Two years of applying Kanban at SAP: a report from the
trenches
Alexander Gerber and Martin Engel, SAP AG
November, 2013

...
© 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved.

Public

2
© 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved.

Public

3
SAP touches

$16 trillion of consumer
purchases around the world.

© 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved.

4
Our customers produce more

than 82% of the coffee and
tea we drink each day.

© 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved.

5
Our customers
produce more than

79% of the world’s
chocolate.

© 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved.

Public

7
www.sap.com
© 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved.

Public

8
Source: SAP
© SAP 2013 | 10
About the Lean and Agile Core Team (LACT)


Spring 2008 – July 2013



8 – 10 members, ~7 permanently



Area: a big te...
LACT working mode evolution: via Scrum to Kanban

?


Project lead



Product Owner, ScrumMaster



Work streams (one p...
Why Kanban?


Some explicit, agreed process framework was needed to manage team dynamics



Strict Scrum had some shortc...
Deep-dive: Evolution of our Kanban Board

Based on the changes that our board
went through, we now show you how
the LACT t...
Deep-dive: Evolution of our Kanban Board

Based on the changes that our board
went through, we now show you how
the LACT t...
The Scrum Task Board we started with

The move towards Kanban was
triggered in a retrospective:

© 2013 SAP AG. All rights...
Our Kanban Board: initial version (spring 2011)
The initial boad version was fine-tuned soon,
based on retrospective resul...
Our Kanban Board: initial version (spring 2011)
The initial boad version was fine-tuned soon,
based on retrospective resul...
Our Kanban Board, evolved version (fall 2011)
Subsequently, retrospectives led to a
continuously evolving board:


Avatar...
Data for improvement: run chart

© 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved.

Public

21
Our Kanban Board, version 3 (fall 2012)
Analysis of long-running tickets, using the run
chart, led to further improvements...
Our Kanban Board, final version (spring 2013)

© 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved.

Public

23
A word about the metrics we used

© 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved.

Public

24
LACT and coaching activities


Our approach: practice what you preach
(and even better: before you start preaching)



S...
Our Kanban training approach



No massive rollout, just “word of mouth”
spread



Staggered training approach:
1. Short...
Our Kanban training approach



No massive rollout, just “word of mouth”
spread



Staggered training approach:
1. Short...
Our Kanban training approach



No massive rollout, just “word of mouth”
spread



Staggered training approach:
1. Short...
Proven Practice: Triage Meeting
Triage Meeting: regular backlog clean-up


Effect is clearly seen in the Cumulative
Flow ...
Proven Practice: Team Charter
Team-Charter  explicit process policies

© 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved.

Public

30
Proven Practice: Malik’s Garbage Collection
“Systematische Müllabfuhr”-Meeting (à la Malik):
Regular cleaning of the backl...
Summary and key points


Overwhelming success stories are rare (they may occur due to very specific context conditions li...
Thank you
Contact:

Dr. Alexander Gerber
Development Project Manager
Dietmar-Hopp-Allee 16, 69190 Walldorf
+49 6227-747474...
Appendix
Which core properties/practices did we implement?


Visualize workflow



Limit work-in-progress



Manage flow



Mak...
© 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or for any pu...
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TWO YEARS OF APPLYING KANBAN AT SAP: A REPORT FROM THE TRENCHES (ALEXANDER GERBER & MARTIN ENGEL) - LKCE13

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You want to learn how to get from bad to best in just half a year with Kanban? Then this report is not for you. If, on the other hand, you are interested in how Kanban increases the chances in a team to focus on completing things, adapting practices constantly in accordance with the teams work context and within the few constraints defined by Kanban: then this talk might be for you. It is based on the experiences from a team looking back to more than two years of applying Kanban. The team is in charge of supporting a big development department (~2000 people) of Europe’s largest software company, with implementing lean/agile processes. In this session, we want to start with the reasons why our team switched from strict Scrum to Kanban. We will share with you how we tried to continuously improve the way we work (and how we sometimes failed) and what we changed in our Kanban system after improvement meetings (aka retrospectives): workflow, process policies, WIP limits, our metrics and more. We will show real artifacts (cumulative flow charts, run charts, our Kanban board), how they evolved over time, discuss how we used them and how they show effects of our improvement activities. We will also touch upon some drawbacks we experienced. Since we are also supporting implementation of Kanban in other teams with training and coaching, we’ll round up the session with some practical advices on Kanban introduction, based on what we have learned in the last 2–3 years.

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TWO YEARS OF APPLYING KANBAN AT SAP: A REPORT FROM THE TRENCHES (ALEXANDER GERBER & MARTIN ENGEL) - LKCE13

  1. 1. Two years of applying Kanban at SAP: a report from the trenches Alexander Gerber and Martin Engel, SAP AG November, 2013 Public
  2. 2. © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. Public 2
  3. 3. © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. Public 3
  4. 4. SAP touches $16 trillion of consumer purchases around the world. © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. 4
  5. 5. Our customers produce more than 82% of the coffee and tea we drink each day. © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. 5
  6. 6. Our customers produce more than 79% of the world’s chocolate. © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. Public 7
  7. 7. www.sap.com © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. Public 8
  8. 8. Source: SAP © SAP 2013 | 10
  9. 9. About the Lean and Agile Core Team (LACT)  Spring 2008 – July 2013  8 – 10 members, ~7 permanently  Area: a big technology development unit (1500 – 2000 people)  LACT Goal (taken from our Wiki page): Snapshot April 2010 © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. Public 11
  10. 10. LACT working mode evolution: via Scrum to Kanban ?  Project lead  Product Owner, ScrumMaster  Work streams (one person in the driver seat)  2 weeks sprints  Daily Scrum meeting  Planning, Review, Retrospective  User stories, tasks, capa planning  Sprint burndown chart  Physical board  Meetings for content work  Weekly sync meetings  Kaizen events  Support from Porsche consulting © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved.  First suggested April 2011; implemented June 2011  Product Owner, “ScrumMaster”  Daily sync meeting  Review meeting  Planning for stories, no task planning in the team, no capa planning  Retrospectives (well, often ) Public 12
  11. 11. Why Kanban?  Some explicit, agreed process framework was needed to manage team dynamics  Strict Scrum had some shortcomings      Planning overhead Sprint as delivery cadence did not work for us (too much variance in the items we had to deal with) Resulting in bad lead-time predictability Board reset after sprint felt like waste …  Fine-grained WIP limits, decoupled cadences, focus on flow and built-in continuous improvement seemed promising  In the remainder we’ll walk you through our triggers for CI in our Kanban phase, the changes we implemented as well as the results © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. Public 13
  12. 12. Deep-dive: Evolution of our Kanban Board Based on the changes that our board went through, we now show you how the LACT team working mode changed while adopting Kanban. Triggers: mostly from retrospective meetings © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. Public 15
  13. 13. Deep-dive: Evolution of our Kanban Board Based on the changes that our board went through, we now show you how the LACT team working mode changed while adopting Kanban. Triggers: mostly from retrospective meetings © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. Public 16
  14. 14. The Scrum Task Board we started with The move towards Kanban was triggered in a retrospective: © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. Public 17
  15. 15. Our Kanban Board: initial version (spring 2011) The initial boad version was fine-tuned soon, based on retrospective results © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. Public 18
  16. 16. Our Kanban Board: initial version (spring 2011) The initial boad version was fine-tuned soon, based on retrospective results © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. Public 19
  17. 17. Our Kanban Board, evolved version (fall 2011) Subsequently, retrospectives led to a continuously evolving board:  Avatars  Buffer column “To be reviewed”  Introduced “Waiting for External” board section, with WIP limit 2 © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. Public 20
  18. 18. Data for improvement: run chart © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. Public 21
  19. 19. Our Kanban Board, version 3 (fall 2012) Analysis of long-running tickets, using the run chart, led to further improvements:  Make preload explicit per team member  Special tickets for recurring tasks  Use avatars, and a personal WIP limit of 3  Make Lead Time explicit on each ticket: one red dot per 20 days © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. Public 22
  20. 20. Our Kanban Board, final version (spring 2013) © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. Public 23
  21. 21. A word about the metrics we used © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. Public 24
  22. 22. LACT and coaching activities  Our approach: practice what you preach (and even better: before you start preaching)  Sounds trivial, but it adds “street credibility”, based on detail experience. We wouldn’t offer Kanban workshops without having used Kanban ourselves.  Adapt training content and approach based on practical experiences. From Scrum… ... to Kanban © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. Public 25
  23. 23. Our Kanban training approach  No massive rollout, just “word of mouth” spread  Staggered training approach: 1. Short info session (2h) 2. Full-day workshop (1d) 3. Coaching (2-3 months)  We apply this approach since the beginning (2011) © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. Public 26
  24. 24. Our Kanban training approach  No massive rollout, just “word of mouth” spread  Staggered training approach: 1. Short info session (2h) 2. Full-day workshop (1d) 3. Coaching (2-3 months)  We apply this approach since the beginning (2011) © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. Public 27
  25. 25. Our Kanban training approach  No massive rollout, just “word of mouth” spread  Staggered training approach: 1. Short info session (2h) 2. Full-day workshop (1d) 3. Coaching (2-3 months)  We apply this approach since the beginning (2011) © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. Public 28
  26. 26. Proven Practice: Triage Meeting Triage Meeting: regular backlog clean-up  Effect is clearly seen in the Cumulative Flow Diagram (CFD).  Most prominent effects in the “Themenspeicher”, but also in later stages © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. Public 29
  27. 27. Proven Practice: Team Charter Team-Charter  explicit process policies © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. Public 30
  28. 28. Proven Practice: Malik’s Garbage Collection “Systematische Müllabfuhr”-Meeting (à la Malik): Regular cleaning of the backlog, deciding explicitly against topics to be taken up or continued by the team. © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. Public 31
  29. 29. Summary and key points  Overwhelming success stories are rare (they may occur due to very specific context conditions like experienced coach, background of involved people, type of work, etc. and are not easily repeated)  Applying Kanban does not automatically result in improvements  Even small, continuous improvements require hard work and a lot of discipline, perseverance and relentlessness (discipline in the team requires buy-in in the first place)  But: don’t take this as discouraging news, it’s worth trying nonetheless! In the end, for LACT, Kanban worked pretty well (as it does for an increasing number of teams at SAP)! © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. Public 32
  30. 30. Thank you Contact: Dr. Alexander Gerber Development Project Manager Dietmar-Hopp-Allee 16, 69190 Walldorf +49 6227-747474 alexander.gerber@sap.com Dr. Martin Engel Development Project Expert TIP BIT User Interface Dietmar-Hopp-Allee 16, 69190 Walldorf +49 151 16810091 martin.engel@sap.com
  31. 31. Appendix
  32. 32. Which core properties/practices did we implement?  Visualize workflow  Limit work-in-progress  Manage flow  Make process policies explicit  Improve collaboratively, evolve experimentally (using models and the scientific method)  (implement feedback-loops) © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. Public 37
  33. 33. © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or for any purpose without the express permission of SAP AG. The information contained herein may be changed without prior notice. Some software products marketed by SAP AG and its distributors contain proprietary software components of other software vendors. National product specifications may vary. These materials are provided by SAP AG and its affiliated companies ("SAP Group") for informational purposes only, without representation or warranty of any kind, and SAP Group shall not be liable for errors or omissions with respect to the materials. The only warranties for SAP Group products and services are those that are set forth in the express warranty statements accompanying such products and services, if any. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting an additional warranty. SAP and other SAP products and services mentioned herein as well as their respective logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of SAP AG in Germany and other countries. Please see http://www.sap.com/corporate-en/legal/copyright/index.epx#trademark for additional trademark information and notices. © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. Public 38
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