Improvement board

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…working with one or more teams on a big hairy audacious goal.

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Ever getting better in getting better requires a learning culture.

Henrik Kniberg says that squads at Spotify are using a big visible chart as improvement board that focuses 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 improvement 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 squads fills them up with new improvement actions;
    • this section also shows a little week calendar.


Use an information radiator to list and execute improvement kata. Set its direction with a definition of awesome. Tackle tough problems with an a3 solver. Capture your learnings by gardening a pearl language and a set of excellence guides.

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The improvement board is very similar to an a3 solver, a pattern or pearl, and the general beyond bullet points structure. The same structure is used in instant pay-off coaching to help someone get unstuck and grow.

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