Lean & Kanban: Learning Through Systems Thinking at QCon London

I’ve just been updating my calendar and downloads pages, which have been sadly neglected recently, and thought it would be worth mentioning one particular event I’m involved with coming up.

I’m was really pleased to be asked to host a Lean & Kanban track on Thursday March 10 at QCon London, and have used the opportunity to (selfishly) create a track of talks I really want to see around ideas related Systems Thinking and Learning. I am increasingly finding these ideas core to the way that I talk about Kanban Systems.

The track abstract is:

Lean and Kanban: Learning Through Systems Thinking
It is often said that the heart of Lean is about thinking for yourself in your context. Kanban provides a model for thinking about process within a context and Systems Thinking provides a focus on purpose and outcomes within a context. Together, they enable knowledge acquisition and learning about value creation. The talks in this track will explore these various topics and show how to use the ideas and approaches to create evolutionary, continuous and sustainable improvement.

As well as giving a talk on Kanban System Design, I’m really grateful to be able to have the following line-up:

  • Katherine Kirk – When the pressure is really on: A “rough and ready” application of Lean and Kanban at the BBC

How a small IPTV team at BBC iPlayer used Lean principles and elements of Kanban for their rapid and successful response to a fast paced, very demanding live release schedule for the v2 device customisation programme.

  • Benjamin Mitchell – Can the Kanban Method avoid becoming another Management Fad

The Kanban Method has been shown to provide efficiency gains in many organisations. However, this talk will argue that those improvements have generally come through doing things righter, rather than doing the right thing. Doing more of the right thing requires challenging and testing underlying assumptions about the design and management of work, which will often lead to situations of embarrassment or threat. For the Kanban Method’s approach to evolutionary increment change to become more than a fad, it needs to either provide guidance or advice about how to overcome issues that generate embarrassment or threat, or provide a more balanced view of it’s potential impact. The talk will cover approaches that could increase the chances that the Kanban Method could deal with questioning assumptions around issues that could create defensiveness.

  • Jurgen Appelo – Complexity vs. Lean: The Big Showdown

Agile software development is (in part) based on the idea that software teams are complex adaptive systems. And Lean software development is (in part) based on systems thinking. Many Agile and Lean experts have borrowed terms from complexity theory (like “self organization” and “emergence”). But what is the difference between complexity theory and systems thinking? And how does complexity thinking compare to Lean software development? Are they different, or aligned? Can we use one to better understand the other?

  • Jeff Patton – Using design thinking to stop building worthless software

Delivering software fast isn’t the same as delivering value fast. The value we’ll get from that software is generally assumed. The real risks are almost always unknown. It’s because every piece of software we design and build is unique. It’s not designed then mass-produced like a car or piece furniture. Lean thinking and tactics that focus on speeding re-production of the same thing over and over doesn’t easily apply to the design and invention of new software. It takes design thinking. In this talk, Jeff describes the simple concepts that characterize design thinking: clear problem definition, ideation, iteration, and execution plans that emphasize continuous learning. You’ll learn how integrating these concepts into a design and delivery process shortens the cycle time from opportunity identification to acquiring real benefit from the use of the software. Jeff will give specific examples of the practices used by today’s successful software design and development companies that effectively integrate design thinking into their development approach. You’ll leave with a toolbox of simple proven practices you can add to your current process to improve the rate you deliver benefit from software.

I’m really looking forward to this. If you’d like to come along, the sooner you register the cheaper it is, and if you use the promotion code SCOT100 you can save a further £100 and a donation of £100 will be made to Crisis.

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Kanban System Design Article

I’ve just had an article published on Agile Journal about Kanban System Design in which I look at Kanban from a Systems Thinking perspective, and how various aspects of Kanban can provide leverage points to improve our product development outcomes.

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LESS2010 – Don’t Miss Out

I’ve spent the last few days busy on final preparations for the LESS2010 – the International Conference on Lean Software and Systems, which is being held in partnership with the LeanSSC.

Tickets for LESS2010 are selling well, but we’d really like it to be a sell out. If you’re not already coming, please take a look, sign up and bring your friends and colleagues!

The website is http://less2010.leanssc.org/ and the full program and details are now available at http://less2010.leanssc.org/program/. There is also an executive day if you know anyone who you think would be interested in that. http://less2010.leanssc.org/program/executives/. If you book a group of 5 or more, we can also offer a discounted rate – let me know if you’re interested in that option.

We have a couple of flyers for helping with promotion:

If I were to pick 3 main reasons for attending the conference, they would be:

  • The Beyond Budgeting track and links with that community
  • The Academic content and links with that community
  • The great line-up of speakers 🙂

I hope I see you there!

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Rally and other Announcements

I have a few announcements so I thought I’d group them together into a single post.

  1. Firstly, I’m really excited that I’m going to be joining the Rally team in the UK. I’ve had a good couple of years with Conchango / EMC Consulting, but its time to move on, and I believe Rally are doing some great things in the Lean and Kanban space, especially with the recent acquisition of AgileZen. I’m really looking forward to working with Ryan Martens, Jean Tabaka and the rest of the Agile Coaching team.
  2. Next, I’m going to be at Agile2010 and will be running a workshop Exploring the Kanban Multiverse with Xavier Quesada Allue. Its an evolution of Xavier’s Visual Management workshop from last year’s conference, with some updates that have been used at XP Day London and the Orlando Scrum Gathering. I’m also going to helping out with the bag packing on the Sunday before the conference. This is a repeat of something we did last year where we applied Lean and Kanban thinking to bag packing process and learned a load and had lots of fun in the process. If you’re around the hotel, come and find us and join in!
  3. Finally, the LeanSSC 2010 UK conference was a success and the materials and videos can be found on the Limited WIP Society.

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Aspects of Kanban in Methods and Tools

I wrote an article on “Aspects of Kanban” which has just been published in the Summer 2010 issue of Methods and Tools magazine. Download it, have read, and let me know what you think!

Alternatively, there is now an html version available.

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CfP: LESS2010 – International Conference on Lean Enterprise Software and Systems

This is a belated announcement about LESS2010, whose Call for Papers for LESS2010 closes tomorrow – June 15th.

LESS2010 is the International Conference on Lean Enterprise Software and Systems, in collaboration with the Lean Software and Systems Consortium (LeanSSC), to be held October 17-20, Helsinki, Finland. CfP details can be found at http://less2010.leanssc.org/call_for_papers/ with submission details at http://less2010.leanssc.org/submit/.

Note that we have clarified the submission requirements. The instructions should be used as a guide. However, content is more important than style initially, so submit whatever is best to give us a good idea of your proposal. Any accepted submissions will need to eventually be expanded and conform to Springer’s LNBIP format for publication.

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LeanSSC 2010 UK

The Icelandic Volcano Ash Cloud meant that non of the European Speakers could present at the LeanSSC Atlanta 2010 conference. Additionally, many attendees were unable to make the event. As a result, we have put togther this small mini-conference to allow the speakers to share there ideas and experiences, and ensure that the time and effort put in to prepare is not wasted!

We have chosen to collaborate with the UK Agile Coaches Gathering, are are hosting the event at Bletchley park immediately before that get together, so that anyone wanting to attend both can hopefully save on travel and accomodation.

The following speakers are confirmed:

  • Karl Scotland – A Kanban Universe
  • Simon Baker & Gus Power – Product Development in the Land of the Free
  • Liz Keogh – BDD: A Lean Toolkit
  • Benjamin Mitchell – Using Kanban to Get Knowledge and Continuously Improve
  • Mattias Skarin – Converting A Scrum Team to Kanban

Because this is a free event, with limited places, please only sign up if you are genuinely intending to come!

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Did I Mention The LeanSSC?

I’ve just posted an entry on the LeanSSC blog, introducing myself, and talking about my involvement with the group. Its the first of what I hope will be a series of posts introducing a number of the founder members of the Lean Software & Systems Consortium. The goal is to create some more visibility and transparency of who the LeanSSC is and what we are trying to achieve. In addition we have created a public Yahoo! Group where we hope that we can more openly discuss the ideas advocated by the LeanSSC.

While I’m talking about the LeanSSC, I should highlight that if you’re thinking of going to the Atlanta conference and haven’t booked yet, the price gores up again in April. Book now while you can at $995. And if you’re not thinking of going, why not?!? The program looks excellent, and having just begun piecing together my talk, I’m really looking forward to it. I’ll be bringing together some ideas on visual management kanban board techniques which I’m calling the Kanban Multiverse.

An added benefit of coming to t he conference is that the Technical Advisory Board is also meeting at the same venue on April 20th (Tuesday) and is open to all conference attendees. To attend all you need to do is to show up a day earlier, and to register for the conference and collect your badge on Tuesday. The registration desk volunteers will direct you to the room for the TAB meeting.

I hope to see you there!

http://atlanta2010.leanssc.org/
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LeanSSC Atlanta 2010 and other Conferences

I’ve just updated my Calendar page with where I’m speaking this year so far (or hoping to), and thought it would be worth adding some more details in a post.

Atlanta 2010 SpeakerThe conference I’m most looking forward to is the inaugural LeanSSC Conference in Atlanta in April (21-23) which is the place to find out about “the next wave of process innovation”: Lean, Pull Systems and Kanban.

If you are interested in applying Lean concepts to software and systems development then this is the conference to attend. It will have the best people in Lean and Kanban, and the best and largest quantity of Lean content. A significant number of the speakers are not part of the regular Agile community so this is your chance to see them. Here’s some other reasons why you might want to go:

  • Learn lean development approaches with a focus on scientific, model based solutions.
  • See how to tailor lean methods to your unique work situation.
  • Find proven approaches that let development and management work together on a system design level.
  • Get pragmatic, actionable advice, delivered by people with field experience presenting metrics and data.

I’ll be giving a new talk on “A Kanban Multiverse”. Here’s the abstract:

Wikipedia defines a Multiverse as the hypothetical set of multiple possible universes that together comprise everything that physically exists: the entirety of space and time, all forms of matter, energy and momentum, and the physical laws and constants that govern them. A Kanban Multiverse can be defined as the hypothetical set of multiple possible Kanban Boards that together comprise everything that physically could be visualised: the entirety of scope and time, all forms of work type, status and flow, and the organisational laws and constants that govern them. This talk will explore how a single Kanban Board might visualise these multiple aspects in a limited and constrained space.

The other exciting conference for me is going to be the Scrum Gathering in Orlando next month (match 8-10). I’m really honoured to have invited to run a deep dive workshop on Kanban. Its going to be structured round what I refer to as the Five Primary Practices (see here and here), with exercises and discussion to explore how Kanban Systems are compatible with Scrum.

The other two confirmed conferences are ACCU 2010 and SPA 2010 where I’ll be talking about Five Steps to Kanban and running a Kanban Game respectively.

Finally, its the Agile2010 submission process at the moment. I have two submissions in, and am a panel member on a third. If you have a user account (why wouldn’t you? :)) please give them feedback to help them get accepted!

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Lean Software & Systems Conference 2010 Atlanta

The first Lean Software & Systems Conference will be held in Atlanta, Georgia, USA between April 21st and 23rd 2010.

Registration and the Call for Papers is now open at atlanta2010.leanssc.org

The first 50 registrants enjoy a super early discount rate of $800 plus entry to the exclusive speaker luncheon and a special limited edition Ltd WIP Society t-shirt, sponsored by David J. Anderson & Associates.

The Call for papers closes on December 14th.

Use the Twitter search tag #lssc10 to filter tweets about the event. Follow @lssc10 on Twitter for news from the organizing team.

If you are speaking or attending the conference you might like to tell people about it by adding these buttons to your web site design. If you want to use these assets on your site just paste the HTML code provided straight into your web source code or content management system.

Source: <a href=”http://atlanta2010.leanssc.org/”><img alt=”Atlanta 2010 Attendee” src=”http://www.agilemanagement.net/lssc10/Atlanta2010Attendee.png” border=”0? /></a>

Atlanta 2010 Attendee

Source: <a href=”http://atlanta2010.leanssc.org/”><img alt=”Atlanta 2010 Speaker” src=”http://www.agilemanagement.net/lssc10/Atlanta2010Speaker.png” border=”0? /></a>

Atlanta 2010 Speaker

Conference Chair: David J. Anderson

Track Chairs: Alan Shalloway, Joshua Kerievsky, James Sutton, Eric Willeke, Chris Shinkle, Richard Turner & David Anderson

Event Planner: Kelly Wilson
Organizing Sponsor: Software Engineering Professionals (SEP)
Event Team: Dennis Stevens, Janice Linden-Reed, Aaron Sanders, Eric Landes

Sponsorship opportunities email info@leanssc.org

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