Kanban: an introduction

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A brief introduction to Kanban, presented at the Philly 'burbs WordPress Meetup on Feb 17, 2014 http://www.meetup.com/philly-burbs-wordpress-meetup/events/160490732/

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  • @marta Bryll Yes, please feel free to share!
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  • Really cool presentation. Is it possible to share it? It's my second source of knowledge about kanban method - I just started my free trial with Kanban Tool and i'm going through their article library http:/kanbantool.com/kanban-library/kanban-kick-start . With that and your slides I think I'm quite covered :)
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  • The Imperial Palace Gardens in Tokyo use a kanban system to manage the number of visitors allowed in the park. Kanban has been adopted for use in software development from the process known as “Lean”, developed by Toyota. The lean approach has become popular for startups. Kanban is a Japanese word which refers to a sign or a ticket.
  • Admission is free, but you have to take a ticket when you enter, and return it when you leave
  • Only a certain number of tickets are allowed in circulation at any time. If the maximum is reached, no more people are allowed into the gardens until others return their tickets when leaving. This is a line that formed on Jan 2, when the emperor and his family make a brief public appearance for New Year’s.
  • Capacity is set at a number that will maintain the health of the gardens, and allow visitors to enjoy peace and quiet. So even on a busy day, the gardens do not feel crowded.
  • This is a simple Kanban example: the gardens are the system, the visitors are the “work” pulled into the system, and capacity is limited by the tickets in circulation. So the garden paths never get worn out by too many visitors, and you can always find a free bench to sit on.
  • It’s like a nice drive on a highway - the cars get to go reasonably fast, operating their engines at a good fuel efficiency. They don’t need to slam on their brakes. They don’t need to change lanes often, and there’s a safe distance between them.
  • Just as a highway is poorly utilized when it’s overloaded, your workday is poorly utilized when it’s overloaded. Achieving capacity on a highway doesn’t mean it’s completely packed with cars. When your workday is overloaded, you’ll be switching tasks a lot. That task switching can be very wasteful, as you have to load the context of each task into your head first.
  • The “input queue”contains the things you have to do. It’s often also called a backlog, or you can even just call it “to do.” These tasks need to be ranked in priority order.
    The columns you put on your board are up to you. They should represent an outline of the phases of your team’s work.
  • Finding the right WIP limit for a team of 4
  • Capacity allocation can be especially useful if different people are doing the work at each phase, or to help force dealing with bottlenecks
  • Buffers are the “ready” columns. Sometimes work cannot immediately start in the next stage right after its completed in the previous stage, so it goes into a buffer. For example, when it needs to be handed off to another person, who is already busy.
  • If FIFO isn’t an appropriate model, and you need to make sure a certain portion of effort gets dedicated to certain kinds of tasks, create swim lanes
  • This board has a swim lane that allows one emergency at a time.
    How you handle unplanned work depends on the nature of your work. If you’re running a helpdesk, unplanned work is normal. If you’re running a development team, frequent emergencies may point to a larger problem with your organization or development process.
  • A task labelled “build a pyramid” is really a project in disguise. We need to break it down.
  • A WIP limit of 3 is meaningless of each tasks has multiple, unassessed components
    When tasks are broken down into small sizes, there is less room for surprises
    Small tasks are less likely to block capacity
    Small tasks have less variability in how long they take too complete
  • If you’re familiar with Scrum, a Kanban standup is different: you don’t need the “3 questions”
    Instead, a facilitator “walks the board” from right to left, with a focus on blocked tasks or any needing status updates or further discussion
    Often followed by an informal “after meeting” of those who need to coordinate their work for the day
  • Kanban: an introduction

    1. 1. February 12, 2014 - PromptWorks Kanban Michael Toppa @mtoppa toppa.com
    2. 2. Overview ❖ A simple Kanban example ❖ Kanban goals, part 1 ❖ Using Kanban ❖ Kanban goals, part 2
    3. 3. A simple Kanban example
    4. 4. The Imperial Palace Gardens The Imperial Palace Gardens in Tokyo use a kanban system to manage the number of visitors allowed in the park.
    5. 5. Admission is free, but you have to take a ticket when you enter, and return it when you leave. Kanban is a Japanese word which refers to a sign or a ticket.
    6. 6. Only a certain number of tickets are allowed in circulation at any time. If the maximum is reached, no more people are allowed into the gardens until others return their tickets when leaving. This is a line that formed on Jan 2, when the emperor and his family make a brief public appearance for New Year’s.
    7. 7. Capacity is set at a number that will maintain the health of the gardens, and allow visitors to enjoy peace and quiet. So even on a busy day, the gardens do not very feel crowded. The garden paths never get worn out by too many visitors, and you can always find a free bench to sit on.
    8. 8. This is a simple Kanban example: the gardens are the system, the visitors are “pulled” into the system, and capacity is limited by the tickets in circulation. Applied to the work environment, the idea is that we set a limit for how many things our team can work on at the same time, so we can do that work effectively and efficiently, without burnout
    9. 9. Kanban goals, part 1
    10. 10. Kanban is about achieving flow It’s like a nice drive on a highway - the cars get to go reasonably fast, operating their engines at a good fuel efficiency. They don’t need to slam on their brakes. They don’t need to change lanes often, and there’s a safe distance between them.
    11. 11. And minimizing waste Just as a highway is poorly utilized when it’s overloaded, your workday is poorly utilized when it’s overloaded. Achieving capacity on a highway doesn’t mean it’s completely packed with cars. When your workday is overloaded, you’ll be switching tasks a lot. That task switching can be very wasteful, as you have to load the context of each task into your head first.
    12. 12. Why use Kanban? ❖ In addition to achieving flow, it helps: ❖ provide transparency; have visibility into your work ❖ identify and eliminate bottlenecks in your workflow ❖ provide empowerment, which drives process improvement
    13. 13. Using Kanban: Step 1 Change as little as possible Part of the Kanban philosophy is to minimize fear and disruption in the adoption process. Kanban is intended to be overlaid on an existing project management system.
    14. 14. Step 2 - “map the value stream” on a task board From “Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business" The “input queue” contains the things you have to do. It’s often also called a backlog, or you can even just call it “to do.” These tasks need to be ranked in priority order. The columns you put on your board are up to you. They should represent an outline of the phases of your team’s work. The boundaries are important - you should not attempt to map work that is not under your teams control.
    15. 15. Step 3 - put tasks on cards
    16. 16. Step 4 - Set work-in-progress limits Finding the right WIP limit for a team of 4
    17. 17. Using Kanban: sizing work From http://flow.io/finding-the-right-task-size-in-kanban.html A task labelled “build a pyramid” is really a project in disguise. We need to break it down.
    18. 18. When tasks are the right size… ❖ WIP limits work ❖ You have visibility into your work ❖ You have fewer bottlenecks ❖ The time to complete tasks does not vary wildly A WIP limit of 3 is meaningless of each tasks has multiple, unassessed components When tasks are broken down into small sizes, there is less room for surprises Small tasks are less likely to block capacity Small tasks have less variability in how long they take too complete
    19. 19. Kanban standups If you’re familiar with Scrum, a Kanban standup is different: you don’t need the “3 questions” Instead, a facilitator “walks the board” from right to left, with a focus on blocked tasks or any needing status updates or further discussion Often followed by an informal “after meeting” of those who need to coordinate their work for the day
    20. 20. Using Kanban: taskboard options
    21. 21. Add buffers/queues Buffers are the “ready” columns. Sometimes work cannot immediately start in the next stage right after its completed in the previous stage, so it goes into a buffer. For example, when it needs to be handed off to another person, who is already busy.
    22. 22. Capacity allocation Capacity allocation can be especially useful if different people are doing the work at each phase, or to help force dealing with bottlenecks
    23. 23. Add swim lanes If FIFO isn’t an appropriate model, and you need to make sure a certain portion of effort gets dedicated to certain kinds of tasks, create swim lanes
    24. 24. Handling emergencies This board has a swim lane that allows one emergency at a time. How you handle unplanned work depends on the nature of your work. If you’re running a helpdesk, unplanned work is normal. If you’re running a development team, frequent emergencies may point to a larger problem with your organization or development process.
    25. 25. Kanban goals, part 2 ❖ Visualize workflow ❖ Make process policies explicit ❖ Limit work in progress ❖ Measure and manage flow ❖ Which leads to...
    26. 26. A kaizen (continuous improvement) culture ❖ WIP limits and transparency motivates collaboration and process improvement... ❖ ...which then spreads upstream and downstream from the team: a viral spread of culture ❖ The Corbis experience - upstream C-level culture change ❖ Bargaining, which led to ❖ Democracy, which led to ❖ Real time collaboration
    27. 27. February 12, 2014 - PromptWorks Kanban Michael Toppa @mtoppa toppa.com Questions?

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