Monday, November 14, 2011

Live from #PWWCBA: All Analysts are Bilingual

In Linda Cook's session "Kanban – Limit Work In Progress and Go Faster" we started speaking the language of Kanban. Literally meaning "Card Signal," Kanban has some manufacturing roots as cards directed employees which task to start when.

Linda made one fun observation during the session: that business analysts are key to Kanban as they have a unique skill: they are "bilingual," translating information into stories. So, let's start deciphering Kanban and translate what it is and is not:
- Kanban is not just a software development methodology, not just an approach to project management, and much more than just a card wall

- Kanban is used to control Work In Progress, it promotes incremental change and  it requires some existing process to already be in place

The core elements of Kanban are:
- Visualize workflow
- Limit work in progress
- Measure and manage flow
- Make process policies explicit
- And use models to recognize improvement opportunities

Next Linda introduced the idea of creating "Slack":
Slack can reduce variability and thus improve quality and smooth out the flow to achieve an even cadence, or rhythm of events.

Kanban methods:
Help visualize the process with workflow models
Help to identify bottlenecks when the steps of the process are drawn on a model
Encourage continuous improvement
Minimize the initial impact of changes
May help reduce the resistance to change

We then wrapped up the session by making sample Kanban walls. Look for pictures of our work here soon.

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