Book Review: Kanban

Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business by David J. Anderson is recommended reading if you are interested in evolutionary improvement of software development. Part 1 of the book gives an introduction to Kanban. Part 2 explains the fundamentals such as limiting work in progress and continuous improvements. Part 3 goes in depth with implementation details. Part 4 explores more advanced topics such as issue management and sources of variability. The first implementation of Kanban was with a TSP team, which is particularly interesting to me since I know TSP very well. I cannot avoid the thought that maybe David was lucky running into such a team for his first implementation, because a TSP team has a very well-defined process? I have seen attempts to implement Kanban for other teams, and they have failed. These teams achieved some improvements for sure, but what they ended up with was not Kanban. I also found it interesting that there is a limit to how much improvement you can achieve in the team itself. Sooner or later you need to address the team’s environment. What I find a bit tragic though, is that the TSP team could not improve its own performance without management intervention.

Published by Jan Höglund

Jan Höglund has over 35 years of experience in different roles as software developer, project manager, line manager, consultant, and researcher. This is his personal blog where he shares his reading, book reviews, and learning.

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