Looking at Kanban

Today, Agile and Scrum are mainstream, and here at ScrumDo we’ve built a business out of providing one of the leading Scrum tools on the market since 2010.

In the last couple of years, Kanban has been rapidly growing in the agile software development community. If you’ve been hearing about Kanban, you might have a lot of questions — What is Kanban? How does it compare to Scrum? Is it one or the other? Can you have both? If so, how? Here at ScrumDo, we want to help you figure out answers to those questions and this blog post is the first step.

Let’s look at a brief description of Scrum, first.

Scrum, simplistically described, encourages a divide and conquer approach.

Scrum prescribes dividing:

  • Into smaller teams to help improve collaboration.
  • Work to be done into epics and stories that can be independently tested to add incremental value.
  • Time into iterations to manage scope creep and planning.

Scrum encourages feedback loops in retrospectives.

In teams that have buy in from leadership, business, and IT Scrum continues to prove to be successful in companies across the globe. Our commitment to providing a great Scrum tool will continue.

And a look at the Kanban method

Kanban is a lean change management method that can be applied to Scrum for any organization. “The Kanban method” includes “kanban” (lower case k) as a mechanism to manage the flow of value in projects. It encourages a systems-view of work, process, and teams. The Kanban method encourages a service oriented way of thinking and promotes sustainable change.

The core practices of Kanban are:

  • Visualize your workflow
  • Limit work-in-progress
  • Manage and optimize flow
  • Make process policies explicit
  • Implement feedback mechanisms
  • Improve collaboratively, evolve experimentally (using models & the scientific method)

Kanban principles can be applied to the Scrum Process to pragmatically evolve it. It can evolve to a form where the the traditional iteration or time-box of a scrum is replaced by continuous flow. As we will explain in future blog articles this does not always have to be. Teams that practices Kanban and Scrum may have time-boxes or may not. Projects in scrumdo can be created as or converted to flow based projects.

Continuous Flow Projects in ScrumDo

For the past couple months, we’ve been working on adding the ability to create a Kanban application to Scrum projects within ScrumDo that can support mature teams that practice continuos flow. Some of the big changes include:

  • Options to choose time-boxed(iterations) projects or continous flow projects
  • Ability to completely customize your workflow, and have more than one in a project
  • Completely configurable visual board
  • Brand new ways to report on the work done
  • Support for several types of policies including WIP, points based WIP and story/card age
  • Personal Kanban
  • Advanced metrics

Here are a couple screenshots to give you an idea of what we’re working on.

This one is of an example board. It shows off some of the new features like being able to place cells anywhere, some WIP limit displays, and the ability to track multiple workflows. Kanban Board

This screenshot shows two of the reports that we’ll be releasing with initially, a lead time histogram, and a cumulative flow diagram. The really exciting thing about both of these are all of the ways you can slice & dice your data via the report options to see exactly what you want to. We’ll have some blog posts dedicated to just that in the future. Kanban Reports

As part of all of this, we’re also working on some big improvements to some areas that will affect both Iteration based and Iterations-less projects on ScrumDo. Things like live-updates of the boards, and better high level planning tools. Watch for those in upcoming months.

Accredited Kanban training classes in partnership with Code Genesys/DJAA and Lean Kanban University

To help organizations decide if, and how, to adopt Kanban principles and techniques to an process context, we’ve partnered with codegenesys.com to offer classes(codegenesys.com/events) to organizations interested in accredited training. Stay tuned here, or send us an email sales@codegenesys.com and we’ll add you to our list for more info.