Brooks’ Law and Kanban

Fred Brooks wrote a seminal book titled “The Mythical Man Month” in the 1960s.  This book chronicled the challenges that IBM faced developing the operating system for their 360 family of computers.  In simple form, Brooks’ law is: “Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later” – Fred Brooks Many managers, frustrated by […]

Migrating to Agile Estimating

Organizations taking on agile almost always struggle with estimating. Years and decades of experience has taught the typical project manager that work is proportional to the difficulty of the task.  This complexity is then expressed in hours to determine how long the project will take and how much it will cost. Expressing a small project forecast […]

Flow and Systems Thinking

A key principle of systems thinking is that optimizing any single part of a system through process improvement does not necessarily improve the overall capability of the entire system.  Improving widget production from 55 per hour to 100 per hour does not help much if shipping can only handle 70 per hour.  If your organization […]

Little’s Law and Kanban

Little’s Law is an important concept for Kanban.  It has its roots in manufacturing and operations management as a technique for characterizing the utilization and capacity of a system to produce finished work. Components of the equation Work in Progress (WIP) = The average number of items in a system (over some interval) Throughput (TH) […]

Kanban at Scale

Implementing Kanban for a large development organization has unique challenges that must be overcome.   While at Siemens Health Services, I was part of a steering team that had the responsibility of transforming an organization of three business units and approximately 50 Scrum teams from Scrum/Agile to Kanban.   Fortunately we were successful and achieved […]

Critical Concepts For Kanban

Kanban has a few key concepts that are critical to being successful with this methodology. Traditional project management valued complete resource utilization to the point of diminishing returns, as valuable human resources spent their time starting and stopping tasks rather than completing work.   Rather than work through blockages, team members would start new work […]