Transforming from waterfall to agile

Charan/ January 12, 2013/ Agile

Introducing agility into traditional systems development processes is never easy. Firstly, you have got to want to change. Secondly, you need to have a vision of what to change to. Finally, you need the tenacity to forge ahead in the face of stiff resistance. It is usually the third that is the most difficult journey to undertake. The hardest part

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You’ve got more capacity than you think

Charan/ May 11, 2012/ Agile

In the current era of economic uncertainty, there is no dearth of gloom and doom news. Europe, Asia, the Americas all have fallen like dominoes to the credit crisis of 2008. Austerity measures have been put in place in a number of countries. Economies are spiraling downward. There is talk of the breakup of the Eurozone with Greece being the

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Predict project failure using cumulative flow diagrams

Charan/ February 12, 2012/ Agile

One of the biggest challenges I face as a project manager is the ability to predict the project or program’s future. What impact would the change request have on the project? Are we going fast enough to meet the program deadlines? Are the team’s estimates good enough? Assuming the team will meet most of its estimates, what can we do

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Combining Critical Chain and Kanban to improve capacity

Charan/ November 6, 2011/ Agile

“I like it. Your idea of using the Kanban board to review deliverables and issues is awesome. And I really like your buffer chart. Now I can see if the project is in trouble before that happens.” These were the words from a customer. Music to my ears. It has been close to two years since I embarked on the

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How Kanban resolves the resource manager and project manager’s dilemma

Charan/ October 23, 2011/ Agile

The goal of the project manager is to complete the project on time, on budget and deliver to the scope. In order to accomplish this, the project manager creates a detailed schedule for each person on the project. In a matrix organization, the people are, however, answerable to the resource manager. The goal of the resource manager is to ensure

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Making Kanban work in matrix organizations

Charan/ October 10, 2011/ Agile

  “Having allocated developers to the project and ensuring that they knew what needed to be accomplished, I was feeling very good about the project. After all, we had commitments from the team. Over the next few days, however, I realized that the team was not able to work on my project at all. Other high priority work demanded their

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Importance of Kanban work-in-progress (WIP) limits

Charan/ January 16, 2011/ Agile

Traffic Jams! For some it is the bane of driving. Accidents, construction, reduced speed zones are all some of the root causes. But did you know of Phantom Traffic Jams? For no apparent reason the traffic slows to a crawl. No accidents or lane closures and there is no easy way out. Researchers have linked such phantom traffic jams to traffic density and variations in driver behavior. A trivial reason such as a driver braking too hard, can cause a phantom traffic jam 8 to 10 kms behind. And this traffic jam takes a life of its own. You could spend hours within that jam. So what does phantom traffic jams have to do with WIP limits on Kanban for software development?