The common wisdom is that Agile need Kanban teams to do the work that the Scrum Teams can’t do yet as well as the stuff that you don’t want your Scrum Teams to be distracted by. There is however much more to Kanban than meets the common agilist’s eye.
In the context of software development, Kanban is an approach based on Lean that tries to limit waste and work in progress to the actual capacity of the software development team. The aim of Kanban is to create a context that balances capacity and demand through a value stream and promote visual project management. Thus the work is not “pushed” to developers by project managers, but “pulled” by the development team according to priorities. Kanban is the Japanese word for visual card and visualizing the current situation is very important in Kanban. If collocated teams can use simple dashboards and cards to track the work in progress, this is not the same for large or distributed Kanban teams that need to use tools.
If shorter release cycle could be considered as a success for Agile software development teams, they might be considered as an issue if the other parts of the organization are not ready to handle this. In this article, Colleen Johnson shares an experience where the successes achieved implementing the Kanban method at the team level were leveraged to expand them to the enterprise level.
If Scrum is the king of the Agile software development frameworks, Kanban can be defined as a distant cousin. We know that there are some connections through this Lean parents, but we don’t always known what it looks like exactly and when to use it. If you want to have a clear and quick (60 pages) understanding of what Kanban is, then this Kanban Workbook is for you.
Like the notion of technical debt, the concept of management debt relates to the leadership issues that prevent a successful Agile transformation. This article from Agile transformation expert Sriram Rajagopalan discusses the types of waste that can be eliminated using a Kanban approach and the role of management debt in perpetuating wasteful practices.
Scrum and Kaban are two Agile approaches that could be used in software development, depending also on the context of the software development tools. In his blog post “Ditching Scrum for Kanban — The best decision we’ve made as a team”, Grant Ammons shares some thought on why he successfully changed it process from a Scrum to a Kanban perspective.
At the beginning of his book, Allan Kelly describes Xanpan as both a method and a philosophy, his philosophy on how software is, or should be, created, and how Agile works, or should work. If Xanpan is basically a mix of XP (eXtreme programming) and Kanban, it contains ideas and techniques of other Agile and Lean approaches, focusing on how teams should work together to deliver better software and value.