My development team implemented scrum around a year ago, and it has transformed the department utterly from the waterfall project management process they used before. As a stakeholder, I now know exactly what’s in development, what has been requested and where it is in the list of priorities, and what I can expect to come out of the team on a fortnightly basis.
Albeit light years better than our previous situation, it is clear that scrum is by no means perfect for all situations. When my scrum-master advised me to read a book called Kanban by David J Anderson it opened my eyes to a new world of possibilities!
Kanban is an agile development approach that avoids some of the pitfalls of waterfall, and overcomes some of the challenges of scrum. The main principles are to limit the work in progress at any given time, and to pull work into the team rather than have it pushed by stakeholders.
It is an iterative approach that begins with where your business is currently and implements gradual change. Kanban can be deployed without widespread changes to current practice, or buy in from all levels of the business that is crucial to scrum.
Kanban works on a one in one out policy based on agreed work in progress limits rather than rigidly tying prioritisation, development and deployment to regular sprints. This means if something urgent comes up it can be prioritised right away rather than waiting for a sprint to finish. In Kanban, features that might take an extra day to deliver don’t get descoped automatically at the end of a sprint, which erodes stakeholder trust in the team.
These are just a few of the key advantages that David outlines in his informative book.
The book covers the
abstract principles of kanban very simply, but in enough detail to go away and implement it. There are step by step guides to every stage in the process that are very easy to follow. Each chapter also has a bullet pointed ‘takeaways’ section at the end which is an invaluable reference resource once you’re up and running.
The main USP of this book, however, is the examples David provides of the kanban implementations he has seen in many real world situations over the years he has been implementing it.
The examples highlight the advantages of the approach and caution about possible pitfalls. In reading about David and other’s experiences, I found it very easy to visualise how kanban could be applied in my own situation.
If you’re interested in project management or where agile may be heading in the coming years, I highly recommend you pick up Kanban by David J Anderson from Amazon.
Have you read this book? Are there any others on Kanban or other methodologies that you would recommend? Get in touch and let me know.