Kanban workshop for leader/managers–Part II

a week ago (give or take a day) I attended a Kanban workshop by Agile consultant company, AgileSparks– the following is my impressions from that day along with my thoughts on the subject:

In the 2nd part of the day we continued the workshop at full speed – the next few hours were devoted to non-stop learning, it was a tiring but very educational experience – it’s amazing how much you can learn with only one 10 minute break.

Yuval Yeret, who presented the course, started by explaining the difference between Kanban and kanban (notice the k’) and the difference between change by Revolution to change by Evolution. I think Wikipedia has summarized it perfectly:

Kanban – A visual process management system that tells what to produce, when to produce it, and how much to produce.

The Kanban Method – an approach to incremental, evolutionary process change for organizations.

At this point we had a discussion within the group on how to create change and exchanged war stories about change in our place of work. This is the place where the workshop shines – I got to learn about how different companies have changed the way they work – it gave me quite a few ideas on how it can be done in my current job.

From there we’ve continued learning on how to create incremental change according to rules formulated by David J. Anderson:

  • Visualize the workflow
  • Limit Work In Progress
  • Measure and optimize flow
  • Explicit policies
  • Improve Collaboratively

The next topics were less about Kanban and more about tools to manage Agile process – TOC (Theory of Constraints), dealing with bottlenecks, the Five Whys to name a few. We’ve gone over several tools for operations review which I found interesting although not directly related to my day to day job. We went over a few real examples of companies that use Kanban and the methods and tools they’ve been using and finally ended up with a brief overview of Kanban vs. Scrum as well as Kanban and Scrum (a.k.a Scrum-ban).

It was a long and enjoyable day and I learnt a lot – it is yet to be seen how I’m going to use this newly acquired knowledge.

Epilogue

The following morning I marched into my boss office and enthusiastically explained to him about Kanban, WIP and how we can change the way we work. My boss listened patiently and after I finished explained why he believes that Scrum is a better fit to the way the team works right now, as it seemed that project managers would benefit more from the ability to find bottlenecks between the teams while right now at the development team we know perfectly well where the bottlenecks are.

So I did the only logical thing I could do – I went to the project’s manager and explained (briefly this time) about Kanban and its benefits – I made the first step and now I’m waiting to see what would happen…

 

Related links:

AgileSparks

Yuval Yeret’s blog

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