Lean, Agile – Kanban, Scrum

David Anderson at Agile Management has two new blog posts that got me thinking. The first is How to Start with Kanban which lays out how to implement  Kanban for software development in 10 easy steps (I like its simplicity.) The second is Blogosphere Buzz about Lean & Kanban which is a comprehensive review of blog articles coming out of the Florida Lean & Kanban conference. All this Lean Kanban talk got me thinking about what really is the difference between all these terms. My conclusion in summary is: Lean … Continue Reading >


Gartner Says Most Organizations Lack All the Skills Needed to Implement and Optimize Their Business Processes

While this article is not new, its title caught my eye while doing some other research.  Quite a bold statement from Gartner. I wonder why there’s not the typical 80% chance by 2010 parenthetical? I do agree with the extract: “Successful BPM requires an agile iterative approach to process change. Many internal IT organizations and external service providers (ESPs) are still practicing business process re-engineering, using ‘waterfall’ software development methods and calling this ‘BPM’,” said Michele Cantara, research vice president for Gartner. “BPM is intended to empower business stakeholders to … Continue Reading >


The Process Center of Excellence

It is time for lean six sigma to grow beyond its focus on process improvement and deliver the reality of an agile enterprise. Capping a series of articles, I explore the organizational need for a Process Center of Excellence, how it would work and the agile results it would deliver. Continue Reading >


Agile Development is so Old Fashioned

The functioning principles of Agile (and process improvement more broadly) can be found in lean manufacturing and six sigma. These concepts date back to just after World War II and include error proofing, eliminating waste, creating flow, adding customer value, and empowering workers. If you are interested in deeper understanding I suggest reading the above links and: 14 principles of the Toyota Way 2 pillars of the Toyota Production System (Just-in-time and smart automation) 5S methodology Total Quality Management Deming’s 14 points While more comprehensive, notice how similar these ideas are to … Continue Reading >


Agile Development on Wikipedia

The great thing about Wikipedia is that you can make it say anything you want (at least for awhile.) So, I did it. Their definition of Agile Development now matches mine. As I’ve commented before, given the reach of this page, the content on it was disappointing. I gave the page a pretty good scrub. Please check my work. Leave a comment here if you see anything you object to, or edit the page yourself.


Development Kanban

I was recently reviewing a presentation from David Anderson on Kanban from Agile 2007. I love some of his ideas on sizing work, especially in separating work in process (WIP/story point) management from the release cycle. He summarizes his approach in 4 bullet points for success: Focus on Quality (fourth law of development) Reduce or Limit Work in Progress (what’s wrong with pushing) Balance Demand against Throughput (first law of development) Prioritize I think these simple statements help focus on how the principles of lean six sigma guide success. They … Continue Reading >


Defining Agile Development (continued)

As I prepared to discuss Agile with a client recently, I found that I was missing an important element of the definition in my last post. Here is what we settled on: Agile is: A project management process that encourages frequent inspection and adaptation A leadership philosophy that encourages team work, self-organization and accountability A set of engineering best practices that allow for rapid delivery of high-quality software A business approach that aligns development with customer needs and company goals


Piloting for Success

Although they have value, I’m not here to talk about quick hit or proof of concept projects. I’m talking about what leaders can learn from the disciplines of piloting aircraft. I earned my private pilot license in May of 2005. This post is a reflection on that experience and how it applies to business. Coaching Know anyone that learned to fly without a flight instructor? Not likely. Even if it were not an FAA requirement, it’s unlikely that anyone since Orville and Wilbur would try it. A good part of … Continue Reading >


Swarming Blobs

I laughed out loud as I read this post from Tom Perry. He is Co-presenting the topic: Swarming – The Birds and the Bees and Agile at Agile 08. It would not be quite as intriguing if it were titled: Slime Molds, The Birds and the Bees and Agile. I am sure there is something analogous to self-organizing teams in all this. In the mean time it’s worth a good laugh along with a ‘how bout that.’


Defining ‘Agile Software Development’ on Wikipedia

I started another post and got stuck on this Wikipedia definition. The great insight normally found on Wikipedia, in this case, has left me disappointed: Agile Software Development: refers to a group of software development methodologies that promote development iterations, open collaboration, and adaptability throughout the life-cycle of the project. Are these the three bullet points what we should highlight for Agile: Iterations, Open Collaboration and Adaptability?  I think they are all critical, but do they cover the fundamentals? This definition has actually improved greatly over the last couple months. In … Continue Reading >