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Hey everybody. I finally got my own site up and running, and have moved my blog to here.   I have wanted to do my own thing, and finally got around to it.  Thanks to aspadvice for the many years of hosting.  To my large following (Ok, maybe just my parents!), if you want to follow corporatecoder uninterupted, use the feedburner subscription, I usually update that if I move. Thanks and see you on the other side!

I am just back from speaking at the Lean and Kanban Conference in Miami, and it was fantastic.  The content was just amazing for anyone interested in increasing IT value to your organization, especially from the software development perspective.

 

The event, organized by David Anderson and supported by Allan Shalloway from Netobjectives, and others really showed how to utilize Lean concepts for Software development.  I felt the sentiment was not just "we need to now use Lean concepts to improve software development.  The sentiment there was that software developers need to improve the value of software using any methods that work.  While there was a focus on Kanban, the general sentiment seemed to be that the tools used to provide good software will evolve.  So who knows in 5 years we could have the next generation being the EMMI/Plasma screen conference (EMMI = Erics Maturity Model) ;-)

 

At the beginning of the conference, there was an announcement of the formation of the Lean Software and System Consortium.  This formation is an interesting development and should put some weight behind this movement.   For a great summary see Mike Cottmeyers summary of the talks.  There was an announcement of the next conference in April of next year, so look forward for that.  This was a great conference, with a lot of people focused on creating software the best way we know how.  I will try to collect my thoughts over the past few days and put together some more meaningful posts.  There is a lot for development managers and leads to digest from this.

A guest blog post I wrote introducing Kanban for Software development has just been posted on Mark Graban's Lean Blog.  The article is a quick introduction for people familiar with lean concepts but not software development.  I hope this is helpful for those new to Agile/Lean software development.

For those interested in the Lean/Kanban conference, there are now some pricing breaks.  A great low price before March 16th, and some interesting prices for those in Florida close to the conference.  There is also a decent break for those registering before April 16th.  If you are interested, check out the site for more details.  A lot of great Lean/Kanban speakers, including yours truly!  http://www.leankanbanconference.com/http://www.leankanbanconference.com/  Hope to see you there!
For anyone interested in using Lean/Kanban processes for software development , there is a new conference specifically for this in May.  The conference is focused on how different companies are using Lean approaches, and has a specific Kanban track, for software development.  There is also a more general Lean track with keynotes by Dean Leffingwell, Alan Shalloway and David J. Anderson.  The link is http://www.leankanbanconference.com/ 
Enjoy and hope to see you there!

If you haven't noticed, David Anderson has been making a case for Agile 2009 to have a breaking acts type of stage in the 2009 version, as they had in Agile 2008.  The case David makes is compelling to me.  If Agile is all about "Responding to change over following a plan", then Agile methods should be constantly improving.  Right now there is no stage specifically for non-traditional Agile methods.  For instance last year there was a lot of activity with using Kanban as an agile development method.  The concern for where the next "Kanban" would be presented is at stake here. 

If this is something that concerns you, I would urge to go to the above link on the breaking acts and put your name there.  I think there are many ways that we can improve agile.  And I'd love to see new ways that Agile thought has been implemented in ways not thought of before.  That's why I agree with David and think that some way to bring a breaking acts feeling to the next Agile 2009. 

Developer.com published one of my articles that is the first in short series on Kanban.  This article uses a similar method to get the point across as The Goal by Dr. Eliyahu M. Goldratt and "Rolling Rocks Downhill" By Clarke Ching.  This article expalin how a ficitonal software group adopted the kanban to help in productivity.  Enjoy!

Right after I wrote about what to work on next, Cory Ladas wrote about the Perpetual Multivote.  Cory mentions a voting system that keeps the highest priority at the top of the your list.  Items in the list are time sensitvie, so at a predetermined level, older lower ranked items can drop off as new items are added. 

I believe that the voting system can work in keeping the most valuable features to be implemented at the top.  One issues that I see with this compared to say a Scrum iteration has to do with the team mood.  The bucket can stay full for a long time, months or longer.  Psychologically, this is not so good for your team.  The one tweak I might make is to see the bucket drain, and then replenish at a predetermined time.  This way the team sees their work being completed.  Yes you can show burn down charts in your team room to help in showing progress.  But I believe that seeing accomplishments happen in short bursts like an iteration do have that Psychological advantage over this. 

Cory has a great idea with this multivote, and I hope I'll  be able to borrow and implement this in the future electronically!

On the Real Options yahoo list, focusing on the infoQ article written by Chris Matts and Olav we've had a great discussion about this very question.  As I understand it, a fundamental concept is to leave decision making until the last responsible moment. Also the idea of your saying that options should have value, and options expire are fundamental to this concept.  Chris and Olav mention starting with Black Scholes options forumlas from the financial markets as a method to help in decision making for software development. 

Currently in agile methodology, many groups use stakeholders to set the priorities for their features.  In my experience I sometimes suspect that the highest business value feature is not always selected using this method.  Especially in an enterprise situation, once the project has been approved.  In my experience, there is not a rigorous method to assist in determing business value once the funds have been approved.   

Corey Ladas of Modus Operandi, has a great piece on using Options in a Kanban that helps with selection method.  That has helped clarify some plaaning concepts for me in the kanban world.  But I still want a better way to determine business value.  In the email group we are discussing using costs, and wisdom of crowds for better decision making to get features from planning state, into the kanban.  So the question is, can we put actual value into our features using costs? Can we use mechanisms from social web to help us collect information from different groups?  I don't have the answers yet, but I feel those 2 questions lead us to the right answers.  If you are doing something like this to decide, I'd like to hear about it.

Belated link, but here's a great podcast from Hanselminutes with an interview with Lean Software folks, Mary and Tom P.  I find it hard to believe that Scott has not encountered these concepts before, but maybe he's just playing devils advocate in the interview?  Scott, were these concepts new to you?

Wow, it's been a while since I blogged.  Summer is busy, busy, schockingly busy!  I wanted to mention the discussion we had recently on the kaban mailing list.  We talked about when a group using Kanban as their project management tool would conduct retrospectives.  There was talk about triggering it using timeboxes.  But Tobias mentioned the idea of a drainage buffer to trigger the retrospective.  My interpretation of this goes something like this.  As lessons learned or problems are encountered, a note is put somewhere indicating that.  When the lessons learned buffer gets filled, a retrospective is held with lessons learned best practices etc.  It's a great idea, and this allows events in the Kanban to trigger the retro, which I think is better than time boxes.  I'd love to hear if others are using this.

I've been wanting to write this since giving a talk last week at the Indianapolis TFS user group.  Paul Hacker started this group and leads the sessions.  Props to Paul for having a great group of people.  Currently they meet after the Indy .Net Users group.  I thought it was a great interactive talk.  We'll see what the folks in Indy thought!  During the meeting I got the chance to meet Eric Wilke another developer (software architect actually) who is utilizing a kanban system.  During the talk and after we had a lot of discussion about making the kanban better. 

I've mentioned this in a thread on the kanban yahoo group.  To summarize, this is what I think is the way to limit the kanban in a situation where your team supports multiple applications.  Here is how I think the requests would work.  Application 1 has 14 change requests in a parking lot somewhere. We currently budget 3 requests in the Kanban for that application. Next application 2 usually has 10 requests in the parking lot. We usually budget 2 requests in the Kanban. But for some
reason, this week they have 1 request in the parking lot. Based on a rule, we now allow application 1 to increase their budget to 4. The following week, when application 2 has 4 requests in their parking lot, their budget goes back to 2 and application 1 goes back to 3.

That's the theory, I'll get back to how this works.  I'd love to hear others experiences with this.

There is a new version 0.3 release of the Kanban template for TFS on codeplex.  This new release took a lot longer than I anticipated.  It does include some new process templates.  Also, 2 new reports are included (Cycle Time and Flow).  These should begin to help.  Also, I hope to test this with the Sticky Buddy project on codeplex.  I hope these are complementary.  I would love to hear requests for reports in this template.  No guarantee on when I get back to this, but I will be working on it.

On June 12th I will be in Indianapolis, IN giving a talk on TFS and Kanban to the TFS SIG there.  Check out this link for information on where and when.

It's been a while.  I wanted to give some more insight on how we are proceeding putting constraints in our parking lot.  For some change management processes, your customers might be able to submit as many change tickets as they want.  In most scenarios, at least some of those change tickets should never be done, they are waste.  As mentioned in previous blogs, we are now limiting our change tickets. 

Our customers accepted this limitation without a lot of pushback.  I believe the way we implemented it explains the lack of resistance.  There are stakeholder meetings weekly.  Each week, the stakeholders can select new "stories" or changes.  This is based on points.  Once we complete a story, that frees up points.  But our Kanban can only hold a certain amount of points.  Based on that point system, the customers prioritize the stories. 

In this manner, the waste should flow to the bottom, or never be done.  I'd say the key to getting customer buy-in is to have scheduled communication, and updates.

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