SUCCESS AND FAILURE WITH KANBAN IN NEWSPAPER BUSINESS (OLIVER FINKER) - LKCE13

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Newspaper business is a field in which requirements change rapidly. A sudden death of a celebrity, a political scandal or the outbreak of a war or revolution prompt the question how to best exploit these events in a way that is quicker and better than the rivals'. As a means to become more capable of reaching those goals, the existing Scrum processes were transformed towards the Kanban method. In this experience report I'll describe the introduction of Kanban in a publishing company based in Munich that is responsible for the online activities for over thirty German regional newspapers. After a quick overview of the different stakeholders, in the first half of the report I'll explain how prioritization and selection of new value items was done, how the visualization of the work flow made structural problems in the publishing company visible and how the data assembled from applying the Kanban method led to changes in not only the development team but also management. The second half details how the change processes hit the glass ceiling and got slowed down and eventually halted by management resistance. The report is directed mainly at an audience with little or no experience who are thinking about introducing Kanban but are not fully aware of the consequences that come with a deep implementation.

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SUCCESS AND FAILURE WITH KANBAN IN NEWSPAPER BUSINESS (OLIVER FINKER) - LKCE13

  1. 1. 1 SUCCESS & FAILURE With Kanban in NEWSPAPER Business Presenter: Oliver Finker oliver@finker.de Twitter: @ofinker November 2013 Lean Kanban Central Europe
  2. 2. 2 The publisher ● Top-5 Newspaper Publishing Company ● More than 30 different newspapers ● Print run: A Million newspapers a day ● One central digital service provider November 2013 Lean Kanban Central Europe
  3. 3. 3 The Great Divide Print Online Journalism Research Layout Photography SEO Image Galleries Ad Campaigns Social Media Promotions & Games In-Site Search Topics November 2013 Lean Kanban Central Europe
  4. 4. 4 Stakeholders ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● Chief Editors Other Publishers Sales & Marketing Legal Project Managers Support-Team Infrastructure CEO November 2013 Lean Kanban Central Europe
  5. 5. 5 OrganiZation Scrum Ticket-System 5 Project Managers 15 Ext. Stakeholders 10 Developers ⌀ Tickets assigned per Person: 28 November 2013 Lean Kanban Central Europe
  6. 6. 6 The Usual Work New Feature New Feature Customisation Customisation Testing Testing November 2013 New client New client Interface Spec Interface Spec Fix a bug Fix a bug Clean-Up Clean-Up Lean Kanban Central Europe
  7. 7. 7 PANIC!!! November 2013 Lean Kanban Central Europe
  8. 8. 8 THE UNUSUAL WORK Deaths Deaths Events Events Special Special treatment treatment Disasters Disasters Wars Wars Scandals Scandals November 2013 Lean Kanban Central Europe
  9. 9. 9 Fix the Symptom, Not the Cause ● ● Cycling role „Strategic“ vs. „Operational“ Green cards, red cards November 2013 Lean Kanban Central Europe
  10. 10. 10 Gaming the system ● ● ● ● Red-card team members were not distracted by management Green-card team members appeared to solve tasks Green-card team members went and asked redcard team members for help if stuck Communications overhead November 2013 Lean Kanban Central Europe
  11. 11. 11 Main issues ● Sprint planning was based on „ideal world“ ● Too much concurrent work ● No visualization ● Hard to keep an overview ● High lead time ● #@! Customer dissatisfaction November 2013 Lean Kanban Central Europe
  12. 12. 12 A new Hope November 2013 Lean Kanban Central Europe
  13. 13. 13 Introduction of Kanban ● Top-Down decision by management ● „We'll do that from now on“. ● Team got informed and trained in workshops ● ● Initial board design was kept simple to learn from experiences Ticket system was retained as foundation November 2013 Lean Kanban Central Europe
  14. 14. 14 Board Design November 2013 Lean Kanban Central Europe
  15. 15. 15 Ticket Design November 2013 Lean Kanban Central Europe
  16. 16. 16 Priorization ● Critical Bugs and Showstoppers ● Top Mission Tasks ● Generating Direct Revenue ● Generating Traffic (Indirect Revenue) ● Unique Features ● Discussed once a week November 2013 Lean Kanban Central Europe
  17. 17. 17 Quick Improvements ● WIP reduced drastically ● More teamwork ● Problems became visible (and resolved) ● Ad-hoc decisions to deal with impediments ● Bottlenecks became apparent ● Lead-time improved considerably November 2013 Lean Kanban Central Europe
  18. 18. 18 Lead-time comparison 60 Kick-Off 50 40 30 20 Lead Time 10 0 November 2013 Lean Kanban Central Europe
  19. 19. 19 What caused the Improvement? ● Focusing on items that contained value ● Abandonment of features and products ● Third-party products over custom solutions ● Priority on features that were of use for all customers, not only a single one ● Involving the customer in the process ● Limits on WIP led to less context switching November 2013 Lean Kanban Central Europe
  20. 20. 20 Organizational Changes ● Existing project managers left the organization ● Saying „no“ to customers and stakeholders ● Reluctance to commit to deadlines ● Transparency towards the outside ● No separation between Administration / Backend Dev. / Frontend Dev. / Testers November 2013 Lean Kanban Central Europe
  21. 21. 21 2 years later November 2013 Lean Kanban Central Europe
  22. 22. 22 Spectral analysis Chart ? November 2013 Lean Kanban Central Europe
  23. 23. 23 The Shadow World ● ● ● ● Separate Non-Kanban Workflow got created Service Manager with direct access over employees Backed by Ticket-System After a while they would switch the workflow – but skip priorization! November 2013 Lean Kanban Central Europe
  24. 24. 24 Perceived Slowness ● ● WIP-Limits were raised Items from hidden workflow reduced focus ● Push instead of Pull ● Lead-Time got higher ● Theory: Team is slacking off! November 2013 Lean Kanban Central Europe
  25. 25. 25 Perception vs. Reality 30 25 20 Doing Waiting 15 10 5 0 Spec November 2013 Dev QA Deploy Total Lean Kanban Central Europe
  26. 26. 26 Management Changes ● Additional project managers ● Developers should develop, not test ● Work, no retrospectives/reviews/documenting ● Aggressive deadlines ● Micro-Management ● Gantt-Charts revival November 2013 Lean Kanban Central Europe
  27. 27. 27 EFFECTS on the team ● Pulling stopped ● Cherry-Picking ● Shadow Tasks ● No interaction during daily stand-ups ● Breach of board rules ● Negativity and shift of language November 2013 Lean Kanban Central Europe
  28. 28. 28 Effects on the Process ● More bottlenecks that were unresolved ● More specialization ● More defects and needed rework ● Specification often incomplete ● Board became a visualization of ideal world, not of reality November 2013 Lean Kanban Central Europe
  29. 29. 29 Effects on Lead-time 60 50 40 30 20 Lead Time 10 0 November 2013 Lean Kanban Central Europe
  30. 30. 30 What to do Different next time? ● Bottom-up, the real process should be modelled ● Understanding that it's about change mgmt. ● Start at portfolio layer to help focus ● Be more scientific, believe the data, not the gut ● Get Buy-In from stakeholders ● Hire experts: higher acceptance November 2013 Lean Kanban Central Europe
  31. 31. 31 Thank you for listening November 2013 Lean Kanban Central Europe

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