After having presented the Tupalo.com Kanban Story at a couple of events and conferences, I would like to share some of our findings and experiences in a few blog posts. Each post will cover a different Kanban topic that has been of interest in discussions after the talks I have held on our Kanban implementation.
There are already a lot of blog posts on the web giving useful tips on how to start with Kanban. Like others, we choose a very simple approach. We took the time to do some in-depth research on the topic and then we gave it a try. As a starting point and summary, have a look at the Kanban principles and practices that David J. Anderson put together in his book Kanban, Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business.
The three core principles are:
1. Start with what you do now
2. Agree to pursue incremental, evolutionary change
3. Respect the current process, roles, responsibilities & titles
The five practices are:
1. Visualize the workflow
2. Limit WIP
3. Manage Flow
4. Make Process Policies Explicit
5. Improve Collaboratively (using models & the scientific method)
So what did we do? Well, we…
- started with what we had in place and kept all the roles and responsibilities
- created a physical Kanban board and visualized our process
- added WIP limits for each workflow step
- defined policies for our Kanban system
- introduced daily stand-up meetings to keep the whole team updated on our progress and issues
And then – we let it evolve from there…
But wait a minute – why did we start in the first place? Well, that is also quite an easy question to answer. At the time we had the feeling that we were working on too many projects at the same time; needless to say that this resulted in a low throughput. Also, priorities were not always clear to us, and when the respective stakeholder was not at the office, the team sometimes did not know which task to start next.
With our Kanban system we were able to pretty much overcome those as well as other issues, leading to improvements and a smooth flow.
Coming up next: Visualization and Kanban Board Design