Empowered (book review)

Empowered: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Products

Empowered: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Products by Marty Cagan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Very crisp overview of what patterns make modern technology driven product company and product organization great: empowered product teams driven by a real product vision and strategy and managed by dedicated managers that know how to formulate real and exciting problem, hold teams accountable and coach people to become their better selves: servant leadership. Targeted to Product leaders, whom I’m certain there are a lot out there that need to read, understand and practice this book. A must read I will revisit many times, just like Inspired.

– An empowered team does not equal a team that decides on a company direction, a focus for a quarter or a company bet to take. That is an executive decision that the team needs to trust as much as the executives need to trust the team to know how to solve the challenge or get to the goal.
– Empowering teams have full decisional power over the problem/opportunity they are assigned, not on identifying the opportunity itself.
– Alignment is not just pointing to a north star and handing out a compas, it requires real work with teams.
– Autonomy does not mean self reliance but ownership of solving a problem that matters together with others.
– Leadership means active engagement. I call I servant leadership, but that’s anything but standing aside and let whatever happen.

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Virkesåkrarna är skyldiga 240 svenska årsutsläpp av CO2

The Swedish forestry regime are most probably far from climate neutral. Recent research indicates that 12 billion ton CO2, or 240 years of Swedens current yearly emissions, are missing, it’s not in the forests, it’s in the air. Rest of post in Swedish.

Ytterst illustrativt föredrag av Ida Sellstedt om den verkliga kolskulden i våra skogsplantage.

Vi kan lägga till lite siffror från modern forskning för att ytterligare illustrera. Låt oss börja med Svensk produktionsskog (virkesplantage) så som sammanfattas i Skogsskötselserien, Skogens kolbalans och klimatet: https://skogsstyrelsen.se/globalassets/mer-om-skog/skogsskotselserien/skogsskotselserien-21-skogens-kolbalans-och-klimatet-2020-.pdf

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Proforestation – really old forests are the best way to store carbon

A pine can live for 800 years, it can stand dead for another 300 years, and continue to store carbon 300 more years as fallen wood. There’s a lot of new research pointing the direction that really old forests are best both for sequestering and storing carbon. How can we make that a viable economical option? Here I republish a previous Twitter thread.

Natural forests store 4 times carbon compared to production forests.
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Book Circle as a Service – A Facilitated Book Circle for Your Organization

Together with wearemovement.se I’m proud to announce the concept Book Circle as a Service. You get a well prepared and facilitated book circle, backed by slides, workshops and my and the groups shared experience. Available both as public events and internal ones. You can check it out at wearemovement.

I love learning. I love reading. I love exploring theories and practical problems with other engaged people. Book circles are to me the perfect combination of those passions. Informal, low investment, great sharing opportunity, easy to tie to local context.

Yet, over time it has been super hard to sustain them, at least for me. Until I tried a new method: facilitated sessions with prepared slides. I wanted to grow a learning culture among my engineering managers, and where ready to make a fairly heavy up front investment to get book circles to work. One and a half years and three books later I think we had proven the concept to work. A vast majority found it highly valuable, and wanted to go on.

I now want to make the concept and a set of circles available to more people. There are currently three circles I can run:

Green streaming is coming

20 gram of beef, or 0.5 kg carbon. That’s what a year of listening to Spotify equals. At least if we use new numbers available from last year’s sustainability report. A year of Netflix usage, 150 times Spotify, but still not that much. Streaming is actually pretty green, and getting greener. And what you should really do as a user of these services? Get a renewable energy electricity deal!

Spotify 2020 sustainability report

Spotify Sustainability Report 2021.

Happy to see Spotify having published their 2020 sustainability report. Having been part of producing all previous reports, and been the initial driver for including climate ambitions I’m glad to see increased ambitions around climate. 

For the first time there are full impact numbers on (almost, creating content is not included) the complete value chain: 169,000 ton in total, or 26 ton per employee. This makes it possible to more holistically evaluate the climate impact of audio (music/podcasts) streaming. 

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Becoming a Staff Engineer (book review)

Staff Engineer: Leadership beyond the management track

Staff Engineer: Leadership beyond the management track by Will Larson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

How do you become a technical leader in the software industry? What skill set do you need to develop, what roles does typically exist and how do you get promoted? And perhaps most importantly: how will your calendar look (surprise: a lot less coding). All and more is explored in this fascinating book by Will Larson.

I wish I would have had something like this early in my career as a software developer, but probably even more so as a Director at Spotify. Even with a well defined engineering career ladder, engineers, Engineering Managers, including myself, had a really hard time parsing what staff, and even more staff+, actually meant. It’s very much a black box of wizardry (or perhaps: having experienced it somewhere else).

Larson opens up that box, and I’m sure it will bring a lot of help to both engineers thinking about their careers, EM:s supporting careers, and leaders designing their orgs. It contains a good portion of first principle thinking combined with practical hand on tips. Roughly half the book is interviews with various staff+ engineers from places like Stripe, Fastly, Dropbox, Slack and more giving wonderful insights into life as a staff+ engineer in the (US) software industry.

Highly recommended.

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Tjugo år med det Agila Manifestet – ett samtal med Emanuel Tunbjer och Peter Antman

Jag och Emanuel Tunbjer från We Are Movement träffades en kväll i februari för ett samtal om det Agila Manifestet som fyller 20 i år. I det här inspelade webbinariet pratar vi både om personliga reflektioner, hur vår resa i det Agila ekosystemet i Sverige har varit i både små team och stora organisationer, vad som varit bäst och värst, och vad vi ser komma som nästa uppgift att ta sig an ur ett Agilt och hållbart perspektiv. Se och lyssna på samtalet här.

Peter Antman och Emanuel Tunbjer pratar om Agila Manifestets inflytande på modern mjukvaruutveckling och digitala afförsutveckling.