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) […]

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 […]

Personal Boundaries in a Development Team

Many factors influence the composition and effectiveness of a team.  Traditional managers create teams based on the skills needed and amount of work.  They feel that their skills at directing the team will ensure a successful outcome. This article looks at the composition from the perspective of the team member.  Team members often have a […]

Control vs. Responsibility

The idea for this article came to me while observing senior staff members in a large technology company.  These individuals had been working at the company for a long time, in some cases 15 to 20 years or more.  These people were recognized as individual contributors, but for some reason have either avoided management roles […]