Agility Software

Agile Training, Coaching, and Consulting

4 items tagged "Kanban"

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Use the Right Tool for the Job

Category: Blog
Created on Tuesday, 17 May 2016 10:42

When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail!

Huh? I don’t know; it’s something my father always said.

I think he meant that if you don’t have the right tool for the job, you’ll use the tool you have. And if it’s the wrong tool, the job will suffer.

What is Kanban?

Category: FAQs
Created on Monday, 30 November 2015 18:39

Kanban is an agile technique to maximize throughput in complicated processes.

Originating  in the mid-20th century at Toyota, Kanban has been adapted to a variety of processes that require coordination across multiple work centers. It is a "pull system"; that is, downstream work centers "pull" work from upstream work centers when they have the capacity to do so. This approach is driven by demand, ultimately by the customer. And, it allows teams to identify bottlenecks in the process and work to improve throughput.

Kanban means "signboard" in Japanese. In manufacturing, signs (or cards) were literally used to identify when additional upstream work-in-process should be pulled into a work center.

Kanban only requires two things:

  1. Make the work flow visible to everyone, and
  2. Establish work-in-process (WIP) limits for each work center.

The visible work flow (also known as "information radiators" or just "big visible signs") is often posted as a chart of work flow, each work center shown left-to-right in the sequence of work. Modern Kanban systems often use computer software tools to maintain the Kanban information.

WIP limits are a critical attribute of Kanban. First, they help avoid multi-tasking; having workers work on too many things at once. Ideally, team members should work on one item to completion before starting another. This minimizes the waste and inefficiency of context switching between work items.

But WIP limits also help identify bottlenecks. Work centers may not pull work if they are currently at their WIP limit. The WIP limit counts all work items in the work center, even if they're "done" and ready for the next work center in the process. If the next work center is unable to pull the completed work, there is a bottleneck somewhere in the system. All team members should break through the bottleneck and find ways to remove it from limiting throughput in the future.

In addition to the two required attributes of Kanban listed above, many teams add additional features to enhance the value they get from it. A partial list of optional techniques in Kanban:

  • Prioritize incoming work so that the most important work is done first.
  • An "urgent lane" to expedite critical work.
  • Working in fixed-time iterations to drive evaluation of product and process.

While this is an incredibly simplified description of Kanban, it provides the essential elements in any successful Kanban implementation.

Agility Jump-Start Program

Category: Agility Jump-Start
Created on Tuesday, 03 September 2013 19:32

One of the top reasons people say their agile projects fail is that they don't have enough experience with agile! Training is important—developers need to learn agile skills—but it's not enough.

If you're adopting agile practices, you'll need training and you'll need experienced help.

Agility Software offers the cost-effective Agility Jump-Start Program. For the price of just training all your agile team members, you also get expert in-person help from Agility Software experts. And the program is scalable from one project team to a whole product line or multiple departments. (To achieve enterprise-wide agility, see our Agility Path™ Program.)

The Agility Jump-Start Program consists of four elements:

1. We'll train the developers, Product Owners, and Scrum Masters for your agile team. They'll get the latest generation of training from by licensed Professional Scrum Trainers. This is not abbreviated training; they'll get the entire course for every participant including the opportunity to achieve certification for Professional Scrum Master or Professional Product Owner.* If you need Kanban to manage complicated processes, we'll train you in that too!

2. We'll coach you through your project startup including identifying key Scrum roles and holding workshops to develop your initial Product Backlog. For Kanban, we'll help you with Value Stream Mapping and setting up your initial Kanban board.

3. We'll coach you through Product Backlog estimation, release planning (if needed), and your first Sprint Planning. During your first Sprint, we're available to help you work through the initial learning experience of actually doing Scrum!

4. Finally, we'll coach you through your first Sprint Review and Sprint Retrospective. We'll show you the best ways to review your product and to evaluate your processes to be on your path to continuous improvement and agile adoption.

For the cost of just training a typical Scrum team, you can get the Agility Jump-Start Program for the same price! Yes, for just the price to train your people, you get professional expertise, guiding you through every step of the way. And the Agility Jump-Start Program is offered for multiple teams, departments and organizations as well.

Contact us today for more information. We'll answer your questions and help you adopt agile practices right away.


* Professional Scrum Developer training and certification are also available as an Agility Jump-Start Program add-on.

About Us

Category: About Us
Created on Wednesday, 18 July 2012 19:05


Agility Software was founded by Mark Noneman. He has been a Scrum and Lean practitioner since 2002 applying, adapting, teaching and coaching agile and lean development in a wide variety of software and non-software projects. The most rewarding part? Helping teams succeed at becoming self-organizing and delivering higher quality more quickly than they have ever experienced before!
Mark specializes in teaching, coaching and consulting for the adoption of Scrum, Kanban, the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), Nexis, and other agile and lean techniques. He has worked with a wide variety of industries including “shrink-wrap” software, IT organizations, and contract development in many industries, particularly electronic design automation, enterprise software, e-commerce, and defense.
Contact Mark now to start taking advantage of agile today!
Professional Scrum Expert
Professional Scrum Trainer
 Certified SAFe® Program Consultant