Evolutionary Kanban - channel the pain


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At the agile prague conference on 15th of sept. 2013 I presented about some aspects of our evolutionary Kanban approach at the mobile.de mobile app teams. You can find the slide at the end of this post. Without a little context than what is visible on the slides it is hard to get idea. So I’ve chosen to put some text first.

A few words about my background: I love XP and the software craftmanship movement. I am working with Scrum and especially Kanban a lot. I used to be a Java Developer, now working as a dev manager, sometimes switching to the agile coach hat.

Last 2 years I have had the honour to build up different dev teams at mobile.de. We used an evolutionary approach to build up our process.

When building up the team the first thing I concentrated on was flow. Without flow and a basic understanding of this concept you won’t get anywhere.
There have to be a lot of different absolutely necessary elements to get successful teams, like purpose, fun, innovation and craftsmanship. These are not covered here so much.

Usually flow is visualized as a nice, slow, peaceful floating river. That provides a good feeling right?

I like to look at it more like that: you are in the middle of a dangerous, unknown, wild river in the mountains. You can be thrown with full force against big stones.
That causes pain, right? Or you don’t move at all, that is at least boring.

So what means pain in our agile product delivery context?
Blocked Stories and inefficiency in general. Nobody wants to be inefficient. So pain means:
I cannot finish what I have started.

For continuous improvements, for getting better step by step you first have to find and feel the pain. Teams, managers usually really like to work around these pain points – but that is a false understanding of efficiency.
If you can’t remove the pain within the team, you have to channel it back to where it belongs.
Feeling the pain is necessary for change!

The good thing is: you can change - your team and even the environment. Work in Progress (WIP) Limits show the pain. They are your weapon against wrong efficiency towards Kaizen, towards continuous improvement.

In the presentation there are some examples of of challenges and what have been improvements to our way of working and how we are working with others.

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Evolutionary Kanban - channel the pain

  1. 1. Evolu&onary  Kanban   channel  the  pain     Holger  Hammel   mobile.de  /  ebay    
  2. 2.   XP   Scrum   Kanban     Java  Dev   Agile  Coach   Dev  Manager      
  3. 3. 20min   1  thought      
  4. 4. Purpose   CraAmanship   Fun   InnovaDon     Flow  
  5. 5. [HO]  
  6. 6. [PL]  
  7. 7. Pain   Blocked  Stories   Inefficiency      
  8. 8. Find  the  pain   and  channel  it         [MK]   That’s  the     thought!  
  9. 9. Kanban and WIP Limits   show  the  pain   enable  change  
  10. 10. Example:  requirement  issues  
  11. 11. A  story  from  PO  is  unclear  and  has  a  lot  of   requirements  =>  development  stops  
  12. 12. Cannot  start  a  new  story,  because  of  WIP  limit        
  13. 13. Who  should  feel  the  pain?   the  team  
  14. 14. change   the  way  of  working       don’t  plan  early   smaller  stories   explicit  communicaDon     analyze  risk   menDon  refactorings   get  reliable   [JH]  
  15. 15. Example:    external  dependencies  
  16. 16. A  different  department  of  your  company  has  to   bring  stories  on  your  board.     The  interacBon  to  their  systems  fails  oCen.   Hard  to  get  support  when  needed     Their  stories  block  all  the  Bme  
  17. 17. Who  should  feel  the  pain?   they  
  18. 18.   channel  the  pain         Use  big  red  BLOCKED  cards     Invite  to  your  daily  standup   Insist  on  support  the  Dme  the  feature  is  developed   descope  blocking  stories  and  escalate  
  19. 19. Understand  flow  
  20. 20. Courage  to  change  
  21. 21. Find  the  pain   and  channel  it         [MK]   That’s  the     thought  again!  
  22. 22. •  Part of the ebay family •  located ebay Campus Dreilinden •  Germany’s biggest online marketplace for vehicles •  7.44 million unique users (AGOF 2013-04) •  150 people, 60 within technology •  High traffic web, android and iOS applications •  Agile cross functional teams Holger Hammel hhammel@ebay.com - @mobilep2
  23. 23. Image  sources   •  [PL]:  Philip  Larson  -­‐  hp://www.flickr.com/photos/philiplarson/   person  in  river   •  [MK]:  Marvin  Kuo  -­‐  hp://www.flickr.com/photos/marvinkuo/   Pain   •  [JH]:  Jimbohayz-­‐  hp://www.flickr.com/photos/jameshayphotography/   Stop  signs     all  creaDve  commons,  free  for  commercial  use   all  other  images  are  mine  :)