Category: Lean


Why Kanban for software engineering matters

Donald, the CEO, sat staring at the phone. He just got off the phone with one of the customers. The project team had missed the delivery for the third time. And this was not the only project that was in trouble. “This is crazy. What”, he thought, “were we doing wrong? Why can’t we seem to get our act together and deliver projects to the plan? We should plan better. I better find Smith and find out what’s going on.”


Kanban, process design and unintended consequences

A few years ago we embarked on developing a complex data acquisition solution to solve a business problem. Fast forward to successful project completion. On being complimented, one of the lead developers on the project said, “What we deployed was exceedingly simple. It wasn’t rocket science”. I was reminded of Goldratt’s statement, “… the key to problem solving is to accept that any real life situation, no matter how complex it initially looks, is actually, once understood, embarrassingly simple!” How true.


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

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?

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