Kanban to the rescue? A tribute and acknowledgment.

Supporting an enterprise organization changing the way they “do” things is not easy at all and reading an article like this where Alan Shalloway is mentioning BCUF (Big Change Up Front) makes me reflect on the past 15 years again…

It all started out as trying out some XP techniques myself, these days being in a state where senior management is supporting me and my fellow coaches to do a full transitioning towards Scrum, talking about +/-400 persons inside an enterprise R&D organization. It has been a tough journey and many obstacles are taken but many more are still out there.

I have been reaching out to different methods, techniques, models, paradigms, use cases… during this quest and Kanban is one of those I repeatedly used to help single teams, mainly teams under fire, in need of acting fast on current issues… Some of the “do it now” managed teams are limiting their WIP and pulling items into the system these days. Yey!

Close to a year ago I started to use very small parts of Kanban (just a kanban view off the work in the system) to slowly convince the organization to look at the complete value chain and not single teams or for that matter just the R&D part of the organization… IT (slowly) WORKS!!!

To keep this post a bit summarized, I will continue about the experience on enterprise level and (sorry) forget about team implementations for now. On team level we got (to my humble opinion) good Kanban running but bringing this to the enterprise level is another story and that’s where I’ll continue on in this post and most probably some others to come.

What I value the most on enterprise level (for now) is the visualization of how work gets done; making things explicit somehow allows people to talk about them with less emotion and it avoids assumptions. This provides everybody in the system a means to define improvements rationally and evaluate immediately if the desired results are achieved. Having this in mind one can imagine that you could have an organization that is less afraid to experiment with changes! Don’t you? Aaarrggg, I must admit that this kind of behaviour didn’t really manifest itself, a pat on the back is still required somehow to really try something different… Human behaviour and their comfort zone is my excuse.

Then again, I can not imagine that all currently done improvements to the process and organization would have been achieved in the same time period with a BCUF on enterprise level! I need to thank the entire community out there for providing me insights allowing this to happen.

And now… let’s get senior management to accept another step towards good Kanban – “limited WIP at Enterprise Level” supporting the real needs of its business. We are slowly on our way towards it, having single teams able to show their capacities, pushing back on overhead, using either Scrum or Kanban to provide the insights they need to do so.

Hope to learn a lot more along the way and have opportunities to experiment with new learning’s like I had with beyond budgeting, Lean, Agile, Scrum & Kanban knowledge the last decade.

Kanban to the rescue? It sure can become a life saviour.

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Author:Jurgen De Smet

@JurgenLACoach - in/jurgendesmet

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  1. Tweets that mention Kanban to the rescue? A tribbute and acknowledgement. « AGILEMinds -- Topsy.com - January 6, 2011

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jurgen Appelo and Alf Kåre Lefdal, Jurgen De Smet. Jurgen De Smet said: Kanban to the rescue, a tribbute: http://j.mp/hvDkLf – to BCUF or not to BCUF that is the question. […]

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