? Implementing rigid models and frameworks will not work. You need a deeper knowledge of the underlying principles and patterns the models and frameworks are based on and how to effectively adapt them to your context. For this, you need highly skilled Agile Coaches. So how do you build your  Agile Coaching muscles? 

This is the story of how we helped build a highly-skilled internal Agile Coach community complemented with external expertise and mentoring at Swedbank.

“We need more coaches”

Like most big companies transitioning to an Agile way of working, Swedbank has a core group of Agile Coaches. These coaches help individuals, teams and whole departments when they need support. The value added by the core group of coaches created an even greater demand for coaching. That’s where the idea for the Agile Champions Program starts: a program to help individual Agile ambassadors grow into a community of Agile Coaches, or Agile Champions as they were called.

Why a program and not a course? 

So before we get to the meat of the story, why did we choose to split a 5 day course over a couple of months as a program? A course can be a great experience but it is often like going to a great movie: when the movie ends, you are back to reality and nothing has changed. You may feel inspired but you have not really changed. Lasting change in mindset and behavior requires practice over time. That is, we need a program that lets the participants practice over time as they build a community.

Getting started

Participants submitted essays as part of the selection program explaining why they wanted to join and what they hoped to learn. We followed up with individual interviews to ensure that there was a match between the participant and the program. In these interviews we also explored possible change initiatives that provide an opportunity to continuously practice new skills and tools while adding value to the organization, what we called a “breakthrough project”

We gathered for the first meeting where we focused on establishing psychological safety and introducing the program. By the end of the two days participants had paired up in buddies and coached each other in articulating the goals for their breakthrough project. The group  also created a knowledge map of the topics that we were going to cover during the program. We followed that up by introducing samples of each module of the program starting with a focus on individual and team coaching, followed by agile practices and organizational coaching.

Learning labs

A couple of weeks later, we kicked off the half day “learning labs”. A learning lab is a laboratory where the participants can share, learn and practice new skills in a safe to fail environment. Our first meeting was at a tennis court where the participants learned about how we learn, using Timothy Gallwey’s “Inner game of tennis” technique. The remaining learning labs covered topics such as “coaching teams”, “modern product development” and “organizational structures”. Between each learning lab, buddies met to practice coaching each other in setting their personal learning goals and progressing their breakthrough projects. Participants scheduled phone calls with us for mentor coaching sessions. Finally, an important complement to the learning labs were the assignments or “field work” which included video clips to watch and experiments to run.

We closed the learning labs by talking about ROI and how to measure progress. The participants filled out questionnaires with their project sponsor, and on the last day of the program they each presented what they had accomplished and learned.

Program results

The energy in the room on the last day of the program was electric. The smiles on the faces of the participants as they worked together to summarize what they’d learnt were contagious. The best part of any program is hearing what the participants felt and thought, and to see the positive ROI values reported by the participants and their sponsors.

A new community

We followed up the ROI presentation with an ideation facilitation to help the participants design ways to keep the community they had created alive. Throughout the program the participants had coached one another, they also created connections with people working at different locations and in different departments. In one case they paired up to help each other out in their breakthrough projects. Finally, they arranged a successful conference for sharing across the two programs the day before program ending. We took the work that they had started and facilitated a workshop to help them carry the community forward to future collaboration and information exchange. 

Presentation of the certificates

Ending the day was bittersweet. We presented each participant with a certificate and a handshake or hug. They had each worked so hard and accomplished so much of what they had set out to do. In the process they had grown as individuals and as a group. They also taught us a lot about the material with their insightful and thoughtful questions, comments and reflections.

Feedback from the participants

  • “I am a better facilitator, listener and coach”
  • “A lot of insights, fresh ideas and knowledge”
  • “I learned much more than expected, tools and techniques that help me in my daily work”
  • “I have grown a lot in a short time”
  • “I am encouraged to learn more”
  • And our favorite: “I feel reborn”

ROI results

On a scale of -5 to +5 where 0 is a neutral return on investment. The program rated 2.6 based on the results the program had yielded so far, without including expected future returns.

What we learned

  • Spacing out the learning labs provided the time needed for learning, definitely a plus in our books.
  • Clear sponsorship is important. Each project should have a sponsor, and each participant should maintain contact with their sponsor throughout the program.
  • Remote sessions work better with the right tools. If you don’t have access to the right tools, you should run sessions in person.  
  • It’s a lot of fun working with a motivated group of people!

Interested in learning more? Please reach out to us:

We can also read more about our internal training program for Agile Coaches.

Team Coach Training Pilot with Folksam

This spring we launched a pilot training workshop for scrum masters/team coaches. The workshop offered participants the opportunity to get to know themselves and their colleagues by providing them with a safe learning environment where they could experiment and get feedback. We partnered with Folksam and their team coaches to run two parallel series of the workshop. Our colleague, Yassal Sundman, created customized content for the participants to help them develop as team coaches via practical exercises and small group discussion.

The outcome

The result has been overwhelmingly positive! Two groups of six people met for half a day every other week over a two month period. They covered one to two topics each session where they were able to draw on their knowledge and experience to gain a deeper understanding of the theory presented. Each workshop closed with a discussion circle that helped connect the theory to the participants’ context and situation. Finally the participants set the agenda for the next session ensuring that the topics covered were relevant and applicable.

Feedback from the participants

  • A great forum for self reflection and discussion
  • The setup creates an environment well suited for learning, time well invested
  • Easy to apply what we cover as the topics and discussions are related to our daily work

Get to know yourself and your colleagues in a collaborative way

  • Good format with two weeks between each session and exercises to work on in between
  • Inspiring

Feedback from the trainer

  • I love that the content is set by the participants because that offers them a high value experience
  • The small group format allows everybody the chance to ask questions and participate in discussions

This fall we will continue our collaboration with Folksam with three new groups.


If you’re interested in this workshop for scrum masters/team coaches at your company please contact the trainer Yassal Sundman at We can hold the workshops either at your offices or at the Crisp office. The workshops are available in English or Swedish.

We also offer this training as a public class in English and Swedish.


Coaching game teams at King

Yassal talks about her experience leveraging the strengths of the teams at King:

Teams at King’s Stockholm game studio (the maker of Candy Crush) are autonomous, they are also encouraged to try, test, fail and learn from their experiences. For the past four years I’ve worked with amazingly talented people in this environment. We experimented and learned about how to structure teams, how to test and iterate on features and how to help teams through times of transition and change.

What I learned:

You have to be ok with failure. No, really, you have to be ok with actually failing. If you’re not failing, you’re not experimenting. Anything you do can have unintended consequences. You can use KPI’s (key performance indicators) to predict the outcome, but these are just indicators. Until you actually try it out, you won’t know what the result will be. We used paper prototypes, design studios, ritual dissent, AB tests, previous performance, hypotheses with defined signs of failure and success, to structure our work with experiments.

All people have the potential to succeed. The context, environment and how people are treated affect this potential. We continuously improved and grew our culture and way of working. The environment was collaborative and team members felt a strong sense of ownership and responsibility. Subteams had cohesive goals that helped achieve the goals of the game team as a whole. Stakeholders were visible and agreed to ways of working with the teams. We also valued each person and respected their needs, while jointly celebrating the successes of the team. Finally, we also made sure that the drivers and definition of success were clear to the teams.

Enjoy what you do, or do what you enjoy! Generally speaking, people at King love making games. They also love playing games. They are dedicated to what they’re working on. The synergies created in this kind of environment are amazing. We worked at recruiting people who love to do what they do. This doesn’t always mean that they are gamers, and that’s good too, since we want diverse teams. Recruiting is the hard part, then all you need are nudges.

  • “Never be blocked”, people make sure that they’re never blocked, because being blocked means you can’t do what you enjoy doing.
  • “Ask for help” Need help? No problem, just ask and someone will gladly share their expertise with you.
  • “Ask for and give critical feedback” people want to do the best job that they can, this makes asking for feedback and giving it easier.
  • “Keep learning” when you enjoy what you do you’re driven to level up.

The methods that we used were, of course, context specific. They changed over time and depended on the team and team members, as well as the challenges faced by the teams. The constants were: clearly communicated values and drivers. This allowed the teams to operate cohesively, while giving them a lot of freedom.


What people have said about Yassal at King:

“Everything you want or ever dreamt of from and Agile Coach. She executes and performs all skillsets like pro, facilitation, coaching, team building, motivation, conflict management etc.”

An amazing professional and a super warm, funny and friendly colleague to work with.”

Certified ScrumProduct Owner kurs på 3 dagar med fantastiskt resultat!

Nu när vi har förlängt kursen till 3 dagar så har vi utrymme att ha med fler saker och gå ytterligare på djupet i andra. Saker som vi nu hinner mer med är bland annat hur PO-rollen ändras när vi har fler team och en mängd stakeholders. Mer utrymme för diskussioner kring deltagarnas specifika situation och problem och mer tid för saker som hypoteser, slicing, prioriteringsprinciper och realease planer. Resultatet har blivit en djupare och personligare kurs som engagerar och vi lovar många garv!

“Försöker smälta en fantastisk CSPO-kurs, stort tack till @hansbrattberg, @rezurt, @crispsweden och övriga kursdeltagare”

“tack för en inspirerande kurs, så härligt att se Hasse och Rezas energi”

Tweet från kursdeltagare


//Hans Brattberg och Reza Farhang

Fostering Collaboration with a Delegation Board

How do you work effectively when you have a lot of stakeholders?

Yassal Sundman is currently coaching a team at King with several stakeholders in different parts of the organization. The team and the stakeholder collaboration was not clear. The feedback from the stakeholders was difficult to interpret: was it a personal opinion, advice or a directive? Which of the different stakeholders was the team supposed to listen to when their opinions differed. Where was the line between team autonomy and the need to involve stakeholders in decisions. To help create more clarity and a better collaborative environment with their stakeholders they decided to create a delegation board.

Using the delegation board
The team used the 7 levels of delegation by Jurgen Appelo, Management 3.0, to figure out where they stood with their stakeholders.


They held meetings where the stakeholders were asked to fill in their desired level of involvement on a range of different areas. The intent was to create transparency for the team and the stakeholders themselves.

The collaboration board exercise was valuable for the discussions that it raised. When two stakeholders indicated that they wanted to be involved on a consult or agree level in the same area the group discussed how this situation could be improved. The discussions resulted in working agreements between the stakeholders themselves, and also between the team and stakeholders. In some cases overlapping stakeholders delegated to other stakeholders and took a step back. In others, the team was given more control. The result was a greater understanding by everybody about the project and its participants. To read more

The board and resulting working agreements were given an expiration date. This is to acknowledge that projects change over time. The strategic placement, timeline, or funding might shift, and that affects both the team and stakeholders. Setting an expiration date ensures that the team follows up, especially in times when no one realises that the project has slowly shifted.

The biggest takeaway for the team and stakeholders were the working agreements. These enable all parties to work well together on a day to day basis. The team effectively used the delegation board to foster a collaborative environment based on mutual understanding.


To read more, go to Crisp´s blog

All pictures from Management 3.0

Upphandling inom LOU med Agila krav och Agila kontrakt


Under de senaste året har Mattias Skarin och Mia Kolmodin haft ett par välbesökta och uppskattade frukostseminarier på ämnet Agil upphandling inom LOU, både på Crisp, ute hos kunder, samt i Almedalen både 2015 och 2016.

Det publiken brukar ha mest problem med i sin egen vardag är både svårigheter med att på förhand ta fram alla kraven – och svårigheter med att få ett väl fungerande samarbete med leverantören. Båda dessa saker är något som Mia och Mathias tar upp under den ca en timme långa föreläsningen. Mest frågor kommer det kring möjligheterna att upphandla agilt inom LOU.

Det finns många fördelar med Agila projekt och Agil upphandling:

  • Möjlighet att utvärdera leverantören innan man väljer, genom till exempel projekttävlingar.
  • Skapa ett väl fungerande samarbete med gemensamma effektmål.
  • Minimera risker genom delleveranser.
  • Maximera effekt i stället för antal levererade funktioner.
  • Möjlighet att avsluta i förtid när effekten är uppnådd – där leverantören får 20% av kvarvarande belopp och beställaren behåller 80%.
  • Skapa transparens i projektet med diskussion kring om  bygger rätt produkt, samt möjlighet att utvärdera och byta riktning på projektet om man inser att hypotesen inte stämde.

För dig som är intresserad av att lära dig mer om ämnet rekommenderar vi kursen Certifierad Agil Beställare.

På kursen lär du dig att driva Agila upphandlingar baserat på effektmål med delleveranser för att minimera risk och maximera effekt. Du lär dig om vilka grundstenarna är i Agil kravställning samt möjligheterna inom LOU, och hur man skriver Agila kontrakt. Om du har frågor kring kursen kan du kontakta kurshållarna, Mia Kolmodin och Mattias Skarin direkt.

Läs mer om kursen Certifierad Agil Beställare >

Inspirationsdag – Vardagsinnovation i större projekt med Agila Kontrakt – 1 december 2016
Den 1a december bjuder vi in till en dag med inspirerande talare som delar med sig av sina erfarenheter kring Agil upphandling inom offentlig sektor. Det blir case studies med lyckade exempel av mycket komplexa upphandlingar, och genomgång av nyttan med Agila kontrakt, samt hur du faktiskt kan använda dom även inom offentlig sektor. Välkommen!

Läs mer och anmäl dig till inspirationsdagen här >

Samlad inspiration och lyckade cases
På vår vebbplats kan du hitta mängder av information på ämnet, ladda ner agila kontrakt på 5 minuter, se luckade exempel och läsa följa våra aktiviteter kring ämnet löpande.

Besök webbplatsen om agila kontrakt >

Bättre prestanda gav ny affärsmodell


Infinera, tidigare Transmode, behövde lösa ett problem. En beräkningsmotor tog så lång tid att exekvera så att det påverkade affären. Med hjälp av en senior utvecklare från Crisp lyckades man öka prestandan med 145 gånger.

I Infineras Network Manager finns en beräkningsmotor som beräknar konnektivitetsmodellen för ett flerlagers optiskt transmissionsnät enligt MTOSI-standarden.

Modellen används av funktioner för att koppla upp de tjänster som Infineras kunder, nätägarna, sedan säljer till sina slutkunder.

Beräkningsmotorn tog för en av de största nätägarna en och halv timme på sig att beräkna modellen. Nätet ändras ofta och då måste beräkningen göras om från början. För att kompensera för detta, tvingandes man dela in nätet i mindre subnät som gick snabbare att beräkna.

Detta innebar kraftiga begränsningar för nätägarna: man kunde inte sälja förbindelser som korsade subnätsgränser.

Infinera tog hjälp av Crisps Olle Hallin. Teamet lyckades sänka beräkningstiden för en av de största nätägarnas hela nät från 90 minuter till 37 sekunder.

Nu behövs inte subnät längre och nätägarna kan därmed sälja bättre tjänster till sina slutkunder.

Den första ansatsen var att profilera den befintliga koden och ta bort uppenbara flaskhalsar. Detta fördubblade prestandan men var inte tillräckligt.

Den andra ansatsen var att skriva om beräkningsmotorn från grunden med bibehållen enkeltrådad algoritm, men med smartare datastrukturer.

Teamet använde idéer från Domain Driven Design. Originaldata transformeras in i en Bounded Context till en objektmodell optimerad för problemet. Äkta objektgrafer, IdentityHashMap, EnumMap och liknande gör all objektnavigering extremt snabb. Efter beräkningen transformeras resultatet tillbaka till den gamla modellen för persistering i databasen.

Här dök nästa flaskhals upp: persistering av resultatet. En omkonstruktion av databasschemat gjorde det möjligt att kapa persisteringstiden med 10-tals minuter.

Den tredje ansatsen, att utveckla en parallell algoritm och byta till NoSQL, behövde aldrig användas.

En förändrad systemarkitektur gav en förbättring av prestanda vilket möjliggjorde nya affärer med färre begränsningar för hur nät kan hanteras.

Här kan du träffa Olle Hallin >