Rediscovering the Obvious

…stumbling in the footsteps of greatness

Switching from Scrum to Kanban – Huh?

without comments

I’ve been hearing a lot of people say things like “We want to switch from Scrum to Kanban” or “When we stopped doing Scrum and started doing kanban…” or similar statements. My first two questions are almost always “Why?” and “What changed?” and my posture was always one of “you obviously don’t understand Kanban.” This, unfortunately, isn’t useful or helpful to the people I”m talking to. So, in the interest of actually helping people, I thought I’d help them through the first step of applying Kanban to a Scrum environment, respecting the ideas of “start where you are”, “make work visible”, and “Make process policies explicit”. Here’s the result, with the red policies ones that I know a lot of teams do even if they’re not generally believed to improve results long term (remember, start where you are).

A board describing the Scrum process as a kanban flow

At this point, a team can begin to talk about limits for each column:

  • Building limited by number of people/pairs
  • Sprint backlog limited on average story size * historical velocity
  • Ready for planning at ~1.5 times the sprint backlog limit

We’ve already got a few roles in play, so we’ll just keep those for now: Product Owner, ScrumMaster, Team Member.

We’ll start by respecting the current cadences, mapped on to the new visualization:

  • Anybody can add to product backlog at any time
  • Replenishment cadence: Fill “Ready for Planning” is ongoing, with expectation it’s full at~3 weeks of work before the planning session. Team supports through an every-other-week grooming session in the off weeks from the planning sessions.
  • Planning cadence: Batch transfer during every-other-week planning session from Ready for Planning to Sprint Backlog
  • Daily Cadence: Team continues to meet and discuss their path to success on the current work each day
  • Acceptance cadence: Product Owner accepts work as it’s done, moves to Accepted
  • Demo cadence: Team demonstrates every two weeks, generally just before the planning meeting
  • Retrospective cadence: Every other week, generally immediately after the demo

That’s it – that’s what Kanban probably looks like the day after a team “stops doing Scrum” and “Starts doing Kanban”. ┬áThe future, however, is wide open, and the teams need to continue driving improvements if they want to discover that the future is something exciting rather than something unemployed. (Pretend to read a Deming survival quote here)

Remember – Improvement isn’t something that happens TO you.

Written by erwilleke

May 18th, 2013 at 12:11 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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