Kanban for skeptics

Clear answers to Kanban in software development

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  • Book language: English

About the Book

In my daily job as a change agent, I constantly need to reassure people that the path we follow is worthwhile traveling.  
This need is often expressed in the form of critique and difficult questions. When I coach Agile teams, this is often the case.
The same thing happens when introducing Kanban.

However, I noticed that Kanban raises much harder questions on a management and leadership level, once people are introduced to the basics and start to explore the subject on their own. The type of questions Kanban raises, seem to be hard to answer without lapsing into an hour long discussion.
I guess this is normal because Kanban is much less prescriptive than Scrum, for instance.
In order to provide reassurance, as a coach, you need to trace the questions all the way back to the principles of Kanban, which are grounded in Lean thinking.

By listing the 5 most common arguments against Kanban and my response to them, I hope to help people in their Kanban journey and build great organizations that create amazing products.
These answers are based on my own perspective and experience. It would be great to hear your answers and improve the book while more people are introduced to Kanban.
The goal is not to explain Kanban scientifically, but provide insights why these arguments don't stand, in a language that is understandable by all.

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About the Author

Nick Oostvogels is an independent consultant who has worked at different companies in various industries. He helps organizations to deliver successful projects in whatever role necessary, often as a project manager or coach. He is a proud father of a daughter and twin boys, and enjoys outdoor sports such as mountain bike, running, soccer and drinking a Duvel afterwards. Nick is a regular blogger at skycoach.be and enjoys speaking and learning at conferences.

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Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • 1 What is Kanban?
  • 2 We lose our ability to plan
  • 2.1 Release planning
  • 2.2 Re-planning
  • 2.3 Summary
  • 3 It will take longer
  • 3.1 Parkinson’s law
  • 3.2 A healthy balance in Kanban
  • 3.3 Theory of constraints for process improvement
  • 3.4 Flow
  • 3.5 One continuous sprint
  • 3.6 Summary
  • 4 Things will get stuck, we can’t keep WIP limits
  • 4.1 End to end flow efficiency
  • 4.2 WIP limits will always cause bottlenecks
  • 4.3 Collaboration - daily stand-up
  • 4.4 Summary
  • 5 Stakeholders don’t care about feeding the flow
  • 5.1 Ordering triggers business value
  • 5.2 Building an MVP
  • 5.3 Stakeholder collaboration
  • 5.4 Expectation management
  • 5.5 Summary
  • 6 We will lose team cohesion
  • 6.1 Tearing down walls
  • 6.2 Finding a bigger purpose
  • 6.3 Creative thinking
  • 6.4 Participatory decision making
  • 6.5 Achievable goals
  • 6.6 Summary
  • 7 Summary
  • 8 Extras
  • 9 Software development is not manufacturing
  • 9.1 Support teams
  • 9.2 Development teams
  • 9.3 Summary
  • 10 Bibliography

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