5 Arguments Against Kanban


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While Kanban is gaining more and more traction in the tech industry, we start to experience the same challenges as when the popularity of Agile started to rise. People get interested and ask "What is this Kanban thing I see popping up everywhere?". As soon as they learn the basics about it, the human brain does what it always does when processing information. It compares to what it already knows. This is where we lose our ability to learn something without prejudice. We come up with arguments why these new idea are not as good as the ones we are used to. In this presentation, I will cover 5 of the most common arguments against Kanban and explain why they are flawed, by exploring Kanban in depth. You will learn how to respond to these questions and get a more profound knowledge on the foundations of Kanban.

Published in: Business, Technology

5 Arguments Against Kanban

  1. 1. ARGUMENTS against KANBAN@NickOostvogels
  2. 2. Kanban is on the riseSource : VersionOne - State of Agile Survey 2011
  3. 3. When introducing new ideas…http://www.flickr.com/photos/smannion/3385144016/
  4. 4. People compare it to what they knowhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/mvjantzen/4815422633/
  5. 5. … and start to criticizehttp://www.flickr.com/photos/the-g-uk/3913466332/
  6. 6. Kanban is hard to explain briefly http://www.flickr.com/photos/digitalmums/6310508350/
  7. 7. That’s normal• Kanban is a change management approach, not a process• Less prescriptive• It’s roots go all the way back to lean thinking
  8. 8. What is Kanban? In Industryhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/scania/2869199313/
  9. 9. In Software Development Change Management approach that employs a WIP limited pull systemhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/adelcambre/2768856149/
  10. 10. 1. Start with what you now2. Agree to pursue incremental, evolutionary change3. Initially, respect current roles, responsibilities & job titles Source : limitedwipsociety.org
  11. 11. then adopt the core practices1. Visualize2. Limit Work In Progress3. Manage Flow4. Make Process Policies Explicit5. Improve Collaboratively Source : limitedwipsociety.org
  12. 12. For me …Kanban is a wayto change your process into onethat focuses on end to end valueand getting stuff delivered.
  13. 13. And that’s hard to sell !
  14. 14. Available soon on
  15. 15. 5 tough questions1. We lose our ability to plan2. It will take longer3. Things will get stuck4. Stakeholders don’t care about feeding the flow5. We will lose team cohesion
  16. 16. we loseourabilityto plan http://www.flickr.com/photos/40358860@N04/4250860618/
  17. 17. Noestimates?http://www.flickr.com/photos/photojonny/2268845904/
  18. 18. Customers
  19. 19. Managing people http://www.flickr.com/photos/lambdachialpha/3795728748/
  20. 20. Release planning Translation intoInitial requirementsspecs Estimation Review Release estimations Plan
  21. 21. Issues• Not a repeatable process• Never built something alike• (educated) GUESSING• Software dev = Creative process
  22. 22. Kanban : measuring
  23. 23. Different sizes ???http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaydedman/2593673396/
  24. 24. Use a scale compare
  25. 25. Keep features small
  26. 26. Why sizing? http://www.flickr.com/photos/lawdeda/4094259672/
  27. 27. Planning withmeasurements
  28. 28. Reduce variation 1. Reliable planning 2. Fast response 3. Stabilize the process 4. Base for continuous improvement
  29. 29. Small releasesKanban != continuous deployment
  30. 30. Small releasesKanban can lead to continuous deployment
  31. 31. Won’t this annoy our users?http://www.flickr.com/photos/photojonny/2268845904/
  32. 32. Small releasesNO, because…• Updates will be smaller• Risk for bugs is lower+ Releasing early creates asense of urgency
  33. 33. options for Re-planning1. Reprioritize the input queue2. Cadence3. Pull a planning meeting
  34. 34. it willtakelonger http://www.flickr.com/photos/40358860@N04/4250860618/
  35. 35. Nodeadlines?http://www.flickr.com/photos/photojonny/2268845904/
  36. 36. Parkinson’slaw“The amount of time which one has to perform a task …… is the amount of time it will take to complete the task.”
  37. 37. Management by cost
  38. 38. Healthy balance in KanbanManaging by measuring
  39. 39. Healthy balance in KanbanHelping to improveinstead of command & control
  40. 40. Theory ofConstraints for process improvement http://www.flickr.com/photos/96dpi/3371440496/
  41. 41. the weakest chain determines the rate of the entire system
  42. 42. the WIP Limits will let you feel the TOC and do something about it
  43. 43. Flow • Only work on customer orders • Reduce guessing to avoid waste • Limit WIP to reduce inventory, cost & riskhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/23945877@N05/2623633694/
  44. 44. WIP limits createa pull system
  45. 45. Isn’t this inefficient?http://www.flickr.com/photos/photojonny/2268845904/
  46. 46. NO, it reduces risk & waste!Not pulling = risk of No WIP Limits = starting something cost of waiting + that doesn’t match risk of getting expectations obsolete
  47. 47. Things willget stuck,we can’tkeep WIPlimits! http://www.flickr.com/photos/40358860@N04/4250860618/
  48. 48. “Our testers can never keepup the pace of ourdevelopers.Developers would be idle forhalf of the time!”
  49. 49. Remember:Kanban doesn’t focus onmaximizing utilization ofpeople
  50. 50. End to end flow efficiencyhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/serdar/125457544/
  51. 51. WIP limits will always cause bottlenecksThat’s a good thing!It drives continuous improvement towards end to end efficiency
  52. 52. Being idle due to uneven flow distribution drives people crazy! http://www.flickr.com/photos/annayanev/3491617954/
  53. 53. Ex. 1 - Requirements
  54. 54. Ex. 2 - Defects
  55. 55. Ex. 3 - Deployment
  56. 56. Ex. 4 - Emergencies
  57. 57. Ex. 4 - Emergencies
  58. 58. Collaboration
  59. 59. Stakeholdersdon’t careabout feedingthe flow http://www.flickr.com/photos/40358860@N04/4250860618/
  60. 60. Prioritization doesn’t have tobe on task level
  61. 61. Clear rules makeprioritization easier• What is the type of feature? (new, bug, enhancement, ...)• What is the business value?• What is the cost of delay and which type?• Any dependencies on other features?• …
  62. 62. it forces stakeholders to do their homework! http://www.flickr.com/photos/cayusa/2194119780/
  63. 63. building an MVP Stakeholders care about Return on Investmenthttp://www.flickr.com/photos/59937401@N07/5929491095/
  64. 64. Stakeholder collaboration
  65. 65. focus on economic decisions instead of fighting for capacityhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/jpeepz/6236688/
  66. 66. Expectationmanagement
  67. 67. we willloseteam cohesion http://www.flickr.com/photos/40358860@N04/4250860618/
  68. 68. Won’t the team turn into factory workers?http://www.flickr.com/photos/psit/5207166416/
  69. 69. WIP limits lead tocross-boundarycommunication
  70. 70. Good teams have acommon goal http://www.flickr.com/photos/atomicshed/161716498/
  71. 71. Vertical organizedcompanies lead to teamswith conflicting goalsThat’s why cross-departmental functionswere created
  72. 72. in Kanban, everybody contributes to the end 2 end processhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/saamiam/4203685689/
  73. 73. this is a powerful changemanagement approach• no theoretical frameworks• no new job descriptions• only some basic rules
  74. 74. What about creative thinking?http://www.flickr.com/photos/photojonny/2268845904/
  75. 75. The focus on improvingflow stimulates creativity• Team will start to investigate• Limit back-cycles• Lead & Cycle time measuring stimulates close collaboration
  76. 76. Will it cause a death march?http://www.flickr.com/photos/photojonny/2268845904/
  77. 77. Measurements are used tounderstand reality& have a base for improvement http://www.flickr.com/photos/usnavy/6083504722/
  78. 78. Not pushing to go faster but improving end 2 endhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/rwp-roger/3854246685/
  79. 79. Now you have a response!1. We lose our ability to plan2. It will take longer3. Things will get stuck4. Stakeholders don’t care about feeding the flow5. We will lose team cohesion
  80. 80. Thanks!@NickOostvogelswww.SkyCoach.be