Having used kanban as a catalyst for continual improvement I feel more capable, confident and way more productive than I have ever been in my life. Starting with a simple plan-doing-done approach to my kanban boards, I quickly evolved them to meet the needs of particular situations. I’ll describe how I have used kanban to adapt my approach and get more things done.
Wallboards are a great way to manage communication and tasks for any team. There is always a decision as to whether to use a physical or online wallboard. Physical boards encourage a far greater interaction, however they are much harder to use with a distributed team.
For a physical board with distributed teams, here are some things I done successfully
Whilst discussing the merits of Behaviour Driven Development at one of the XTC gatherings, I started using the term minimal responsible feature as a way to express how to decide what piece of work to tackle next. I promised Liz Keogh many moons ago that I would write a blog post about it, so here it is.
Karl Scotland and I will be running a free games night at Skills Matter on the evening of 7th March at SkilsMatter - London, UK.
Karl has kindly volunteered to run the games night before his talk at QCon later in the week. Karl will be running the ball flow game to help us learn and experience kanban and system thinking concepts in a collaborative way. It will also be a lot of fun, as fun is an effective way to learn.
You should get a lot out of this evening whether your experienced practitioner or you are completely new to kanban, lean, system thinking and theory of constraints. The evening will be a welcoming and safe environment to everyone.
My elevator pitch for kanban would be along the following lines..
“Kanban is a way to incrementally and continually improve your approach to meeting your goals, by understanding the situation clearly, identifying the real challenges and testing out your chosen options for resolving those challenges.”
As with everything Lean and Agile, this elevator pitch will most likely evolve and can be made more specific depending on different audiences, but I am fairly happy with this general pitch.
I am using Lean Kit Kanban as my online kanban board and I just tried out a neat feature that is helping me focus on important time dependant tasks.
If you have an existing board (kanban, scrum, or otherwise), please feel free to bring it along (the design not necessarily the board) and get feedback and advice on any aspects you want to improve on the board.
There is no formal presentation although ideas and examples will be shown and questions arising from the practical work will be discussed.
The slides and presentation video from the January Limited WIP socieity meeting are available on the SkillsMatter website.
Pattern recognition - the iron chief paradox
As our experience grows with some activity, our ability to automatically recognise situations grow - we become what people generally term an expert.
Pattern recognition lets experienced people process information very quickly and so reduces time wasted thinking, reviewing or planning where its not needed.
If you can see you are on the right track, or just know you are almost subconsciously then you can get more done.
By visualising work on the kanban, you can also use pattern recognition to quickly plan your activities, recognise upcoming issues.
To help keep you in a good flow when you are learning or practising the TDD test first approach, it can be useful to use a simple kanban board to manage your flow. Here is a guide to this simple technique.
To kick off 2011 and to help keep on track with our new years resolutions and goals for the year, the Limited WIP Society are running a personal kanban workshop at SkillsMatter on the 13th January.