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Showing posts from September, 2009

against kanban part 3

At the agile2009 conference, David Carlton and Brian Marick presented something they called "Idea Factory", an overview of three sociological systems by which the scientific community comes to regard a certain thing as fact. Carlton's presentation was particularly intriguing. He cited work pointing out that disparate communities come together in what are called "trading spaces" in order to pool aspects of their expertise to create new work. One of the signs of a "trading space" is a creole or pidgin language created by the participants in the trading space and used by participants in the trading space to negotiate among themselves. Such language may seem weird or impenetrable by outsiders, but participants wield it in order to accomplish things among themselves. In contrast, Six Sigma, ISO9000, and now Lean/kanban, are imposed upon the agile development trading space. They are concepts and processes and ideas forged from managing factories, fitt

against kanban part 2

After conversations with various well-meaning folk at the Agile 2009 conference about some details of Lean and kanban, I remain more opposed to a general implementation of them than ever. But I'm willing to grant that a single kanban call might have value. Liz Keogh had a good example:  a group of agile coaching consultants, each with multiple clients, each client moving at different rates, with more clients waiting for attention.  The consultants track their work with cards on a board. (Note: tracking work with cards on a board is NOT kanban...) When one consultant finishes with a client, that consultant adds a card to the board saying GIVE ME WORK. As I understand it, this is the essence of kanban:  as Eric Willike told me, the essential image of kanban is a colored card in an empty basket, sent up the line to have the basket filled again. But what a frighteningly low-bandwidth transaction!  This means of communication is for infants: GIMME followed by either YES or NO.  Put