Kanji – Specification

This course deals with the challenges of reaching a common understanding of specifications and expectations where there is a high content of complex work. It  addresses the different patterns and workflows available and the context in which they are deployed. All Team members and stakeholders need an understanding of this process.

This ALL Specifications course takes students through the basics of producing useful specifications. This includes using advanced narrative techniques to achieve common understanding and high recall factor of facts. A balance between structure and flexibility has to be constantly upheld. The course also gives a number of different workflows that can be deployed to secure a solid common understanding. Read a PDF description of the course here…

Find the other courses here:

Learning objectives

Understanding the foundational challenge of reaching common understanding of specifications when working in the complex domain.


Understanding how Agile Lean specifications rely on reaching common understanding through dialogue, not through detailed contracts. Have applicable knowledge of the various cognitive and psychological constraints that govern this process.

The Toolbox

Apprehending a collection of patterns, tools, practices and templates that can facilitate this process. Understand the applicability of each.

Real Life

Understanding how different visualization techniques can strengthen the cognitive and communicative process, and how such artifacts can keep the common understanding fixed on the same facts.


Epic Workflow

Basic specification theory – How can the wishes and requirements of stakeholders be transmitted to team members that will do the work?

    • The case for using narratives for specification. User Stories and their practical use. Start with the “why”.
    • Reaching common understanding, the importance of verbal communication in this process.
    • Adding acceptance criteria, detailed scenarios.
    • Relevant metadata – Specifications carry extra information to help determine prioritization and course of action. Discussion of what is relevant.
    • A tactile exercise to try specifying a delivery.

Workflows – Specifications need to be thoroughly formulated, refined and reviewed from different perspectives. 

    • A number of model workflows are presented and discussed to give students a selection to choose from.

Decomposition of specifications – Specifications have to be broken down into manageable sizes so that implementation can be reasonably understood and estimated.

    • The Story Map as the backbone of understanding and aggregation of metrics.
    • Different patterns for decomposition.
    • Minimal user value quality (marketable feature).

Estimation at large – Predictability is always a desired quality. Different methods for estimation of different things.

    • Estimation Poker, Magic Estimation, Buy a feature, keeping the references for estimation realistic.
    • Uncertainty, impact estimation, cost of delay.
    • Complexity estimation, special specifications for experiments and investigations.
    • Kano analysis, desirability of qualities.

Visualize and understand – Different ways to illustrate a solution and focus on common understanding.

    • Backlog in varying detail, Story map in detail. Storyboarding. Impact mapping.
    • Building a high level roadmap to focus everybody.
    • State event pattern, ways to illustrate.
    • Workflow for preparing specifications for action.

“Now, what is simplicity? Simplicity is the shortest path to a solution.” – Ward Cunningham

Online courses

When the one-day courses in the Agile Lean Leadership program are delivered online they follow a slightly different format due to the very different nature of online courses.

First of all, where a physical course lasts a full working day, the same online course consists of two 3-hour sessions, one delivered in the morning and one in the afternoon. Each session is in  3 sections with a 10 minute break in between. We try to go for sessions 8:30-11:30 and 12:30-15:30.

To compensate for the shorter exposure time, the participants are required to do some homework before the course. Each of the courses either has an accompanying “Birds’ Eye View” document that we ask the participant to read or a video to watch beforehand. We also ask participants to take a small survey that covers the content of this material to improve imprinting the learning. This is required for a successful outcome of the course. As additional preparation we ask each participant to bring 3-5 questions to the training regarding topics he or she would like to discuss.

Our online course content is compact and focused, but we always prioritize activities that focus on dialog and interaction as well. We assume the participant has read the Bird’s Eye View and has it available for reference. So, in John Wayne’s words “we ride hard and fast!”.

About a week after the training course we offer participants a one hour online retrospective for follow-up questions and clarifications. It is not mandatory, but it does provide a space for people to ask questions before taking the online test.

It is our experience that the format of 2 x 3 hours of course sessions for online courses represent the absolute maximum participants can benefit from in a day. It is therefore important that participants prioritize time for preparation as well to get maximum benefit from the course. In order to ensure sufficient interaction between the instructor and participants please note that we either limit the number of participants 10-12 people for a course, or we choose the option of adding an extra instructor for classes of more than that number.

Prices and Conditions for Courses

  • Each public Agile Lean Leadership one-day course is offered at an Early-Bird price of EUR 640, USD 800, NOK/SEK 6,500 or DKK 4,800 when registering more than a month before the course date, after that the prices are: EUR 720, USD 900, NOK/SEK 7,200 or DKK 5,400.*
  • Each public Agile Lean Leadership two-day Course (ALLSM or ALLPO) is offered at an Early-Bird price of EUR 1,230, USD 1,500 or DKK 9,000 when registering more than a month before the course date, after that the price is EUR 1,350, USD 1,650, NOK 15,900 or DKK 10,000.
  • All Prices are excl. Danish VAT.
  • Courses include meals, course materials, certificate of participation, access to online resources and free participation in follow-up events for two years.
  • Participants can choose to sit an examination after each course. This consists of handing in a written assignment for review and assessment by the instructor and one independent instructor. The students will receive comments and a passed/failed note, grades are not given. The examination costs EUR 160, USD 190, NOK/SEK 1.600 or DKK 1,200.
  • Registration via email at info@agileleanhouse.com, invoices are sent out from the organization arranging the training course. Payment has to be received before the start of the course.
  • Cancellation policy: Registration can be cancelled up until one month before the start of the course without any fees. Cancellation between one month and two weeks before the course start is charged with 50% of the course fee. Cancellation the last two weeks before the course start will be charged fully. Transfer to a later course can be negotiated, in case unforeseen circumstances appear.
  • For free events we kindly ask participants to register via email at info@agileleanhouse.com. Registration can be cancelled up to 24 hours before the event FOC. After that, a no-show fee of EUR 55, USD 65, NOK/SEK 550 or DKK 400 will be invoiced.
  • The courses are also offered as internal, on-site courses for organizations and companies. Normally a minimum of 10 participants are required. If you are interested please contact us for further information, via email here… or find the right contact person here…

*Except for the Agile Lean Leadership Executive Course which is offered at an Early-Bird price of EUR 825, USD 1000, NOK/SEK 8,300 or DKK 6,100 when registering more than a month before the course date, after that the prices are: EUR 920, USD 1,100, NOK/SEK 9,300 or DKK 6,800.*

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