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VersionOne and LeanKit Kanban Announce Strategic Partnership

by David Bulkin on Aug 18, 2011 |

VersionOne and Leankit KanbanVersionOne, one of the largest providers of agile management tools, announced a strategic partnership with LeanKit to offer an integration that leverages LeanKit Kanban for team level execution, while using VersionOne functionality for enterprise agile management.

Agile task and story boards, both physical and electronic, were traditionally based on simple workflows, like the three stage workflow of ready, in progress (WIP or 'work in process' in kanban terms) and done. This is often effective for software development and maintenance. But teams today often benefit from variations, and more complex, workflows. A simplistic example is the inclusion of a verify step, creating ready, WIP, verify and done. Other teams add steps at the beginning of the workflow, such as prioritized, estimated and designed. The variations are dependent on the particulars needs of a team and often include further custiomizations with ready buffers, WIP limits, swim lanes, priority lanes and other mechanisms to visualize and manage flow.

Teams will now be able to create these workflows and customizations in LeanKit Kanban, while continuing to use VersionOne enterprise reporting, management of the hierarchical structure that breaks stories down, release planning, and other enterprise agile management functionality. The information will flow between the tools with VersionOne tracking backlog items that enter and exit the LeanKit Kanban workflow.

Paul Culling, Vice President of Alliances at VersionOne, explains the primary beneficiaries of the integration:

"Although VersionOne includes native support for basic kanban functionality with configurable boards, WIP limits and related reporting, the new integration will offer teams LeanKit's more sophisticated kanban support that includes swim lanes, class of service and advanced kanban specific analytics that more mature kanban/lean teams are looking for. "

In a discussion with Jon Terry, Chief Operating Officer at LeanKit, he further explained that teams will benefit from the LeanKit Kanban Cumulative Flow Diagrams, and other metrics such as cycle time (how long does it take to complete something that was started) that help identify bottlenecks and provide input for potential workflow changes.

In a discussion with Robert Holler, President and CEO of VersionOne, he explained that VersionOne thought carefully before choosing LeanKit. Paraphrasing Robert, VersionOne decided they wanted to integrate with the best of breed for those teams that require kanban support. In a separate discussion with Jon, he expressed a similar sentiment in respect to partnering with the best.

Jon also stated that LeanKit Kanban will continue to be sold standalone for software development and that it is gaining market share as a standalone product in non-software industries such as construction.

Please provide your thoughts on this integration, and the agile management space in general.

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