Thursday, June 30, 2011

Kanban with David Anderson

This week I enjoyed attending a two day Kanban training class by David Anderson, the Father of Kanban-style software development.  The class provided an overview of Kanban and offered many tips on how to get the most out of Kanban.  David rolled through a deck of some 150 slides and answered various questions.  On the practical side, the class was divided into four teams and each team had to design a Kanban board for an actual company and then play an entertaining Kanban game, which turned out to be quite competitive.  The team I was on, Grand Kanban :) managed to squeeze out a slim victory with around $62,000 in revenue, which according to David was a pretty good score ;-)

Few points from the class:

The Kanban Method is based on three core principles:
  •    Start with what you do now
  •    Agree to pursue incremental evolutionary change
  •    Initially, respect current processes, roles, responsibilities & job titles

The five keys to a successful Kanban implementation are:
  •    Visualize Workflow
  •    Limit Work-in-Progress
  •    Manage Flow
  •    Make Process Policies Explicit
  •    Improve Collaboratively (using models & scientific method)

Key class takeaways according to Dave were:

  • Kanban is like water 
    • It goes around obstacles and slowly changes them, rather than removing them like a bulldozer
  • Change has to come from within
    • How many experts does it take to change an organization?  Answer: One.  But people are going to have to want to change

Surprising fact from the class:

According to a research done by David, getting more done only ranks number 4 on most manager's lists!  The list of their preference being:
  1. Predictability
  2. Business Agility (ability to respond to changes in market)
  3. Good Governments (managing budgets, money spent the way intended, etc.)
  4. Getting more done

Playing the Kanban game

All in all a good class and I look forward to continuing the improvement of Kanban at Hugsmiðjan where we develop the Eplica CMS.

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