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Todd Little on How Kanban Helps Organizations Improve

| Podcast with Todd Little Follow 0 Followers by Shane Hastie Follow 28 Followers on Oct 09, 2018 |

In this podcast Shane Hastie, Lead Editor for Culture & Methods, spoke to Todd Little, CEO of LeanKanban Inc about how organizations can use Kanban to identify bottlenecks and improve flow in their business processes.

Key Takeaways

  • Kanban is a more natural way of working for more experienced teams
  • Kanban tells you to start wherever you are at and make change incrementally
  • Only if you deeply understand your system can you deeply improve it
  • Kanban helps collaboration through allowing the team focus on where the work is and what we can do to get the work to flow through the system
  • Continuous improvement is the fundamental underlying idea of Kanban

Show Notes

  • 00:21 Introductions – Todd’s new role as CEO of LeanKanban Inc
  • 00:57 Todd’s background as a Chemical and Petroleum Engineer and writing software for oil and gas exploration
  • 01:27 The way people were telling him to build software didn’t work 
  • 01:37 Agile development made sense
  • 02:05 The agile community was sharing ideas and learning from each other
  • 02:19 The story of meeting Alistair Cockburn and getting involved with the Agile Development conference in 2003
  • 02:57 Why Kanban – the evolution from iterative to a more flow-oriented approach in experienced teams
  • 03:19 Kanban tells you to start wherever you are at and make change incrementally  
  • 03:28 Only if you deeply understand your system can you deeply improve it  
  • 03:41 Kanban provides people with the tools to understand and improve the system they work within
  • 04:14 The problems software engineering team leaders face are relatively well understood: react to business needs faster, be efficient in the work we do, be able to scale when needed, and be able to improve the way we do work, be more predictable with the work we do
  • 04:52 Rigorous up-front planning didn’t help us achieve these goals
  • 04:59 The underlying reason is that uncertainty is a fundamental aspect of software development and the uncertainty is not discoverable until the work is done
  • 05:07 Rather than fight the uncertainty, have an approach which embraces uncertainty and learns.  Agile development achieves this.
  • 05:14 Kanban embraces uncertainty and focuses on flow through the uncertainty
  • 05:29 Kanban helps collaboration through allowing the team focus on where the work is and what we can do to get work to flow through the system
  • 05:42 It is about bringing the people together to explore the system and making change incrementally to improve the flow
  • 05:52 Most frequently a bottle-neck in a system is happening because of some sort of failure to collaborate  
  • 06:12 Identification and collaboration is the way to shorten delays
  • 06:35 There is a lot of takeup of Kanban outside of IT 
  • 06:50 The ideas behind Kanban came from Lean for manufacturing and David Anderson’s work has extended that into the knowledge work domain
  • 07:08 There are many domains which have similar types of uncertainty to software development and Kanban is a good fit for those domains – for marketing, HR, legal, sales 
  • 07:34 It doesn’t help if you improve one part of the system and simply move the bottleneck – you have to address the whole system 
  • 07:44 The example of VistaPrint – they had a really good implementation of Kanban in IT and then Marketing became the bottleneck so they allied Kanban there too 
  • 08:08 Introducing the Kanban Maturity Model
  • 08:32 Visualization is a key element of Kanban but it is not the only thing
  • 08:50 Kanban includes tools to understand the system, design the system and improve the system
  • 09:09 If you try to go too deep in Kanban too fast it is likely not going to work 
  • 09:24 Continuous improvement is the fundamental underlying idea of Kanban
  • 09:24 Examples of tools that are part of the Kanban process

Mentioned

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