Posted on August 17, 2013 by David Anderson

"What Kanban Needs is a _______ Solution!"

Over the last few years, I have been told on many occassions that Kanban needs to add specific guidance for: requirements definition and work breakdown; holding conversations; software architecture; holding meetings about improvements; negotiation; and most recently a governance solution. Sometimes, this advice is couched with a condition such as "Kanban won't scale unless you add _____".

The natural reaction when challenged like this is to reply with, "Indeed! I'll get right on that!" or "We already have a solution to that. We teach it. I've presented it at conferences but I haven't written it in a book yet." The natural response is to want to make Kanban bigger.

I'm not going to do that! I'm not going to make Kanban bigger. In fact, I'm seeking to make it smaller and tighter. Here's why...

Posted on August 17, 2013 by David Anderson

The First-Rate Intelligence of Kanban Consultants & Trainers

It was F. Scott Fitzgerald, one of my favorite authors, who said, "the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function."

By Fitzgerald's definition, most Accredited Kanban Trainers and Kanban Coaching Professionals, exhibit first rate intelligence. Here is why we encourage this behavior...

Posted on August 16, 2013 by David Anderson

The #NoEstimates Beef! And Agile's Trojan Horse

Today I was inspired by a post to the Kanbandev Yahoo! group by Dan Brown from the UK. For those of you who don't know Dan, he's a very lovely man, a fabulous Kanban trainer and coach, and experienced practitioner of Agile software development methods. And particularly endearing to me, he started his career as an assembly language programmer, just like me, producing near defect free code, in hostile silicon environments, unlike the pansies with their protected memory spaces, 3rd generation languages, compilers, debuggers, and modern fancy IDEs with automated testing environments, static and dynamic code analysis and so many other belts, braces and protective screening devices designed to prevent bugs escaping into the wild. So we've established Dan is a good guy! :-)

Dan's Beef with the #NoEstimates Movement

Recently, Dan posted his thoughts on the growing #NoEstimates movement that is advocating dropping Agile estimation methods such as Planning Poker(tm) and Fibonacci Series sizing. Dan worries that despite the self-evident benefits of probabilistic forecasting, those moving to this so called "No Estimates" approach might be throwing the baby out with the bathwater. It's an argument I've heard before. Here is what Dan had to say...

Posted on August 09, 2013 by David Anderson

Why "doing things right" should lead "doing the right thing"

So another Agile Conference in North America is over. Once again, perhaps for the 7th year running, we've heard a number of leaders in the Agile community promoting the idea that you should focus on doing the right thing - discovering what customers really want and need - rather than focusing on building and deploying working software. The argument goes that there is no point in "doing the wrong thing faster." This sounds bite always makes the speaker sound very smart and it catches attention. It's also used to sell a variety of requirements solicitation and discovery techniques as well as various flavors of product management (or methods for product ownership to use arcane tribal Agile language.)

I deeply disagree with this and I have done since 2005 when I first heard it suggested by one of my fellow co-founders of the Agile Project Leadership Network. I truly believe that building capability to "do things right" must take the lead. Here is why...

Posted on August 02, 2013 by David Anderson

Kanban - an alternative path to agility

"Is Kanban an Agile Method?" is a perennial question that comes up in our training classes. It ought to be an irrelevant question. Who cares whether Kanban is Agile or not? It shouldn't matter. What should matter is whether Kanban helps business improve their capabilties and customer satisfaction? Whether Kanban improves the economic and sociological outcomes for those adopting it? The answer to these questions is irrefutably, "yes, it does" and there is lots of reported, empirical evidence, much of it documented in the archives of the Lean Kanban conferences over the past 4 years. So why should it matter whether is Kanban is Agile or not? Meanwhile, an assessment of the question doesn't result in a simple binary answer or "yes" or "no". The picture isn't black or white but answers come in various shades of grey. We prefer to position Kanban as "an alternative path to agility." Read on to learn why...