On Monday night I checked out Chris Simmons talk on Kanban, a system of visualizing work in progress, as applied to software development. Chris got into specifics about how they use Kanban at Sophos and how it’s worked for them.
Kanban is basically a way to track your stories/tasks workflow using post-its and a whiteboard. One thing I found interesting was the idea of setting Work In Progress limits on each stage in the workflow. QA, for example, could be limited to 3 items at a time. That way if the dev team gets blocked because QA is saturated then it’s a clear signal to have a conversation and figure out what’s holding up the workflow. Maybe QA is under-resourced or in need of some temporary help. With the WIP you can quickly spot problems as they happen.
While I was reading more about Kanban I stumbled across an article on InfoQ that provides a good, comprehensive overview. Visualizing Agile Projects using Kanban Boards.
Next week I attend Josh Kerievsky’s talk, Always Shippable, at the Agile Vancouver Conference. I’m looking forward to that!