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Head First Agile: Kanban compared to other Process Frameworks and Project management methodologies

 
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I am curious to understand your thoughts on  Kanban and  If it can work with any agile methodologies when Kanban is a good choice.

For example, when selecting a project management or process framework from traditional, agile, or extreme project
management methodologies one might consider how known and repeatable the work is ( in terms of team experience and understanding
of requirements ).

Well understood low volatile requirements combined with team experience with repeatable process lends itself to traditional project
management techniques. On other hands, the higher level the requirements and the more unknown and new the work it, the more agile
methodologies like incremental and iterative tend to be recommended. And at the end of the spectrum in R&D environments,
extreme project management is said to fit the bill.

Where/how does Kanban fit in on the broader spectrum of Agile, why?

Thanks for any thoughts!

Regards
Sundar
 
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Kanban is an excellent choice. I learned a lot about Kanban when Jenny and I were writing Learning Agile. I'd used it for years, and I felt like I had a good handle on it. But then we got some really good feedback from David Anderson, who was really generous with his time in reviewing what we wrote and giving feedback. I had understood how it was used, but it turned out that I still had a bit to learn about its theoretical underpinnings. Long story short, Kanban is really, really worth delving into.

(BTW, for those of you who don't know, David Anderson is pretty much the guy when it comes to Kanban. He originally adapted it for use in software development, and he's done some really impressive work. His book, Kanban, is fantastic – I strongly recommend it. And if you get a chance, you should listen to this episode of the Software Engineering Radio podcast that features him.)

That said, Kanban is widely misunderstood. A lot of people think that it's a system for project management, like Scrum. It isn't. Kanban is a method for process improvement. It combines very well with Scrum, but you can use any process (or no "official" process!) as a starting point. The goal is to experimentally evolve your process by first understanding and visualizing it, and then limiting work in progress.

Jenny and I really made it a priority to explain Kanban as clearly as possible in Head First Agile. If anyone read what we wrote, I'd be interested in hearing what you think.
 
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Andrew Stellman wrote:Jenny and I really made it a priority to explain Kanban as clearly as possible in Head First Agile. If anyone read what we wrote, I'd be interested in hearing what you think.


Sounds like my cue to chime in... I'm going to spend some more time carefully reading what you wrote so I can give as fair and balanced a response as I possibly can. I did skim the Lean/Kanban chapter a little this morning and didn't see anything that jumped out at me.

I have a related question though: What's the difference, if any, between the ideas that Eric Ries wrote about in Lean Startup and other (standard?) literature on Lean/Kanban? I read Lean Startup and found it pretty interesting but I also get a sense from other reviews of the book that many XP/Scrum folks don't take too kindly to the apparent lack of emphasis on quality in some of the things that Ries espouses.
 
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They're apples/oranges. I really like Eric Ries' work, and a lot of people have found real success with it, but it's very different from Lean/Kanban. Lean startup is a methodology for developing businesses and products. Kanban is an agile method for process improvement, adapted from TPM  by David Anderson. Like other agile methods, it has a set of values that drive its mindset. These values are summed up really well by Lean Thinking, also adapted (independently) from TPM and manufacturing by Mary and Tom Poppendieck. They do different things.

 
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