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Showing posts from May, 2015

Glossary Proposal

One of the problems Kanban practitioners have faced over the past several years is the lack of agreement of the terminology to use to describe flow systems. This in turn has led to confusion in both those learning the method and those implementing tools to support it. This blog has made a few previous attempts to disambiguate common terms (see discussions of Cycle Time for example). Mike Burrow's Glossary of Terms, [burr] reproduced on the Lean Kanban University site [lkun] is also very useful, though it does not give guidance on which terms to use when applying Little's Law to sub-processes in a more complex Kanban system.  This article is another foray into this minefield and is principally a proposal for the definitions of commonly used terms relating to Little's Law, particularly seeking terms applicable in complex flow systems and sub-processes within such systems. It is an invitation to others in the community to endorse these definitions, or propose alternatives. Let…

Growing Kanban in Three Dimensions

Kanban systems can work at different scales and in widely different contexts. Indeed any organisation that delivers discrete packages of value ("work items") and which is interested in maximising the value and timeliness of its delivery, can analyse and improve its performance using the Kanban method. 
Kanban systems can grow - in fact in most cases it's much better that they grow than a massive process change is made suddenly across a whole organisation. "Big bangs" tend to be quite destructive, even if they could clear the way for something new. There are three dimensions in which Kanban systems grow:

Width-wise growth: encompassing a wider scope of the lifecycle of work items than the typical "to do - doing - done" a single division of the process. It can cover from the idea to real value - or "concept to cash", though cash may come before or after the realisation of real value.Height-wise growth: by considering the hierarchy of items tha…

Earned Value Management and Agile Processes

I've recently been working with a client whose customer requires project reporting using Earned Valued Management metrics (EVM). It made me realise that, since they are also wishing to use agile methods, a paper I wrote back in 2008 could be relevant to them, and maybe a few others. When I looked for it online it was no longer available, so I thought I'd remedy that here. You can access the paper by clicking this link: EVM and Agile Processes – an investigation of applicability and benefits.

EVM is a technique for showing how closely a project is following both its planned schedule and planned costs. It's a superior method to simply reporting time and cost variance, since if the project has slipped but also underspent you cannot tell from the simple variances the degree to which the underspend has caused the slippage. EVM's cost efficiency and schedule efficiency (nothing to do with efficiency by the way!) can tell you this.

However agile methods do not have a fixed sc…