Experimenting with Kanban: introduction

Today I’ll start a series of posts describing my recent experiments with Kanban System for Software Development (a.k.a. Kanban). In this first post I’ll describe our context, the core concepts of Kanban that we implemented, the steps that we took to implement those concepts and our conclusion until now.

Our context

We have to maintain and evolve systems that are already in production, which means that we need to deliver new features and fix bugs. The team was doing a ScrumBut: planning sprints but with a lot of interruptions and distractions during their execution, which caused most sprints to end with stories not done.

Core concepts of Kanban

We created a visual board representing our workflow, we are measuring and optimizing our cycle time weekly, we have limited our WIP for each state and we have explicit policies that describe the rules for each state transition.

How we started

The first step was a training session explaining the core concepts of Kanban to our team, that I did it myself. After that, the entire team participated in the creation of our visual board: defining our states, our WIP limits and policies. Then we populated the board with all the stories and tasks that the team was working at that time and scheduled our daily meetings and monthly retrospectives. After that, things went very smoothly, with the team reviewing and improving our states, limits and policies always targeting at shortening our cycle time. They even decided to print our cycle time history every week, so that they can keep track and improve it constantly. We are using JIRA to help us measure our cycle time: we have our stories both in JIRA and on the board, while the tasks are only on the board.

Conclusion

The team is delivering much more than they were with the ScrumBut implementation and they are feeling much more happy now, because they are being able to see their improvement through the cycle time history graph and also because now they know what each one is doing and being able to help each other more efficiently.

In my next posts I will describe the obstacles that we have already overcome and more details of our Kanban implementation. I’d also like to hear about your experiments! Are you trying Kanban, too?
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2 Responses to “Experimenting with Kanban: introduction”

  1. Rodrigo Paiva Says:

    As a member of the mentioned team, I state that the Kanban System has really helped us to improve our work pace 🙂

  2. Agile Scout Says:

    Sweet. Like to see how it goes…

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