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Defining a workflow

The Kanban Guide defines three core practices. The first is “define and visualize a workflow” and while it describes what needs to be in that workflow, it doesn’t give any guidance on how to facilitate as session with a team to do that definition. In this video, I describe how I facilitate a session with teams to define their workflow.

Staying within our WIP limits

In a Kanban model, one thing we find most teams struggle with are WIP limits. Everyone wants to just start one more item even if we’re already at the limit. Surely one more can’t hurt. Except of course, it does.

Improving Predictability - Average Age

In a previous post I’ve introduced the four assumptions behind Little’s Law and discussed the first two assumptions in detail. If you haven’t read those previous posts I encourage you to go back to understand the background. As a reminder, the four assumptions are listed below.

Moving backwards on a kanban board

A question we’re frequently asked is whether items are allowed to move backwards on a board. Many people will just say “no” but the real answer is more nuanced than that and depends on a number of factors.

Improving Predictability - All work must finish

In a previous post I introduced the four assumptions behind Little’s Law and the idea that they are critical to understanding and improving your system’s predictability. We’ve also already discussed the first assumption regarding the equality of average arrival and departure rates. If you haven’t read those previous posts I encourage you to go back to understand the background. As a reminder, the four assumptions are listed below.

Improving Predictability - Average Arrival and Departure Rates

In a previous post I introduced the four assumptions behind Little’s Law and the idea that they are critical to understanding and improving your system’s predictability. If you haven’t read that post I encourage you to go back to understand the background. As a reminder, the four assumptions are listed below.

Improving Predictability

Little’s Law is an equation that frequently appears in discussions of Kanban systems. While initially formulated as a part of queueing theory to describe the length of time people would spend in stores it has since been applied to many other contexts from manufacturing to knowledge work (particularly Kanban for the purposes of today’s conversation).

Getting Kanban metrics from the Jira API

If your team is using Jira then at some point you’re going to want to look at some flow metrics to see how you can improve. You’ll very quickly discover that Jira only provides two charts out of the box and that neither one is terribly useful. The cumulative flow chart has known bugs and the control chart is both difficult to read and has problems of it’s own.

The cost of interruptions, and how to reduce it

Interruptions can be a significant source of waste. By their nature, interruptions cause a context switch as we lose track of what we had been working on to focus on the interruption. There is a significant cost to that context switch as it takes time and effort away from the task at hand. There is also a real impact on quality as mistakes are far more likely to happen when we’re distracted.