Push vs. Pull a cultural challenge Stefan Roock, email@example.com, @StefanRoock
Push vs. Pull a cultural challenge Or: Can we build a Kanban board from an english breakfast? Stefan Roock, it-agile firstname.lastname@example.org, @StefanRoockOr: Can we build a Kanban board from an english breakfast? I will answer this question at theend of this presentation.
„The motivation for pursuing a pull- system was [...] to find a systematic way to achieve a sustainable pace of work [...]“ David Anderson in „Kanban“David Anderson writes in his Kanban book: „The motivation for pursuing a pull-system was [...]to ﬁnd a systematic way to achieve a sustainable pace of work [...]“
Lead Dev. Dev Team TesterI‘ d like to start with a little story that happened some years ago at on of my clients. They hadestablished a distributed team. The lead developer and the testers were located in Germany.The other 8 developers were from an outsourcing partner located in the Ukraine.
Solution Ready for Input Dev. Test ... Proposed Dev.Here is the design of the Kanban board. Someone in Germany would ﬁll the „Prioritized“column with new tickets. The Ukranian developers would propose a solution and move theticket to „Solution Proposed“.
Solution Ready for Input Dev. Test ... Proposed Dev.The solution proposed by the Ukranian development team would be checked by the leaddeveloper in Germany. After the solution was approved the lead developer would move theticket to „Ready for Development“.
Solution Ready for Input Dev. Test ... Proposed Dev.Then the Ukrainian developers would implement the solution and then the testers in Germanywould test it.
Lead Dev. Coach -> Lead Dev.Shortly after we started using Kanban the lead developer became ill. The client asked me if Icould substitute him for some days. I had a rought idea about what I would have to do and Isaid yes. And in the end what evil things could possibly happen?
So I started looking at the ﬁrst ticket in the „Solution Proposed“ column. I recognized veryquickly that I had no clue how to ﬁnd out if the proposed solution was suitable.
While I tried to ﬁgure out how to check the proposed solution I recognized tickets moving alongthe Kanban board - we used Google Docs for the board and so I saw all the movements in realtime.
Solution Ready for Dev. Test Input Proposed Dev. ... (8) (8) (4) (6)The columns after me started to drain while the WiP limit of the column before me was alreadyexhausted. Then I realized: I work far to slowly to supply the developers and testers with newwork. Latest tomorrow they would run out of work. And it would be my fault!
Therefore I worked overhours to keep the development engine running. That worked for ashort time but deﬁnitely wouldn‘t be a sustainable solution.
So we had installed a Kanban system with pull mechanics but it didn‘t feel like pull for me. Forme it felt more like push. The demand for work of the developers dictated me how much Iwould have to do.
It is clear that the problem wasn‘t the pull system but my behaviour. I shouldn‘t have workedoverhours. Instead we should have discussed the bottleneck situation with the whole team toﬁnd a sustainable solution.
Why didn‘t we do that? I think the reason was that we didn‘t established a collaborative culturebetween Germany and the Ukraine.
„Culture eats strategy for breakfast!“ Peter DruckerThe learning here is that pull mechanics are not sufﬁcient to reach pull goals like sustainablepace. The pull mechanics have to be complemented with a cultural change. Or as PeterDrucker states it: „Culture eats strategy for breakfast!“
Solution Ready Dev. Input Proposed for Dev. (8) (4) (6) „Culture eats strategy for breakfast!“ Peter DruckerAnd here is the proof. You can build a Kanban board from an english breakfast. You don‘t evenneed the eggs.
Push or Pull? You have 8 How long hours! do you need to ﬁx it? At least 20 hours. That looks really bad! OK, I will do it in 4 hours!Let‘s look at another example from Star Treck. Please read the conversation. ... Is this a pushor a pull situation?
Push or Pull? You have 8 How long hours! do you need to ﬁx it? At least 20 hours. That looks really bad! OK, I will do it in 4 hours! It is not determined by the method. It is determined by the culture!In my optinion you simply can‘t tell if it is push or pull without looking behing the curtains. If it isreally pull or push is not only determined by the mechanics but also by the culture.