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dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
10 Years of Kanban 
What have we Learned? 
It’s antifragile too! 
It’s great for service 
delivery! 
Presenter 
David J. Anderson 
LeanKanban UK 
November 2014
2004-2006 Microsoft XIT Sustaining Eng. 
Deferred commitment pull 
system coupled to probabilistic 
understanding of lead time 
• Improved productivity 
over 200% 
• Greatly improved 
predictability 
• Shortened lead times by 
~90% 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
Use of Kanban systems is 
minimally intrusive for 
engineers. Process 
methodologies didn’t change 
• PSP/TSP remained in 
use throughout
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
Conclusion 
Kanban is good for 
service delivery
2006 Validating Evidence 
Eric Landes at Robert Bosch 
copies XIT solution for intranet 
maintenance and produces similar 
results 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
HP Printer Firmware 
Division, Boise, Idaho, 
implements a kanban system 
as part of a Lean initiative 
and attributes 400% of an 
800% productivity 
improvement to kanban. 
Lead times fall from 21 
months to 3.5 months
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
Conclusion 
Kanban and its results 
are repeatable
2007 Kanban Method Emerges 
Kanban systems aren’t enough 
when there is too much 
variability in the workflow and 
too much heterogeneity of work 
types and trouble matching 
worker skills & experience 
• Now known as a system 
liquidity problem 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
• Visual boards are 
introduced 
• Kanban limits create 
stress & provoke process 
improvements 
• Multiple classes of service 
emerge
2007 Kanban Method Matures 
A combination of elements of 
Kanban such as system 
replenishment, classes of service, 
understanding cost of delay, 
transparency and metrics start 
to change entire company culture Operations review drives BU 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
wide improvements and 
starts to influence other BUs 
within the firm
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
Conclusion 
The Kanban Method is a 
management system for 
cultural change & 
improving organizational 
maturity
2007 First Kanban Software 
Digital Whiteboard application 
developed by Darren Davis at 
Corbis runs on top Microsoft 
Team Foundation Server 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
Workers run Digital Whiteboard 
on their desktop but continue to 
use physical boards in parallel
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
Conclusion 
We need software to get 
good metrics easily and 
amplify the management 
value of Kanban
2007 Kanban on Big Projects 
$11 million budget project with 
up to 55 people, 16 month 
schedule, approximately 2400 
user story scope 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
2-tiered kanban boards 
emerge to visualize parent-child 
dependencies in 
Introdureceqsu ihryembreidn tosf dedicated 
teams and floating project 
personnel using avatars 
• Specialists such as 
architects, UX 
• Generalists who can help 
any team
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
Conclusion 
Kanban is useful on large 
projects to improve 
predictability. 
More guidance on 
prioritizing backlogs is 
required at large scale.
Agile 2007 Conference 
Kanban presented in the CwaC 
open space with 25 attendees. 
Online community starts with 
Yahoo! group kanbandev Early adopters of Kanban are 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
teams struggling with Scrum 
at Yahoo! coached by Karl 
Scotland, Joe Arnold & 
Aaron Sanders in UK, India 
& San Jose
2008 Personal Kanban Adaptation 
If this is so good for our service 
delivery shouldn’t we be using it 
help us be more organized and get 
things done at a personal level? Personal Kanban emerges as 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
a concept 
• At Modus Cooperandi 
offices in Seattle 
• Elsewhere at firms 
such as IPC in London
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
2008 Scrumban 
Corey Ladas coins the term 
“Scrumban” to describe 
organizations currently using 
Scrum who apply Kanban to evolve 
to uniquely tailored process 
solutions such as those at Yahoo! 
In 2014, most people still 
don’t get this! 
• Scrumban isn’t a 
process. It is a journey 
(or story) of 
organizations embracing 
evolutionary change and 
evolving away from 
canonical Scrum 
It’s not Scrum or Kanban 
• But, Scrum+Kanban -> 
Uniquely tailored 
unbranded process
2008 Early Adopters Emerge 
Media, Internet & SaaS firms 
suffer from acute, self-evident cost 
of delay and ‘tyranny of the 
timebox’ challenges. Kanban 
address these issues for them 
 BBC and IPC Media in London 
 NBC Universal in LA & New York 
 Motley Fool in Washington DC 
area 
 Constant Contact (Boston) & 
Ultimate (Ft. Lauderdale), both 
SaaS firms 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
Media, Internet, SaaS firms 
are primary early adopters
2008 – Decision Filters for Leaders 
 Agile Decision Filter 
• Make progress with imperfect 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
information 
• Encourage a high trust culture 
• Treat WIP as a liability rather than an 
asset 
 Lean Decision Filter 
• Value trumps flow 
• Flow trumps waste elimination 
• Eliminate waste to improve efficiency, 
do not pursue economies of scale
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
2009
2009 Lean Kanban Conference 
First community conference held in 
Miami. Only 58 attendees. 
Sponsored by Ultimate Software 
(who will continue to support us 
for the next 6 years) 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
Full day, single track of 
Kanban content includes case 
studies from 
• Motley Fool 
• SEP 
• Inkubook / Authorhouse 
• Phidelis 
• Yahoo!
2009 Definition of Kanban Method 
 Principles 
Recognizing that kanban systems 
were part of a wider management 
system, the whole system is named 
for the use of kanban systems 
• Start with what you do now 
• Agree to pursue evolutionary change 
• Initially, respect existing roles, 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
responsibilities & job titles 
 Practices 
• Visualize, Limit WIP 
• Manage Flow, Make Policies Explicit 
• Implement Feedback Loops 
• Improve collaboratively, evolve 
The Kanban Method is 
positioned as an approach to 
evolutionary improvement 
experimentally
2009 “Be Like Water” 
http://joecampbell.wordpress.com/2009/05/13/be-like-water/ 
Joe Campbell’s blog post inspires 
step 1 of the Ladder of Escalating 
Motivation for Change, and our 
primary strategy for resistance to 
change which is to avoid it This will lead to the comparison 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
of Kanban with Bruce Lee’s 
journey with Jeet June Do, and 
the development of Fitness for 
Purpose and the concept of an 
adaptive anti-fragile enterprise
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
2009 Cost of Delay 
• Beginning to understand Cost 
of Delay as a qualitative 
taxonomy 
• Introduction of sketches of cost 
of delay function shapes at 
Posit Science in San Francisco Better understanding of classes 
of service emerges, including 
archetype set of 4 with names: 
Expedite, Fixed Date, Standard, 
Intangible
2009 More Validating Evidence 
First case emerges which 
replicates the cultural effects 
observed in 2007 at Corbis 
• IPC Media, London (Rob 
Hathaway, Indigo Blue) 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
First real evidence that the 
Kanban Method is a repeatable 
and predictable system of 
management
2009 Commercial Software 
Entrepreneurs introduce 
commercial Kanban software 
products. Initial products come 
from fans who’ve followed the 
journey for years 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
Leankit Kanban from Nashville, 
Tenessee 
Tools for Agile, Silver Catalyst, 
Pune, India
2009 Risk Assessment 
Qualitative risk assessment 
methods introduced to provide 
“prioritization” for large projects 
and service delivery where cost of 
delay isn’t the most significant 
risk factor 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
Generalized definition of classes of 
service to include multiple risk 
dimensions 
“A class of service is a set of 
policies that describe how an 
item should be treated based 
on its risk”
2009 Where to Start Guidance 
 Enterprise scale Kanban 
adoption: where do you start? 
• Must be highly visible 
• Must not be mission critical 
• Must be 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
1) in so much pain, no one cares what 
you try, 
2) management keen to “go Lean”, 
3) management wish to shift risk 
up/down value stream
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
2009 Real Options 
Deferred commitment with 
kanban systems and concepts of 
Real Options from Chris Matts, 
Olav Maasen and others begin to 
converge 
• Chris Matts puts some definition 
around Staff Liquidity concept 
• Staff Liquidity presented at USC 
CSSE Research Review
2009 “Tyranny of the Timebox” 
“Tyranny of the Timebox” 
concept emerges at Agile 2009 
after Arlo Belshee/Jim Shore 
explain the discontinuity from 
discrete processes (timeboxes) to 
continuous processes (kanban 
systems) 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
• Simply making timeboxes 
smaller to improve agility would 
never lead you to adopt Kanban. 
• Kanban was a discontinuous and 
non-obvious innovation in the 
Agile community
2009 Portfolio Kanban 
First Portfolio Kanban example 
presented at Agile 2009 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
• There is no WIP limit at the 
portfolio level 
• Limit WIP on projects, MMFs or 
MVPs doesn’t make sense
2010 – Kanban “blue book” 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja
2010 Brickell Key Awards 
 BBC recognized as first large 
scale adopter of Kanban 
replicating the viral spread seen 
at Corbis but on a much larger 
scale 
 David Joyce of the BBC 
recognized together with 
Alisson Vale of Phidelis as first 
winners of the Brickell Key Award 
 Best Kanban implementations 
are in UK & Brazil 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
2010 - STATIK 
Recognizing the need to teach 
people how to get started with 
Kanban, training classes adopt 
the use of the STATIK exercises 
STATIK = the Systems Thinking 
Approach To Implementing Kanban 
• the method is presented at 
conference in 2012 
• the acronym will not be 
introduced until 2013
2010 High Maturity Organizations 
Kanban is recognized as a method 
that encourages adoption of 
higher maturity quantitative 
methods 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
Kanban is also recognized as a key 
part of accelerated organizational 
maturity improvement 
• Published case studies 
talking decsribe CMMI 
ML1-ML2 in 3 months, 
ML2-ML3 in 9 months, 
ML3-ML5 in 9 months 
• These timescales are “off 
the scale” compared to 
typical timescales for CMMI 
adoption
2010 Upstream Kanban 
Initially in Belgium and France 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
Upstream Kanban will evolve into 
Discovery Kanban lead by Patrick 
Staeyert and his client Nemetschek 
Skia. Case study will be published 
in 2013
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
2010 Proto-Kanban 
First recognized in the Posit 
Science case study in 2009, pre-kanban 
system implementations 
without a full pull system are 
recognized as an important part 
of the coaching toolbox 
Richard Turner of the Stevens 
Institute coins the term “proto- 
Kanban” to describe these pre-pull 
system implementations that 
eventually evolve into full Kanban 
3 Types of Proto-Kanban are 
eventually recognized 
• Aggregated personal 
kanban 
• Aggregated team kanban 
• Per-person WIP limits
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
2010 IT Operations 
 IT Ops people begin appearing in 
classes 
 They want to design aggregated 
personal kanban boards 
• Specialist workers often dedicated to 
single work-item type 
• Refactor to lanes for types, multi-skilled 
workers with avatars 
 Demand analysis & capacity 
allocation become even more 
important 
• Especially for unplanned, irrefutable 
work (push)
2010 Break out from IT Sector 
Stories of Kanban in 
HR/Recruitment, Sales, and other 
functions emerge 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
Medium-sized owner-managed 
firms begin to adopt Kanban 
enterprise wide 
• e.g. Huddle Group, 
Argentina 
In 2011 stories of legal firms using 
Kanban for case files emerged in 
UK and New Zealand
2011 Personal Kanban published 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
Wins a Shingo Prize!
2011 Large Scale Enterprise Adoption 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
Business unit wide 
adoption begins to 
emerge at firms 
such as 
• Petrobras 
• McKesson 
• Vanguard 
• Amdocs
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
Appropriateness 
An understanding emerges for 
appropriate conditions for 
adoption, including… 
• System dynamics (or 
mechanics) 
• Cultural, organizational, 
social, psychological 
factors 
• Complexity factors
2011 Lean Kanban University established 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
Accredited Kanban Trainer 
program inaugurated with 16 
founding member companies and 
over 20 AKTs 
• Standardized “practitioner” 
curriculum published 
edu.leankanban.com
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
2012 Data Analysis 
Community starts reporting data 
analysis on lead time distributions 
showing tails that are 5x to 10x 
greater than the mean 
Flow efficiency metric comes back 
into fashion as it is evident that 
size, complexity or skills/experience 
of workers don’t correlate to lead 
times 
• Increased focus on sources of 
delay: queues, blocking issues, 
dependencies
2012 Optimal Exercise Point 
By understanding the cost of 
delay and the lead time 
distribution we can make a risk-based 
assessment of the best time 
to start something 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
If we can’t start at the optimal 
time we can understand whether 
to start an item earlier or later 
based on the nature of the cost of 
delay, or decide to discard the 
option
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
2012 Kanban Kata 
Hakan Forss points out similarity 
to Kanban feedback loopsand 
Rother’s Toyota Kata Service Delivery Reviews (SDRs) 
become a formal part of the 
method. These are also known as 
System Capability Review but this 
name was dropped as being too 
internally focused
2012 Depth of Kanban Assessment 
Hakan Forss challenges the idea 
that deep Kanban emerges 
linearly from visualization to 
experimental improvement as 
practices are added 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
A multi-dimensional model of 
depth of Kanban assessment 
emerges in both an absolute 
practice-based form and a relative 
assessment form. In 2014, it is 
updated to take more a values-based, 
observed outcome form
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
2012 Little’s Flaw 
Dan Vacanti and Frank Vega’s 
work on the origins of Little’s 
Law in queuing theory and 
understanding from Savavge & 
Danzinger’s The Flaw of Averages 
shows us why it’s an appropriate 
tool for understanding flow in 
creative work 
Dimitar Bakardzhiev helps us 
understand why consistency of 
system performance allows us to 
use it as a forecasting tool. 
Understanding consistency of 
system performance becomes vital 
to reliable Little’s Law based 
forecasting & capacity allocation
2012 Kanban System Liquidity 
Kanban system liquidity can be 
measured as the volume of pull 
transactions in the system and 
the laminar/turbulent nature of 
flow understood from its 
derivative. 
We don’t get it quite right in 
2012 but watch out for liquidity 
becoming a core metric in 
forecasting tools in 2015 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
System Liquidity meets 
Reinertsen’s criteria for a good 
metric 
• Simple 
• Self-generating 
• Relevant 
• Leading Indicator 
And it is a global metric which 
isn’t subject to local optimization
2012 Lessons in Agile Management 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
The heavily under-rated book 
that underpins the Kanban 
Coaching Masterclass and most 
of the theory behind the 
Kanban Method
2012 Crossing the Chasm Kanban 
 Compelling reason to buy 
• Senior people 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
 make promises I can keep 
 Improved governance 
• Middle managers 
 Up-manage with confidence – answer the 
hard questions 
 Down-manage with confidence – make 
the hard decisions 
• Individual contributors/Line managers 
 Relief from abusive environment (over-burdening)
2012 Cost of Delay Updates 
Still using sketches including 
the market payoff function 
and understanding its 
sensitivity to time 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
Qualitative Cost of Delay 
assessment now has 3 dimensions 
• Function shape 
• Order of magnitude in size 
• Shelf-life
2013 Statistics & Simulation 
Lead time histograms 
observed to be Weibull 
distributions 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
Monte Carlo simulation introduced 
as an optional feature in leading 
Kanban software products 
Troy Magennis wins Brickell Key 
Award for this work
2013 – Kanban Agendas 
 Survivability 
• Resilience/anti-fragility 
• Evolutionary capability 
 Service-orientation 
• Fitness criteria metrics 
• Workflow 
• service level expectations 
 Sustainability 
• Relief from over-burdening 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja
2013 Fitness for Purpose 
Service-orientation 
allows us to ask what 
makes a service “fit for 
purpose” 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
Fitness criteria are metrics that 
measure things customers value 
when selecting a service again & 
again 
• Delivery time 
• Quality 
• Predictability 
• Safety (or conformance to 
regulatory requirements)
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
2013 Kanban Lens 
Learn to view what you do now as a set 
of services (that can be improved): 
• What to look for… 
 Creative work is service-oriented 
 Service delivery involves workflow 
 Workflow involves a series of 
knowledge discovery activities 
• What to do… 
 Map the knowledge discovery 
workflow 
 Pay attention to how & why work 
arrives 
 Track work flowing through the service
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
2013 Kanban Values 
Transparency Balance Collaboration 
Customer 
Focus 
Flow Leadership 
Understanding Agreement Respect
2014 Kanban from the Inside 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja
2013 Scale-free understanding 
Eliminating unbounded queues 
• Proto-kanban to full 
workflow kanban 
• Coupling interdependent 
network of kanban 
systems 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
Andy Carmichael’s Smallest Possible 
Definition of Kanban 
See Flow, 
Start Here, 
With visible work & policies, 
validate improvements 
Core practices renamed 
“general practices” with specific 
practices at different scales 
• Personal/team Kanban 
• Service Delivery / 
Workflow Kanban 
• Portfolio Kanban
2014 Kanban Litmus Test 
1. Have managers changed their 
behavior? 
2. Has the customer interface 
changed? 
3. Has the customer contract 
changed? 
4. Has the service delivery business 
model changed? 
If you can’t answer yes to at least 2 of 
these questions you aren’t doing 
Kanban yet! 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
2014 Risk Review 
Risk Review is added as 
a feedback loop to the 
Kanban Method 
Klaus Leopold pioneered the 
process of harvesting & custering 
blocker tickets. 
He goes on to experiment with 
other ways of visualizing & 
harvesting delay data
2014 Fitness for Purpose Review 
Review customer stories 
Review Fitness criteria 
• Do they map to existing 
clusters? 
• Do we perceive customers of a 
• Or, do we see emerging new 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
Regular recurring meeting 
with front-line staff 
• Perhaps performed at different 
given cluster/segment are happy 
and consider us “fit for purpose” 
organizational levels to roll-up 
information in larger scale 
organizations 
clusters? 
• What services or product features 
or service delivery expectations 
have emerged or changed?
2014 What we now know! 
 Kanban systems are applicable for 
almost any creative or knowledge 
work service delivery workflow 
 The Kanban Method is appropriate 
wherever an evolutionary approach 
to change is desirable 
 Kanban works in low and high 
maturity organizations but basic 
maturity or converged workflow 
steps are required to model and 
implement a kanban system 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja
2014 What we now know! 
 Use of Kanban consistently shows 
200-800% productivity gains and 
50-90% lead time improvements 
where a baseline is available 
 Personal Kanban is a “gateway 
drug” to introduce Kanban in the 
office 
 Personal Kanban in the office is 
known as Team Kanban and is a 
form of Proto-Kanban 
 Getting beyond Proto-Kanban is 
challenging!!! 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja
2014 What we now know! 
 Kanban represents about 3% of 
the Agile market by revenue. 
 Shallow/Proto-Kanban is widely 
adopted but represents no 
market value 
• Physical boards 
• Little or no training or consulting 
 Kanban is more readily adopted 
by non-IT people who have no 
“methodology baggage” 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja
Modern Management Framework 
All of this knowledge is more 
than just kanban systems or 
what we ever dreamed of as 
Kanban 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
Hence, we packaged it all up as the 
Modern Management Framework 
• Emphasize that Kanban is a 
management system and not 
a process 
• A framework because it is 
continually extending as we 
learn more
Modern Management Framework 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja
Modern Management Framework 
The Modern Management 
Framework is applicable to 
all creative services and 
knowledge worker service 
industries To be flippant… 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
• “Kanban should be bigger 
than Agile!” 
• Not measured as part of the 
Agile market at all
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
We need tools! 
 Existing Kanban software products 
largely seek to replicate the 
function of a physical board 
 They don’t actually help with real 
management problems 
 Most of the Modern Management 
Framework is easy to understand 
but laborious to implement 
• No one build a Gantt chart manually! 
 Without proper tooling adoption will 
be slow
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
A vision from 2003 
In 2003, I described my 
work with Feature-driven 
Development (FDD) & Agile 
Management as “like MRP 
for Knowledge Work” 
Instead Don Reinertsen said, “you 
have all the pieces in place to adopt 
the use of kanban systems”
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
Kanban to MRP 
 1947 Kanban in manufacturing – 
Taiichi Ohno 
• Term “kanban” not adopted until 
1964 
 1964 Manufacturing 
Requirements Planning – Joseph 
Orlicky 
• Book published in 1975 
 Kanban to MRP 17 years
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
A vision for 2015 
We now have all the pieces in place to 
start managing modern business where 
employees “think for a living” and make 
decisions – knowledge worker businesses 
– and managing them with the rigor, 
anticipation and risk awareness that I 
envisaged in 2003 
I now call this future vision 
Enterprise Services Planning (ESP)
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
Kanban to ESP 
 2004 Kanban in knowledge work 
(IT services) introduction at 
Microsoft, Dragos Dumitriu & David 
J. Anderson 
• Book published in 2010 
 2015 Enterprise Services Planning 
• A new class of software tools which 
implement the Modern Management 
Framework 
• Book published ???? 
 Kanban to ESP 11 years?
ESP – Anticipating Demand, Allocating 
Combine the two, and across the 
organization you smooth flow 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
Capacity 
Demand 
Observed 
Capability 
Demand 
end-to-end and help keep 
demand in balance with 
overall system capability 
Demand 
Observed 
Capability 
Observed 
Capability 
Looking downstream, you want the 
system to help you anticipate and 
mLoaonkaigneg dueppsetnredaemnc,i eysou want the 
system to help you anticipate and 
manage demand
Enterprise Services Planning 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
“The Future of Kanban” 
 “Fit for Purpose” service delivery 
• Fitness criteria metrics & classes of service 
tuned to market segments / source of 
customer demand 
 Anticipate Demand 
• Comprehend WIP limits, staffing levels and 
required liquidity levels 
 Shape Demand 
• Allocate capacity based on risk strategy 
and market or business objectives 
 Intelligent Human Capital 
Development 
• Determine real ROI for skills & experience 
investment
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
Thank you!
About 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
David Anderson is an innovator in 
the management of 21st Century 
businesses that employ creative 
people who “think for a living” . He 
leads a training, consulting, 
publishing and event planning 
business dedicated to developing, 
promoting and implementing new 
management thinking & methods… 
He has 30 years experience in the high technology industry 
starting with computer games in the early 1980’s. He has led 
software organizations delivering superior productivity and 
quality using innovative methods at large companies such as 
Sprint and Motorola. 
David defined the Modern Management Framework and 
originated the Kanban Method an adaptive approach to 
improved service delivery. His latest book, published in 2012, 
is, Lessons in Agile Management – On the Road to Kanban. 
David is MD of David J. Anderson & Associates Ltd., a 
consulting and training firm operating globally offering 
management training solutions for 21st Century businesses 
whose employees make performance defining decisions daily.
Acknowledgements 
Kanban has been a community effort from scores of people some of 
whom are mentioned explicitly in this presentation others too 
numerous to mention here have been given credit along the way. 
However, none of this would have been possible were it not for the 
dedication, passion and energy of Janice Linden-Reed who has worked 
tirelessly to build the community since 2009. She is a founder of the 
Limited WIP Society and recipient of the Honorary Brickell Key Award 
for community contribution. 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja
David J Anderson 
& Associates, Ltd. 
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 
Told you! 
Antifragile! 
I can’t believe he 
didn’t mention 
Cynefin!
dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja

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10 years of kanban - what have we learned

  • 1. dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 10 Years of Kanban What have we Learned? It’s antifragile too! It’s great for service delivery! Presenter David J. Anderson LeanKanban UK November 2014
  • 2. 2004-2006 Microsoft XIT Sustaining Eng. Deferred commitment pull system coupled to probabilistic understanding of lead time • Improved productivity over 200% • Greatly improved predictability • Shortened lead times by ~90% dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja Use of Kanban systems is minimally intrusive for engineers. Process methodologies didn’t change • PSP/TSP remained in use throughout
  • 3. dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja Conclusion Kanban is good for service delivery
  • 4. 2006 Validating Evidence Eric Landes at Robert Bosch copies XIT solution for intranet maintenance and produces similar results dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja HP Printer Firmware Division, Boise, Idaho, implements a kanban system as part of a Lean initiative and attributes 400% of an 800% productivity improvement to kanban. Lead times fall from 21 months to 3.5 months
  • 5. dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja Conclusion Kanban and its results are repeatable
  • 6. 2007 Kanban Method Emerges Kanban systems aren’t enough when there is too much variability in the workflow and too much heterogeneity of work types and trouble matching worker skills & experience • Now known as a system liquidity problem dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja • Visual boards are introduced • Kanban limits create stress & provoke process improvements • Multiple classes of service emerge
  • 7. 2007 Kanban Method Matures A combination of elements of Kanban such as system replenishment, classes of service, understanding cost of delay, transparency and metrics start to change entire company culture Operations review drives BU dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja wide improvements and starts to influence other BUs within the firm
  • 8. dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja Conclusion The Kanban Method is a management system for cultural change & improving organizational maturity
  • 9. 2007 First Kanban Software Digital Whiteboard application developed by Darren Davis at Corbis runs on top Microsoft Team Foundation Server dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja Workers run Digital Whiteboard on their desktop but continue to use physical boards in parallel
  • 10. dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja Conclusion We need software to get good metrics easily and amplify the management value of Kanban
  • 11. 2007 Kanban on Big Projects $11 million budget project with up to 55 people, 16 month schedule, approximately 2400 user story scope dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 2-tiered kanban boards emerge to visualize parent-child dependencies in Introdureceqsu ihryembreidn tosf dedicated teams and floating project personnel using avatars • Specialists such as architects, UX • Generalists who can help any team
  • 12. dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja Conclusion Kanban is useful on large projects to improve predictability. More guidance on prioritizing backlogs is required at large scale.
  • 13. Agile 2007 Conference Kanban presented in the CwaC open space with 25 attendees. Online community starts with Yahoo! group kanbandev Early adopters of Kanban are dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja teams struggling with Scrum at Yahoo! coached by Karl Scotland, Joe Arnold & Aaron Sanders in UK, India & San Jose
  • 14. 2008 Personal Kanban Adaptation If this is so good for our service delivery shouldn’t we be using it help us be more organized and get things done at a personal level? Personal Kanban emerges as dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja a concept • At Modus Cooperandi offices in Seattle • Elsewhere at firms such as IPC in London
  • 15. dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 2008 Scrumban Corey Ladas coins the term “Scrumban” to describe organizations currently using Scrum who apply Kanban to evolve to uniquely tailored process solutions such as those at Yahoo! In 2014, most people still don’t get this! • Scrumban isn’t a process. It is a journey (or story) of organizations embracing evolutionary change and evolving away from canonical Scrum It’s not Scrum or Kanban • But, Scrum+Kanban -> Uniquely tailored unbranded process
  • 16. 2008 Early Adopters Emerge Media, Internet & SaaS firms suffer from acute, self-evident cost of delay and ‘tyranny of the timebox’ challenges. Kanban address these issues for them  BBC and IPC Media in London  NBC Universal in LA & New York  Motley Fool in Washington DC area  Constant Contact (Boston) & Ultimate (Ft. Lauderdale), both SaaS firms dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja Media, Internet, SaaS firms are primary early adopters
  • 17. 2008 – Decision Filters for Leaders  Agile Decision Filter • Make progress with imperfect dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja information • Encourage a high trust culture • Treat WIP as a liability rather than an asset  Lean Decision Filter • Value trumps flow • Flow trumps waste elimination • Eliminate waste to improve efficiency, do not pursue economies of scale
  • 19. 2009 Lean Kanban Conference First community conference held in Miami. Only 58 attendees. Sponsored by Ultimate Software (who will continue to support us for the next 6 years) dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja Full day, single track of Kanban content includes case studies from • Motley Fool • SEP • Inkubook / Authorhouse • Phidelis • Yahoo!
  • 20. 2009 Definition of Kanban Method  Principles Recognizing that kanban systems were part of a wider management system, the whole system is named for the use of kanban systems • Start with what you do now • Agree to pursue evolutionary change • Initially, respect existing roles, dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja responsibilities & job titles  Practices • Visualize, Limit WIP • Manage Flow, Make Policies Explicit • Implement Feedback Loops • Improve collaboratively, evolve The Kanban Method is positioned as an approach to evolutionary improvement experimentally
  • 21. 2009 “Be Like Water” http://joecampbell.wordpress.com/2009/05/13/be-like-water/ Joe Campbell’s blog post inspires step 1 of the Ladder of Escalating Motivation for Change, and our primary strategy for resistance to change which is to avoid it This will lead to the comparison dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja of Kanban with Bruce Lee’s journey with Jeet June Do, and the development of Fitness for Purpose and the concept of an adaptive anti-fragile enterprise
  • 22. dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 2009 Cost of Delay • Beginning to understand Cost of Delay as a qualitative taxonomy • Introduction of sketches of cost of delay function shapes at Posit Science in San Francisco Better understanding of classes of service emerges, including archetype set of 4 with names: Expedite, Fixed Date, Standard, Intangible
  • 23. 2009 More Validating Evidence First case emerges which replicates the cultural effects observed in 2007 at Corbis • IPC Media, London (Rob Hathaway, Indigo Blue) dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja First real evidence that the Kanban Method is a repeatable and predictable system of management
  • 24. 2009 Commercial Software Entrepreneurs introduce commercial Kanban software products. Initial products come from fans who’ve followed the journey for years dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja Leankit Kanban from Nashville, Tenessee Tools for Agile, Silver Catalyst, Pune, India
  • 25. 2009 Risk Assessment Qualitative risk assessment methods introduced to provide “prioritization” for large projects and service delivery where cost of delay isn’t the most significant risk factor dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja Generalized definition of classes of service to include multiple risk dimensions “A class of service is a set of policies that describe how an item should be treated based on its risk”
  • 26. 2009 Where to Start Guidance  Enterprise scale Kanban adoption: where do you start? • Must be highly visible • Must not be mission critical • Must be dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 1) in so much pain, no one cares what you try, 2) management keen to “go Lean”, 3) management wish to shift risk up/down value stream
  • 27. dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 2009 Real Options Deferred commitment with kanban systems and concepts of Real Options from Chris Matts, Olav Maasen and others begin to converge • Chris Matts puts some definition around Staff Liquidity concept • Staff Liquidity presented at USC CSSE Research Review
  • 28. 2009 “Tyranny of the Timebox” “Tyranny of the Timebox” concept emerges at Agile 2009 after Arlo Belshee/Jim Shore explain the discontinuity from discrete processes (timeboxes) to continuous processes (kanban systems) dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja • Simply making timeboxes smaller to improve agility would never lead you to adopt Kanban. • Kanban was a discontinuous and non-obvious innovation in the Agile community
  • 29. 2009 Portfolio Kanban First Portfolio Kanban example presented at Agile 2009 dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja • There is no WIP limit at the portfolio level • Limit WIP on projects, MMFs or MVPs doesn’t make sense
  • 30. 2010 – Kanban “blue book” dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja
  • 31. 2010 Brickell Key Awards  BBC recognized as first large scale adopter of Kanban replicating the viral spread seen at Corbis but on a much larger scale  David Joyce of the BBC recognized together with Alisson Vale of Phidelis as first winners of the Brickell Key Award  Best Kanban implementations are in UK & Brazil dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja
  • 32. dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 2010 - STATIK Recognizing the need to teach people how to get started with Kanban, training classes adopt the use of the STATIK exercises STATIK = the Systems Thinking Approach To Implementing Kanban • the method is presented at conference in 2012 • the acronym will not be introduced until 2013
  • 33. 2010 High Maturity Organizations Kanban is recognized as a method that encourages adoption of higher maturity quantitative methods dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja Kanban is also recognized as a key part of accelerated organizational maturity improvement • Published case studies talking decsribe CMMI ML1-ML2 in 3 months, ML2-ML3 in 9 months, ML3-ML5 in 9 months • These timescales are “off the scale” compared to typical timescales for CMMI adoption
  • 34. 2010 Upstream Kanban Initially in Belgium and France dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja Upstream Kanban will evolve into Discovery Kanban lead by Patrick Staeyert and his client Nemetschek Skia. Case study will be published in 2013
  • 35. dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 2010 Proto-Kanban First recognized in the Posit Science case study in 2009, pre-kanban system implementations without a full pull system are recognized as an important part of the coaching toolbox Richard Turner of the Stevens Institute coins the term “proto- Kanban” to describe these pre-pull system implementations that eventually evolve into full Kanban 3 Types of Proto-Kanban are eventually recognized • Aggregated personal kanban • Aggregated team kanban • Per-person WIP limits
  • 36. dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 2010 IT Operations  IT Ops people begin appearing in classes  They want to design aggregated personal kanban boards • Specialist workers often dedicated to single work-item type • Refactor to lanes for types, multi-skilled workers with avatars  Demand analysis & capacity allocation become even more important • Especially for unplanned, irrefutable work (push)
  • 37. 2010 Break out from IT Sector Stories of Kanban in HR/Recruitment, Sales, and other functions emerge dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja Medium-sized owner-managed firms begin to adopt Kanban enterprise wide • e.g. Huddle Group, Argentina In 2011 stories of legal firms using Kanban for case files emerged in UK and New Zealand
  • 38. 2011 Personal Kanban published dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja Wins a Shingo Prize!
  • 39. 2011 Large Scale Enterprise Adoption dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja Business unit wide adoption begins to emerge at firms such as • Petrobras • McKesson • Vanguard • Amdocs
  • 40. dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja Appropriateness An understanding emerges for appropriate conditions for adoption, including… • System dynamics (or mechanics) • Cultural, organizational, social, psychological factors • Complexity factors
  • 41. 2011 Lean Kanban University established dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja Accredited Kanban Trainer program inaugurated with 16 founding member companies and over 20 AKTs • Standardized “practitioner” curriculum published edu.leankanban.com
  • 42. dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 2012 Data Analysis Community starts reporting data analysis on lead time distributions showing tails that are 5x to 10x greater than the mean Flow efficiency metric comes back into fashion as it is evident that size, complexity or skills/experience of workers don’t correlate to lead times • Increased focus on sources of delay: queues, blocking issues, dependencies
  • 43. 2012 Optimal Exercise Point By understanding the cost of delay and the lead time distribution we can make a risk-based assessment of the best time to start something dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja If we can’t start at the optimal time we can understand whether to start an item earlier or later based on the nature of the cost of delay, or decide to discard the option
  • 44. dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 2012 Kanban Kata Hakan Forss points out similarity to Kanban feedback loopsand Rother’s Toyota Kata Service Delivery Reviews (SDRs) become a formal part of the method. These are also known as System Capability Review but this name was dropped as being too internally focused
  • 45. 2012 Depth of Kanban Assessment Hakan Forss challenges the idea that deep Kanban emerges linearly from visualization to experimental improvement as practices are added dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja A multi-dimensional model of depth of Kanban assessment emerges in both an absolute practice-based form and a relative assessment form. In 2014, it is updated to take more a values-based, observed outcome form
  • 46. dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 2012 Little’s Flaw Dan Vacanti and Frank Vega’s work on the origins of Little’s Law in queuing theory and understanding from Savavge & Danzinger’s The Flaw of Averages shows us why it’s an appropriate tool for understanding flow in creative work Dimitar Bakardzhiev helps us understand why consistency of system performance allows us to use it as a forecasting tool. Understanding consistency of system performance becomes vital to reliable Little’s Law based forecasting & capacity allocation
  • 47. 2012 Kanban System Liquidity Kanban system liquidity can be measured as the volume of pull transactions in the system and the laminar/turbulent nature of flow understood from its derivative. We don’t get it quite right in 2012 but watch out for liquidity becoming a core metric in forecasting tools in 2015 dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja System Liquidity meets Reinertsen’s criteria for a good metric • Simple • Self-generating • Relevant • Leading Indicator And it is a global metric which isn’t subject to local optimization
  • 48. 2012 Lessons in Agile Management dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja The heavily under-rated book that underpins the Kanban Coaching Masterclass and most of the theory behind the Kanban Method
  • 49. 2012 Crossing the Chasm Kanban  Compelling reason to buy • Senior people dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja  make promises I can keep  Improved governance • Middle managers  Up-manage with confidence – answer the hard questions  Down-manage with confidence – make the hard decisions • Individual contributors/Line managers  Relief from abusive environment (over-burdening)
  • 50. 2012 Cost of Delay Updates Still using sketches including the market payoff function and understanding its sensitivity to time dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja Qualitative Cost of Delay assessment now has 3 dimensions • Function shape • Order of magnitude in size • Shelf-life
  • 51. 2013 Statistics & Simulation Lead time histograms observed to be Weibull distributions dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja Monte Carlo simulation introduced as an optional feature in leading Kanban software products Troy Magennis wins Brickell Key Award for this work
  • 52. 2013 – Kanban Agendas  Survivability • Resilience/anti-fragility • Evolutionary capability  Service-orientation • Fitness criteria metrics • Workflow • service level expectations  Sustainability • Relief from over-burdening dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja
  • 53. 2013 Fitness for Purpose Service-orientation allows us to ask what makes a service “fit for purpose” dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja Fitness criteria are metrics that measure things customers value when selecting a service again & again • Delivery time • Quality • Predictability • Safety (or conformance to regulatory requirements)
  • 54. dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 2013 Kanban Lens Learn to view what you do now as a set of services (that can be improved): • What to look for…  Creative work is service-oriented  Service delivery involves workflow  Workflow involves a series of knowledge discovery activities • What to do…  Map the knowledge discovery workflow  Pay attention to how & why work arrives  Track work flowing through the service
  • 55. dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 2013 Kanban Values Transparency Balance Collaboration Customer Focus Flow Leadership Understanding Agreement Respect
  • 56. 2014 Kanban from the Inside dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja
  • 57. 2013 Scale-free understanding Eliminating unbounded queues • Proto-kanban to full workflow kanban • Coupling interdependent network of kanban systems dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja Andy Carmichael’s Smallest Possible Definition of Kanban See Flow, Start Here, With visible work & policies, validate improvements Core practices renamed “general practices” with specific practices at different scales • Personal/team Kanban • Service Delivery / Workflow Kanban • Portfolio Kanban
  • 58. 2014 Kanban Litmus Test 1. Have managers changed their behavior? 2. Has the customer interface changed? 3. Has the customer contract changed? 4. Has the service delivery business model changed? If you can’t answer yes to at least 2 of these questions you aren’t doing Kanban yet! dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja
  • 59. dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja 2014 Risk Review Risk Review is added as a feedback loop to the Kanban Method Klaus Leopold pioneered the process of harvesting & custering blocker tickets. He goes on to experiment with other ways of visualizing & harvesting delay data
  • 60. 2014 Fitness for Purpose Review Review customer stories Review Fitness criteria • Do they map to existing clusters? • Do we perceive customers of a • Or, do we see emerging new dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja Regular recurring meeting with front-line staff • Perhaps performed at different given cluster/segment are happy and consider us “fit for purpose” organizational levels to roll-up information in larger scale organizations clusters? • What services or product features or service delivery expectations have emerged or changed?
  • 61. 2014 What we now know!  Kanban systems are applicable for almost any creative or knowledge work service delivery workflow  The Kanban Method is appropriate wherever an evolutionary approach to change is desirable  Kanban works in low and high maturity organizations but basic maturity or converged workflow steps are required to model and implement a kanban system dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja
  • 62. 2014 What we now know!  Use of Kanban consistently shows 200-800% productivity gains and 50-90% lead time improvements where a baseline is available  Personal Kanban is a “gateway drug” to introduce Kanban in the office  Personal Kanban in the office is known as Team Kanban and is a form of Proto-Kanban  Getting beyond Proto-Kanban is challenging!!! dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja
  • 63. 2014 What we now know!  Kanban represents about 3% of the Agile market by revenue.  Shallow/Proto-Kanban is widely adopted but represents no market value • Physical boards • Little or no training or consulting  Kanban is more readily adopted by non-IT people who have no “methodology baggage” dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja
  • 64. Modern Management Framework All of this knowledge is more than just kanban systems or what we ever dreamed of as Kanban dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja Hence, we packaged it all up as the Modern Management Framework • Emphasize that Kanban is a management system and not a process • A framework because it is continually extending as we learn more
  • 65. Modern Management Framework dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja
  • 66. Modern Management Framework The Modern Management Framework is applicable to all creative services and knowledge worker service industries To be flippant… dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja • “Kanban should be bigger than Agile!” • Not measured as part of the Agile market at all
  • 67. dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja We need tools!  Existing Kanban software products largely seek to replicate the function of a physical board  They don’t actually help with real management problems  Most of the Modern Management Framework is easy to understand but laborious to implement • No one build a Gantt chart manually!  Without proper tooling adoption will be slow
  • 68. dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja A vision from 2003 In 2003, I described my work with Feature-driven Development (FDD) & Agile Management as “like MRP for Knowledge Work” Instead Don Reinertsen said, “you have all the pieces in place to adopt the use of kanban systems”
  • 69. dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja Kanban to MRP  1947 Kanban in manufacturing – Taiichi Ohno • Term “kanban” not adopted until 1964  1964 Manufacturing Requirements Planning – Joseph Orlicky • Book published in 1975  Kanban to MRP 17 years
  • 70. dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja A vision for 2015 We now have all the pieces in place to start managing modern business where employees “think for a living” and make decisions – knowledge worker businesses – and managing them with the rigor, anticipation and risk awareness that I envisaged in 2003 I now call this future vision Enterprise Services Planning (ESP)
  • 71. dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja Kanban to ESP  2004 Kanban in knowledge work (IT services) introduction at Microsoft, Dragos Dumitriu & David J. Anderson • Book published in 2010  2015 Enterprise Services Planning • A new class of software tools which implement the Modern Management Framework • Book published ????  Kanban to ESP 11 years?
  • 72. ESP – Anticipating Demand, Allocating Combine the two, and across the organization you smooth flow dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja Capacity Demand Observed Capability Demand end-to-end and help keep demand in balance with overall system capability Demand Observed Capability Observed Capability Looking downstream, you want the system to help you anticipate and mLoaonkaigneg dueppsetnredaemnc,i eysou want the system to help you anticipate and manage demand
  • 73. Enterprise Services Planning dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja “The Future of Kanban”  “Fit for Purpose” service delivery • Fitness criteria metrics & classes of service tuned to market segments / source of customer demand  Anticipate Demand • Comprehend WIP limits, staffing levels and required liquidity levels  Shape Demand • Allocate capacity based on risk strategy and market or business objectives  Intelligent Human Capital Development • Determine real ROI for skills & experience investment
  • 75. About dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja David Anderson is an innovator in the management of 21st Century businesses that employ creative people who “think for a living” . He leads a training, consulting, publishing and event planning business dedicated to developing, promoting and implementing new management thinking & methods… He has 30 years experience in the high technology industry starting with computer games in the early 1980’s. He has led software organizations delivering superior productivity and quality using innovative methods at large companies such as Sprint and Motorola. David defined the Modern Management Framework and originated the Kanban Method an adaptive approach to improved service delivery. His latest book, published in 2012, is, Lessons in Agile Management – On the Road to Kanban. David is MD of David J. Anderson & Associates Ltd., a consulting and training firm operating globally offering management training solutions for 21st Century businesses whose employees make performance defining decisions daily.
  • 76. Acknowledgements Kanban has been a community effort from scores of people some of whom are mentioned explicitly in this presentation others too numerous to mention here have been given credit along the way. However, none of this would have been possible were it not for the dedication, passion and energy of Janice Linden-Reed who has worked tirelessly to build the community since 2009. She is a founder of the Limited WIP Society and recipient of the Honorary Brickell Key Award for community contribution. dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja
  • 77. David J Anderson & Associates, Ltd. dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja
  • 78. dja@djaa.com, @djaa_dja Told you! Antifragile! I can’t believe he didn’t mention Cynefin!