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Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business

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Reviews Anyone who is serious about coaching Kanban as a method for organizational change should read this book. It will allow you to avoid some likely pitfalls and it will guide you to asking, yourself and your clients, the right questions. Though many people focus on the visualization techniques in Kanban the true value only emerges when you, as a kanban system manager, Reviews Anyone who is serious about coaching Kanban as a method for organizational change should read this book. It will allow you to avoid some likely pitfalls and it will guide you to asking, yourself and your clients, the right questions. Though many people focus on the visualization techniques in Kanban the true value only emerges when you, as a kanban system manager, are apt at noticing the anti-patterns that occur on the kanban board and are able to take appropriate actions. David generously shares his vast experience in this field, with plenty real case scenarios, to the benefit of the reader. After reading this book I toyed with the idea: Would I've changed my approach to coaching my previous clients, in their adoption of agile values and practices, had I read this at the time? Well, I certainly would have, for all of them, and I'm sure it would have meant a smoother change process for the agilely challenged organizations. David provides a comprehensive guide to implementing Kanban in a software development/maintenance environment. Covering the mechanics, dynamics, principles and rationale behind why Kanban is a so promising framework for managing the work of a variety of teams and groups and being an evolutionary-based change management driver. Kanban is the practical approach to implement Lean Software Development, and this book is the practical guide for how to start using Kanban, and how to adapt the system for advanced needs. The book is clear and flowing, even though it covers some quite technical material. I would recommend it to Development managers, Project/Program managers, Agile Coaches/Consultants. It addresses concerns/needs of Novice as well as those already familiar with Kanban and looking for advanced answers. Even if you don't intend to implement a kanban system, there are a lot of techniques and ideas that are easily applicable to any product development/maintenance environment, agile or not. Bottom line, highly recommended.


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Reviews Anyone who is serious about coaching Kanban as a method for organizational change should read this book. It will allow you to avoid some likely pitfalls and it will guide you to asking, yourself and your clients, the right questions. Though many people focus on the visualization techniques in Kanban the true value only emerges when you, as a kanban system manager, Reviews Anyone who is serious about coaching Kanban as a method for organizational change should read this book. It will allow you to avoid some likely pitfalls and it will guide you to asking, yourself and your clients, the right questions. Though many people focus on the visualization techniques in Kanban the true value only emerges when you, as a kanban system manager, are apt at noticing the anti-patterns that occur on the kanban board and are able to take appropriate actions. David generously shares his vast experience in this field, with plenty real case scenarios, to the benefit of the reader. After reading this book I toyed with the idea: Would I've changed my approach to coaching my previous clients, in their adoption of agile values and practices, had I read this at the time? Well, I certainly would have, for all of them, and I'm sure it would have meant a smoother change process for the agilely challenged organizations. David provides a comprehensive guide to implementing Kanban in a software development/maintenance environment. Covering the mechanics, dynamics, principles and rationale behind why Kanban is a so promising framework for managing the work of a variety of teams and groups and being an evolutionary-based change management driver. Kanban is the practical approach to implement Lean Software Development, and this book is the practical guide for how to start using Kanban, and how to adapt the system for advanced needs. The book is clear and flowing, even though it covers some quite technical material. I would recommend it to Development managers, Project/Program managers, Agile Coaches/Consultants. It addresses concerns/needs of Novice as well as those already familiar with Kanban and looking for advanced answers. Even if you don't intend to implement a kanban system, there are a lot of techniques and ideas that are easily applicable to any product development/maintenance environment, agile or not. Bottom line, highly recommended.

30 review for Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business

  1. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    This is a game changer. Agile is a culture, and it has frameworks such as XP, Crystal, and Scrum that are superb at handling software development projects with a clearly defined goal. But they are not so good at handling support and maintenance work - the stream of random sized bits and pieces. What do you do if that's a major portion of your day-to-day work? David Anderson has laid out his experience in how to use a very different approach to make workloads visible, limit what's in progress to ex This is a game changer. Agile is a culture, and it has frameworks such as XP, Crystal, and Scrum that are superb at handling software development projects with a clearly defined goal. But they are not so good at handling support and maintenance work - the stream of random sized bits and pieces. What do you do if that's a major portion of your day-to-day work? David Anderson has laid out his experience in how to use a very different approach to make workloads visible, limit what's in progress to expose bottlenecks, focus on improving quality, reducing waste, improving predictability, and increasing trust with stakeholders and overall organizational maturity. It's a dense book there's lots of goodness packed into it. It's also the first (certainly that I've read) that's shown how Kanban can be a complete approach to all software work. I very strongly recommend this book. It's a permanent reference on my desk now, and I'm helping a shop of about 50 developers move from Waterfall/cowboy to agile in the face of almost no agreement - their a stodgy lot! But by using Kanban, it's working, and we're seeing improvements and buy-in as people realize the benefits of not being hated by their stakeholders and actually getting home on time!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Robert Church

    Hi. I'm a software developer. I've been writing software professionally for more than 15 years now. One of my favorite books about the practice of software development for business is Extreme Programming Explained by Kent Beck , which refreshingly upended a lot of conventional wisdom about software development, focusing effort on activities that add value for customers. In the intervening years, many of the practices promoted in that book have become commonplace, mostly notably test driven devel Hi. I'm a software developer. I've been writing software professionally for more than 15 years now. One of my favorite books about the practice of software development for business is Extreme Programming Explained by Kent Beck , which refreshingly upended a lot of conventional wisdom about software development, focusing effort on activities that add value for customers. In the intervening years, many of the practices promoted in that book have become commonplace, mostly notably test driven development. Extreme Programming itself never really got much traction, but many of its ideas were taken up by a family of practices more generally known as "agile". "Agile" itself remains somewhat controversial while also becoming so general that it's not quite clear what it means anymore. Scrum, the most popular flavour of agile, took a lot of the extreme programming practices for organizing teams and placed emphasis on commitment. Scrum-style sprints are commonplace. You guys all know this stuff though. I don't know why I'm even typing it! So, this is the environment that produced Kanban, which is a fusion of agile methods and lean management principles. The last place I worked used some Scrum, but honestly, most of the management wasn't really up-to-speed on the finer points of Scrum and tended to rely on experience and organizational inertia to set policies, so it's hard to say that what we were doing was Scrum. Compared to that environment, however, I see a lot to like in Kanban. A basic principle of Kanban is that work-in-progress is limited to a fixed number of items, in order to reduce complexity and increase the predictability of delivery and therefore shorten lead times. One of the effects of this is to highlight bottlenecks, as it is plain to everyone exactly where in the process work is piling up. Then, idle resources (that is, people) can change processes to help work to move through the bottleneck more quickly. This Kanban book takes extremely high quality as measured in defects and test coverage as something of a given and focuses on work exactly one level up from there. It is assume that the dev. team knows how to do their work, but that they are in danger of being tasked with too much unimportant work. The author discusses what happens on teams very little, and devotes a lot of space to how work is prioritized between different groups within an organization. Talking about all of this with a helpful colleague recently, he pointed out that all of these methodologies require organizations to have discipline. Managers from top-to-bottom have to be able to make plans and follow through on them, and tirelessly ensure that their efforts align with customer needs. If you can do that, you will be able to implement any of the agile methodologies with success. Without it, you can't implement anything. I can see how something like Kanban can be used to gradually increase trust and communication in an organization until that kind of discipline is achieved, but I've never ever seen this actually happen. Does it ever happen? I don't mean any of this to be negative, though. There's a lot to like in Kanban. Anderson dispenses with estimation of tasks by and large, replacing it with statistical averages. For a given team, he says, a development task will take between n and m days p percent of the time, e.g., from 1 to 3 days 90% of the time, which is really all the information a management team needs for planning if lead times are short enough. Anderson also eliminates iterations or sprints, which made sense when integration and deployment and planning of the next unit of work were expensive activities. Decoupling deployment from features completion and planning enables a continuous development cadence. Anderson also emphasizes trust instead of commitment. A great deal of the success of a Kanban team seems to stem from the ability of the team to self-organize based on the visualization of the flow of work and the policies. Separating Kanban the methodology from the book for a moment, well, I think there will be a much better, more approachable book about Kanban sometime in the future, but whoever writes it will probably call the methodology something else in order to control their own brand. That is what I predict.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Erik

    I could feel my brain getting bigger while I read this book. I agree with the author when he claims that Kanban is the first real major innovation in Agile Software Development in 10 years. This book gave me enough new ideas that I can't wait to get back to work to implement them!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Michael Burnam-Fink

    A lot of management practices seem somehow oppressive and cultish. TPS reports, Six Sigma, Lean, Agile, and Scrum. I can't say much about those, but I really enjoyed a workshop on Kanban, and this book was in the bibliography. Kanban is Japanese for signal ticket. The Imperial Palace Garden has a box of tickets equal to the maximum number of visitors, and if there are no tickets, you must wait for someone leaving the park to drop theirs in the entrance. In management practice, Kanban is a pull-sy A lot of management practices seem somehow oppressive and cultish. TPS reports, Six Sigma, Lean, Agile, and Scrum. I can't say much about those, but I really enjoyed a workshop on Kanban, and this book was in the bibliography. Kanban is Japanese for signal ticket. The Imperial Palace Garden has a box of tickets equal to the maximum number of visitors, and if there are no tickets, you must wait for someone leaving the park to drop theirs in the entrance. In management practice, Kanban is a pull-system, where the effective throughput of an organization is estimated, and tasks are pulled from initialization to completion. A large whiteboard of tickets (or digital equivalent) serves to self-organize the workflow, identifying blockages, slacks, and bottlenecks, without hefty managerial overhead. Anderson describes several near miraculous management turnarounds he saw as part of major tech companies (Microsoft, Sprint), and a smaller stock photo company he was part of. Kanban, when properly implemented, increased the speed by which tasks where accomplished, decreased errors, improved moral, and created resilience and constant quality improvement. Kanban, and management by pull and flow, feels counter-intuitive at first, but I can sense a deep elegance to their logical principles. The problem with this book is, even after attending a Kanban workshop, and even inclined to be generous to the method, I'm not sure that I know enough to actually implement Kanban. Heck, I'm not even sure that I know enough to properly cargo-cult Kanban, aside from sticky notes on a whiteboard. I'm sure it's good management practice, I'm just not convinced this is the book to explain it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Khanh Cao

    Super cool! Instant application and one can see a major improvement in the process. The hard part is that the underlying principle is very broad and requires one to read multiple sources of books to understand. Would recommend to anyone in any field striving for an optimal work-life!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    A lot of the time, this felt like it was written by that experienced coworker who starts every offered solution with, " Well, when I was at Ginormosoft, we handled this by..." After a while, you find someone else to bounce things off of just to avoid the inevitable jaunt down memory lane. I liked some of the ideas presented, but the presentation was difficult to slog through. I don't know if it's because it seems like a simple system made too complex, or if I just don't understand the system eno A lot of the time, this felt like it was written by that experienced coworker who starts every offered solution with, " Well, when I was at Ginormosoft, we handled this by..." After a while, you find someone else to bounce things off of just to avoid the inevitable jaunt down memory lane. I liked some of the ideas presented, but the presentation was difficult to slog through. I don't know if it's because it seems like a simple system made too complex, or if I just don't understand the system enough to understand the complexities. Or maybe it's too wordy. Or maybe it says things like "...as is represented by a green ticket in figure 16-1" when figure 16-1 is a smattering of grey tickets. Or maybe it's the bar charts that use white, grey, black, looks like black, and probably is black. In any case, it seems like the author knows his stuff, but this book just wasn't for me.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Bill

    An excellent guide to implementing a kanban system for software delivery, with my preferred mix of theoretical background and practical lessons. Despite having a comic on the cover, this is a pretty serious book with an intended audience of individuals fairly experienced with project management. I read this having worked on a few projects that used kanban but had left me with the open question: how do you go from X to kanban? And this book provides sound answers to that question. Highly recommen An excellent guide to implementing a kanban system for software delivery, with my preferred mix of theoretical background and practical lessons. Despite having a comic on the cover, this is a pretty serious book with an intended audience of individuals fairly experienced with project management. I read this having worked on a few projects that used kanban but had left me with the open question: how do you go from X to kanban? And this book provides sound answers to that question. Highly recommended.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    "It'll take you an afternoon to read this," Matt said. Totally - if an afternoon = one year and three months. My beloved recommended this book on kanban, a change-management/work-flow system that originated at Toyota in Japan in the 1940s, because he's used it successfully in his IT career and thought we could bring it into my work to increase efficiency and alleviate stress. I like the kanban philosophy and enjoyed the real-life examples in this book, but the parts where the author delved deep "It'll take you an afternoon to read this," Matt said. Totally - if an afternoon = one year and three months. My beloved recommended this book on kanban, a change-management/work-flow system that originated at Toyota in Japan in the 1940s, because he's used it successfully in his IT career and thought we could bring it into my work to increase efficiency and alleviate stress. I like the kanban philosophy and enjoyed the real-life examples in this book, but the parts where the author delved deep into business/tech jargon had my eyes glazing over. It was good for me to read outside my comfort zone, though - doubly so because I read it on Matt's iPad and I'm usually anti-ebook for myself. And I learned a lot about Matt's work world and now understand more of his techie lingo, so that's another bonus. Unfortunately, I don't see my whole office adopting kanban, but I personally would like to implement some of its ideals and principles in my own work and leadership as an editor. My favorite is the Japanese concept of kaizen, or continuous improvement/optimization, and its inherent focus on collaboration and teamwork over the individual. I'd recommend this book to anyone who would self-identify as a businessperson.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Alex Sinclair

    This book certainly has value, and for maintenance makes perfect sense. Parts can be taken for software projects, but adopting it wholesale... I'm skeptical. The author also seems to misunderstand Agile, for example saying agile is not about quality, and uses Scrum and Agile interchangeably. My favourite part is the premise the book is written on that reducing lead-time improves quality, yet has a footnote near the end saying the author hopes this is shown to be true. It's definitely a book written This book certainly has value, and for maintenance makes perfect sense. Parts can be taken for software projects, but adopting it wholesale... I'm skeptical. The author also seems to misunderstand Agile, for example saying agile is not about quality, and uses Scrum and Agile interchangeably. My favourite part is the premise the book is written on that reducing lead-time improves quality, yet has a footnote near the end saying the author hopes this is shown to be true. It's definitely a book written for managers, and as a developer I prefer simpler, less faffy systems. All in all, I'm glad to have read it and will aim to adopt parts into my agile team's workflow, but I won't be adopting it wholesale.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Matt Diephouse

    I was disappointed in this book, but it did have some helpful information about Kanban, how it works, and what its goals are. My main complaint is that it doesn’t start with the why. Instead, it’s a meandering explanation of the how that’s occasionally accompanied by the why. Given the un-empirical nature of software development process books, this is s huge disappointment. Kanban seeks to establish predictability and agility in the software development process, above all else. Management and part I was disappointed in this book, but it did have some helpful information about Kanban, how it works, and what its goals are. My main complaint is that it doesn’t start with the why. Instead, it’s a meandering explanation of the how that’s occasionally accompanied by the why. Given the un-empirical nature of software development process books, this is s huge disappointment. Kanban seeks to establish predictability and agility in the software development process, above all else. Management and partners value predictability, so they are prioritized. By tracking items according to their type, limiting work in progress, and eschewing a backlog in favor of a queue, Kanban trades throughout for predictability.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Kern

    This is the only book that I have read about Kanban/kanban and it was a good one. Anderson does a great job at explaining all the kanban lingo and giving useful examples of how to implement and overcome common challenges. Most of the book was clear and explained things in a powerful way. There were quite a few times where I caught myself thinking, "oh...that's how that works." There were some parts of the book that got a bit dry and escaped my attention, but those were manageable. I look forward to This is the only book that I have read about Kanban/kanban and it was a good one. Anderson does a great job at explaining all the kanban lingo and giving useful examples of how to implement and overcome common challenges. Most of the book was clear and explained things in a powerful way. There were quite a few times where I caught myself thinking, "oh...that's how that works." There were some parts of the book that got a bit dry and escaped my attention, but those were manageable. I look forward to working with my team to implement his recipe: "The six steps in the recipe are 1. Focus on Quality 2. Reduce Work-in-Progress 3. Deliver Often 4. Balance Demand against Throughput 5. Prioritize 6. Attack Sources of Variability to Improve Predictability"

  12. 4 out of 5

    Wanja Krah

    After reading this book I must admit I long undervalued the value of Kanban. I've been in Scrum-teams for over 8 years now, but I will consider Kanban as a worthy, and probably sometimes better alternative. The book is very valuable in the sense that it contains loads of information that you will need when implementing Kanban. It may feel repetitive from time to time, but each time information is layered with extra info or told from a different point of view. However, to me, it still feels that i After reading this book I must admit I long undervalued the value of Kanban. I've been in Scrum-teams for over 8 years now, but I will consider Kanban as a worthy, and probably sometimes better alternative. The book is very valuable in the sense that it contains loads of information that you will need when implementing Kanban. It may feel repetitive from time to time, but each time information is layered with extra info or told from a different point of view. However, to me, it still feels that if the information was structured different, it would have been easier to learn and remember all aspects of it. Nevertheless a book I can recommend to anyone working in the software business.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Abhi Yerra

    Kanban is super useful for interrupt driven tasks such as recurring business processes so I wanted to learn more and found this book helpful in understanding the theory of constraints and limited work in progress to achieve the needed outcome. However, the book is a bit wordy and I felt like I was flossing Ofer a lot of it. But I’d say still a good scan for info on how to implement Kanban in an existing organization.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ivan Ralchev

    The book is easy to read. Examples and stories turn abstractions into easy to understand ideas. It is definitely a worthwhile read for everyone, as it defines many points of improvement, applicable in any type of business. My takeaways: - proper and clear visualisation is the key; - keep it easy, do not rush it; - you need the support and understanding of your team to push an improvement.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Giedrius Kriščiukaitis

    As many of Agile practitioners one might think I am already familiar with the Kanban Board - this book opens even more doors to understand what happens beyond the Board and how the Kanban System works. A very extensive and detailed dive into the Kanban way of organizing things to get them done.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Núria Aloy

    Even though software development has evolved since 2010, when this book was written, Kanban is more relevant than ever, and this continues to be an essential read to understand where it comes from, as well as how and why it works. The most important book you'll find about the Kanban Method.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Karl

    Good resource This is a good resource for Kanban and effectively explained not only the basic mechanics but some of the reasons for making specific choices in introducing Kanban to a workplace. Generally well written, it did get a bit more abstract in the second half of the book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mario Lanza

    I love Kanban as it applies to knowledge work. Props to the author for making such a needed contribution to collaborating. The ideology speaks to my own philosophy and values. I knocked off a star because of the writing, structure and length. The ideas are gold.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rodolfo

    The book is good and it includes a lot of good information. I think you need to have good exposure to the method to follow the book. At the end, I felt it gave me a taste of deep concepts but not enough ground for me to implement them.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lavinia

    This books provides a good overview on Kanban and does shed light on the matter. However for very detailed implementation techniques, specific tips and tricks you would still need to browse the internet. As a first book on the subject I found it sufficient for the time being.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Si Jobling

    Comprehensive guide to the Kanban framework for delivery software. Plenty (long-winded) anecdotes to demonstrate how different theories have been applied in David's wisdom and experience. Thorough outline though with plenty to learn from, especially as a noob to the world of Kanban.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    My kindle never updated that I finished this book, so writing this review months later. It was an ok work-related book. It did a good job going through how one person had success at a few areas with Kanban, and it was nice to see how his groups used it successfully.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Pieter Aart

    Clear, precise and practical. Unbelievebly poorly designed and constant referral to colors in pictures that have been printed in B&W. Stil a great and applicable introduction.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Klaudia

    This is great for re-Reading and referencing when doing Kanban. It has been great to generate new improvement ideas.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Andrey

    Bored

  26. 4 out of 5

    Yang

    A comprehensive guid to Kanban.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Shawn

    The first part of the book was fantastic. But the second half was a bit if a slog. It probably should have been broken up into two books, a primer/introduction book, and an advanced/mature book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Chuck Cova

    A great guide to learning how to apply in the workplace...

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nathalie Karasek

    Good book. I especially liked chapter 11 and the last part of the book. Easy to read due to the narrative style and lot of examples.

  30. 5 out of 5

    coolwind

    A very comprehensive book on Kanban. I found it particularly helpful in the last few chapters on the practical issues and solutions.

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