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.