Does it seem like your dev team is bogged down in process and can't get the ball across the goal line? If you're looking to streamline the development pipeline, Kanban—quickly becoming a standard tool in the agile toolbox—can help you. This first in our "ALM Wednesdays" series of Jump Starts goes in depth to show you how Kanban is much more than a board with columns and stickies. Steven Borg and Cheryl Hammond show you, in very practical ways, how to move beyond boards to see how Kanban can help focus your teams on the flow of value to your customers, help you identify and remove bottlenecks in your development pipeline, and most importantly, shift your organizational culture toward creative problem-solving at all levels.
Instructor | Steven Borg - Northwest Cadence - Co-Founder and Strategist; Cheryl M. Hammond - Northwest Cadence - ALM Consultant and Practices Team Lead
Kanban is a tool, not an end in itself. If you’re choosing it because it seems kinder and gentler than other types of process change, you’re either going to be disappointed or unpleasantly surprised. Before we start, we’ll talk about what you’re really getting yourself into and what you need to be ready for: a major cultural transformation that won’t be easy but will be worth it.
Kanban starts where you are, not where you want to be, and not where you wish you were. Visualizing your process and making policies explicit are the tools Kanban uses to elicit that starting point. How do you build a board that surfaces the really difficult truths?
How do you interpret what your board is telling you? You have to figure out where your impediments are, and they usually aren’t where you thought they’d be. Learn how to spot the elephants on your board—obvious, common, critical dysfunctions that no one wants to see.
Limiting work in process sounds harmless until you start trying: you and everybody else will immediately want to raise it again. It’s a key Kanban practice to get you looking for, and embracing, the pains in your process—so you can solve them the right way.
Kanban calls for continuous, incremental improvement, which might mean small progressive fixes, or planting seeds for a longer-term effort, or both. Learn how to weigh the tradeoffs and prioritize without getting bogged down.
Take ownership of your process, and try something to make it better. How will you know whether your change helped? How quickly can you find out? If it didn’t help, what now?
Kanban doesn’t prescribe methods or practices, but you need a well-informed and really robust toolbox to tackle your impediments. We share a bunch of our ideas, but more importantly, we help you inspire your team to come up with its own solutions.
Explore what your world looks like when you have a Kanban/Kaizen culture, and how to keep it going after you’ve started.
Please peruse this section for additional information that supports this Jump Start event. This is an opportunity for you to dive deeper into using Kanban at your own pace.
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