Kanban the Hard Way
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Kanban the Hard Way

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  • "kanban" refers to the tokens This is "knowledge work" made visible, even physical
  • Not all work is alike!
  • The primary organisation is the vertical one, organising work items according to what they need most
  • Easy! This one needs development
  • Appropriate developers with the capacity to work on them
  • This one needs rework so that its testing can finish
  • So we keep asking “what does this work item need” until we’ve make sense of it all. Then we establish an order, so that work moves rightwards as it approaches completion.It’s a way to visualize what in product development circles is known as the “knowledge discovery process”. It’s about finding a realistic and appropriately-detailed abstraction of the process, one that is based on how things really operate in the real world, not based on imposing some idealised workflow.That’s the vertical swimlanes…
  • Related work grouped togetherPerhaps a project, or simply a large item broken in to smaller itemsThese swimlanes can come and go as needed
  • We might maintain a special area for tracking work that is out with suppliers or other teams.For some teams, managing these external dependencies is a huge part of what they do, and their kanban systems must reflect that if it’s going to be much use to them
  • So now what do we see?Work happening, rework needed, work that is stuck,work that is waiting. It’s all there!How much work is in play, where it is, where the issues areThis is visual management; the visualisation providing high quality information for the fast, pattern-matching part of our brains. We get attuned to our boards, and we are very quick to recognize that something is amiss.
  • It is really important to understand that it’s work, not people, that is organised in our visualisationSometimes, what we don’t see is as important as what we do seeBy not visualising it we avoid constraining it, let it find its natural shape.By making it seem less important than the things we do visualise, we allow it to change, perhaps even encourage it to changeSelf organisation is HUGE! From the perspective of the wider organisation it’s key to finding fitness & creating resilience. From the team’s perspective it greatly enhances the opportunity for people to find meaning in their work.
  • Kanban as a sense-making tool, leading to visualization of the knowledge discovery processWe're making space for collaborative, self-organised problem-solving around what is actually needed right nowSelf-organisation, fitness, resilience, meaning. It’s all good If we’re in the business of building better workplaces, this seems a pretty good place to start.What we need to see now is some dynamics. Process in action, process evolution in action too
  • When a work item reaches the right hand side it is complete, delivered. Feels good!
  • New work can move up to occupy the gaps left behind, up to the work-in-progress limits (the numbers in brackets here on each column). What we’re seeing in operation is a kanban system (a type of pull system), one specially adapted for knowledge work. Although many of the aims are the same, this is not Toyota’s kanban!
  • We see how pull gives us a nice unforced flow. Work flows rightwards, while the gaps (availability signals) flow back upstream. It seems that the whole board is connected. We see work itemsproceed at a good pace across the board.
  • We see how pull gives us a nice unforced flow. Work flows rightwards, while the gaps (availability signals) flow back upstream. It seems that the whole board is connected. We see work itemsproceed at a good pace across the board.
  • We see how pull gives us a nice unforced flow. Work flows rightwards, while the gaps (availability signals) flow back upstream. It seems that the whole board is connected. We see work itemsproceed at a good pace across the board.
  • We see how pull gives us a nice unforced flow. Work flows rightwards, while the gaps (availability signals) flow back upstream. It seems that the whole board is connected. We see work itemsproceed at a good pace across the board.
  • Looking at the overall workload, we never have more in the system than we can deal with effectively. It's not just that welimit painful multi-tasking and over-commitment, we avoid wasteful over-production. Once again, the benefits are shared between the team and the wider organisation.
  • Looking at the overall workload, we never have more in the system than we can deal with effectively. It's not just that welimit painful multi-tasking and over-commitment, we avoid wasteful over-production. Once again, the benefits are shared between the team and the wider organisation.
  • The overall design of the kanban system, then the detail of the WIP limits Selection policies Quality & completeness criteriaOverall performance is the product of these, the team, and of course the work itself
  • Down in the bottom left corner we have a very brief description of the rules that determine which stickies get pulled in which order. The system is explicitly designed to deal with variety. Obviously this is important for the customer, but it matters to the team and to the wider organisation too! Systems that can deal comfortablt with variety are much better places to live in. You avoid the disruption and waste that goes with re-organising for each new project, and you get benefits in flow too. Work is delivered faster for the same cost.Let’s see just how easy change can be!
  • Team demo before testThat was easy!
  • WIP limit from 4 to 3That was easy!
  • What Kanban is exposing here are “Leverage points”. These are places in the structure of a system where change can be implemented; what we have here are leverage points whose impact can far outweigh the cost of change. Just from our little animation you can see that WIP limits play an vital role in determining the speed at which work moves. And when we reduce it we also heighten our awareness of the bumps and bottlenecks in the road. This is good, but sometimes you can have too much of a good thing! Sometimes we carefully increase WIP to protect bottlenecks. We have to keep in mind too that the mix of people and work will change, so we keep limits under review all the time.The green stickies are our criteria for allowing work to move from one column to the next. These can be a great catalyst for creativity. I have direct experience of teams adopting simple, quality-enhancing practices from their own initiative.Down in the bottom left corner we have a very brief description of the rules that determine which stickies get pulled in which order. The system is explicitly designed to deal with variety. Obviously this is important for the customer, but it matters to the team and to the wider organisation too! Systems that can deal comfortablt with variety are much better places to live in. You avoid the disruption and waste that goes with re-organising for each new project, and you get benefits in flow too. Work is delivered faster for the same cost.Let’s see just how easy change can be!
  • We have to be a little careful in how we apply this mathematical law to our work, but in general:More WIP does mean longer lead timesReducing WIP tends to reduce lead times.That’s good!Reduce WIP too far though and throughput tends to suffer. That cusp is where improvement happens!
  • So if constant change is so necessary, let’s do itdeliberately, like we mean it!Cycles of improvement: hypothesis followed by validationIf the key question to organising work was “What does this one need?”, the key question for process improvement is “How will we know?”We see in this chart the story of one real team’s journey. A team that at the beginning didn’t really have things under control. A team that soon found that it didn’t know clearly enough what the “Testing” column actually meant. A team that was unsure about making releases. A team that worked on stuff that the business had already lost interest in.Also, a team that improved, sometimes radically, sometimes in barely noticeable increments. A team that took responsibility. Here were see a 7 month lead time reduce by more than half, and throughput actually increase in spite of the overhead of supporting a new system. You can’t see here (but I know) that the team soon got to a point where they could make releases at will, and where lead times were measured in weeks and then days, not months.That team was my team, and I’m proud of them!
  • And it’s a good job that we can make it that easy. Evolutionary change is very necessary.These sources of unpredictabilityadd frustration for customers, pain for workers, and expense for the organisationRevealing and addressing these sources of unpredictability in economically sensible ways is win all round!End result: speed with smoothness, predictability.For a while anyway! It’s a constant battle in an ever-changing world.
  • Don’t waste the bad stuff, learn from it“How is this even possible?” is a good question to ask. We look for solutions that make good outcomes more likely without adding too great an economic overhead. Not deluding ourselves that we can always fix outcomes at the outset, but making sure that we’re maximising feedback and learning at every opportunity.
  • Making your policies and parameters open to challenge and improvement Constantly giving you feedback, provoking the right conversations NOT overlaying yet more process, INSTEAD helping work to flow more smoothly
  • Let’s talk a little about getting started with Kanban
  • Not an exhaustive list!
  • PDCA or PDSA (popularized by Deming, though he called it the Shewhart cycle) is most recognized one. Cf the scientific method ("hypothesis"–"experiment"–"evaluation" or plan, do and check).CPD and LAMBDA start not with planning but with looking at the work as it currently is, perhaps the most appropriate approach to knowledge work.DMAIC (from Six Sigma) is interesting because of the explicit relationship between improvement and control, control here referring to systems for detecting that things aren’t working as well as they should.BML (from Lean Startup) deserves credit for moving the focus away from narrow definitions of “value” or “done” to an emphasis on learning (restoring a key element of Lean that sometimes gets lost).
  • Helping you find balance & resilience, to the benefit of team, customer & wider organisationMaking expectations clearer and more manageableKeeping risk where it can be managed most effectively
  • Visualisation, variety, self-organisation, evolution, fitnessFlow, leverage points, improvementFoundational: understanding, respect, agreementSeek resilience, balance, smoothnessRelationships, disintermediation

Kanban the Hard Way Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Kanban the hard way Mike Burrows (@asplake) mike@djaa.com Kanban the Hard Way http://positiveincline.com September 2012
  • 2. Kanban the Hard Way September 2012What do we see?
  • 3. Kanban the Hard Way September 2012We see work items
  • 4. Kanban the Hard Way September 2012We see variety
  • 5. We see work items organised by need Kanban the Hard Way September 2012
  • 6. Kanban the Hard Way September 2012What does this work item need?
  • 7. Kanban the Hard Way September 2012What do these need?
  • 8. Kanban the Hard Way September 2012And this one?
  • 9. Work items organised by need,arranged in a left-to-right progression Kanban the Hard Way September 2012
  • 10. We see also some secondary organisation Kanban the Hard Way September 2012
  • 11. We see also some secondary organisation Kanban the Hard Way September 2012
  • 12. Kanban the Hard Way September 2012What do we see?
  • 13. What don’t we see?How are people organised? Kanban the Hard Way September 2012
  • 14. Kanban works with your organisation …and on it Kanban the Hard Way September 2012
  • 15. Kanban the Hard Way September 2012It lives! It moves!
  • 16. Kanban the Hard Way September 2012It lives! It moves!
  • 17. Kanban the Hard Way September 2012It lives! It moves!
  • 18. Kanban the Hard Way September 2012It lives! It moves!
  • 19. Kanban the Hard Way September 2012It lives! It moves!
  • 20. Kanban the Hard Way September 2012It lives! It moves!
  • 21. Kanban the Hard Way September 2012It lives! It moves!
  • 22. Kanban the Hard Way September 2012It lives! It moves!
  • 23. Simple rules combine to give us the behaviour we desire Kanban the Hard Way September 2012
  • 24. Simple rules combine to give us the behaviour we desire Kanban the Hard Way September 2012
  • 25. Your process can evolve faster and more safely than you may realise Kanban the Hard Way September 2012
  • 26. Your process can evolve faster and more safely than you may realise Kanban the Hard Way September 2012
  • 27. Every limit, every policy is a leverage point Kanban the Hard Way September 2012
  • 28. A Little Queuing Theory Work in ProgressAverage Cycle Time = Throughput John LittleWhere: how long it takes one item to Cycle Time (CT) = Kanban the Hard Way go through the system September 2012Work in Progress (WIP) how many items are in = the system at any time how many items are Throughput (TH) = produced per unit of time
  • 29. Theory and practice meet in a CFD120100 On hold Proposed 80 Prioritised Ready for Dev Dev 60 Testing Ready for Kanban the Hard Way Release 40 Released Implemented September 2012 20 0
  • 30. We face a continual battle Uneven flow  Waiting Over-burdened  Rework people Kanban the Hard Way September 2012
  • 31. We can put even the waste to good use! Kanban the Hard Way September 2012
  • 32. Kanban works with your process …and on it Kanban the Hard Way September 2012
  • 33. “The work will teach you how to do it” (Estonian proverb) Kanban the Hard Way September 2012
  • 34. How we wish change worked There Kanban the Hard Way September 2012Here
  • 35. What change really feels like: Virginia Satir’s J Curve Kanban the Hard Way September 2012
  • 36. What change really feels like: Virginia Satir’s J Curve Kanban the Hard Way September 2012
  • 37. Evolutionary change with many small J’sIncreasing “fitness” Kanban the Hard Way Increasing capability for change September 2012
  • 38. Decades of experience in these small J’s of “safe to fail” experiments SPC: Shewhart, Deming TPS: Ohno, Shook, Rother TOC: Goldratt Lean: Womack & Jones, Liker, Reinertsen Six Sigma: Motorola, GE Systems Thinking: Kanban the Hard Way Deming, Ackoff, Gall, Meadows, Senge September 2012 Complexity Science: Snowden Beyond Budgeting: Bogsnes, Hope & Fraser Agile, XP, etc: Beck, Cockburn, Jeffries et al Lean Startup: Ries
  • 39. Decades of experience in these small J’s of “safe to fail” experiments Plan - Do - Check – Act Check - Plan - Do Look - Ask - Model - Discuss - Act Define - Measure - Analyse - Kanban the Hard Way Improve - Control September 2012 Build - Measure – Learn TOC’s 5 Focusing Steps, POOGI
  • 40. Foundational principles that make evolutionary change possible1. Start with what you do now2. Agree to pursue incremental, evolutionary change3. Initially, respect current roles, Kanban the Hard Way responsibilities & job titles September 20124. Encourage acts of leadership at all levels in your organization – from individual contributor to senior management
  • 41. Understanding Agreement Respect Kanban the Hard Way September 2012 Leadership
  • 42. Core practices that stimulate and sustain change1. Visualise2. Limit Work-in-Progress3. Manage Flow4. Make Policies Explicit Kanban the Hard Way5. Implement Feedback Loops September 20126. Improve Collaboratively, evolve experimentally
  • 43. Kanban works within your system …and beyond it Kanban the Hard Way September 2012
  • 44. Kanban works…with your organisationand on itwith your processand on it Kanban the Hard Way September 2012within your systemand beyond it
  • 45. Keywords Organisation  Visualisation, visual management  Knowledge discovery process  Sense-making  Self-organisation Process  Pull system, kanban system, flow Kanban the Hard Way  Bottleneck, variation, variety  Emergent behaviour, leverage points September 2012  Deliberate, evolutionary change; fitness  Cumulative Flow Diagram (CFD) System  Kanban Method  Models for collaborative improvement (several, growing)
  • 46. References Kanban the Hard Way September 2012 Kanban, David J. Anderson http://agilemanagement.net/index.php/kanbanbook/
  • 47. Resources kanbandev http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/kanbandev/ kanbanops http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/kanbanops/ #kanban https://twitter.com/#!/search/realtime/%23kanban Kanban the Hard Way djaa.com (agilemanagement.net) leankanbanuniversity.com September 2012 limitedwipsociety.org
  • 48. Thank you.Questions? Kanban the Hard Way September 2012 Mike Burrows (@asplake) mike@djaa.com http://positiveincline.com