Существует ли оценивание задач? Как команда может делать прогноз о завершении проекта? Можно ли заказчикам рассчитывать на поставку фичи к нужной дате? На подобные вопросы попробую ответить в этой статье.
Зачем изучать Kanban System Design?
Далее приводим статью Paul Klipp в оригинале, где он рассказывает о курсе, его пользе и примеры из своего опыта.
Why Learn Kanban System Design?
How often do you feel certain of the right thing to do? How confident are you when you answer questions about deadlines? Does your confidence come from solving one crisis after another? Is the right thing to do obvious only when it’s the thing that’s on fire?
Now imagine that you can act deliberately when there’s no fire. You know how to organize your day and guide your teams to ever increasing levels of quality and effectiveness without firefighting. You can confidently answer questions about the future. It’s not a dream. It’s modern management, and we have the tools to get you there.
But first, here’s a story from my last experience of chaos.
I learned modern management in a very specific setting. As the owner of a web development agency, I had a chance to work with a lot of teams on a lot of projects. Lots of new, short projects meant lots of opportunities to experiment and improve, and I got very, very good at it. But your problem isn’t as simple as one team, co-located, making a single web app in six months, is it?
So I wanted to test my toolkit in a truly challenging environment. One that had teams collaborating all over the world, with regulations upon regulations and high stakes. An environment with a long history and deeply-entrenched management culture. Where dinosaurs roamed freely. I found that place, and took a job like yours, as a team coach. By the time I left, they were calling me the Lead Agile Coach for a multinational division, but that was later.
My immediate problems were many, and all familiar to you. Deadlines that came from marketing with no basis in reality. Fuzzy expectations written into fragmentary documentation. Stakeholders upon stakeholders spread all over the world, with more stakeholders turning up at the most surprising times. Antiquated systems for interacting with shared services teams upon which we depended to get anything done.
I started implementing the same tools I’d used before and coaching by the same principles. They’re the ones you’ll learn in the Kanban Management Professional courses. It took a few months to impose a sense of order and almost a year before the team really internalized those principles, but almost immediately you could see the effects. We had clear goals, knew what to do each day. The moment we had some data to work with we were able to provide astonishingly accurate forecasts without wasting any time estimating. Within a year, the team didn’t need me anymore. They understood the power of service delivery principles and had learned to continually improve their performance without a coach or manager guiding or directing them. Even today, they remain the only team in the division that doesn’t have an embedded agile coach.
I’d like to teach you the same. You might be thinking, if I could teach a team to not need me anymore, then what would I do? That’s the wrong question. Someone who can not only turn around a team but teach them to self-manage better than any agile coach could can do what they like. You could move from team to team, or move up. The techniques in the KMP workshops go far beyond managing teams. A Kanban Management Professional has the tools to design effective end-to-end service delivery systems. That’s C-level stuff right there.
There’s no magic to it. There is a bit of math. A fair bit. But it’s not about formulas. It’s about using numbers to model reality. That’s where math is really useful. The way I explained it to my son once is that if you want to know what happens if you have five apples and you give two to Michał, you could do it the hard way. Go to the store, buy five apples, then go visit Michał and give two of them to him. Go back home and see what you’ve got left. But of course you wouldn’t do that. But when we say 5-2=3, what we’re doing is modeling that whole exchange so we know how many apples to buy if we promised two to Michał and we want three left for our szarlotka. The math I’ll teach you as part of the Kanban Management Professional I workshop isn’t much harder than that. There are two basic models that will solve your forecasting problems, and if they don’t, you’ll know exactly why.
That’s the really interesting part. It’s the path out of chaos. With a clear understanding of when the models work and when they don’t, you can begin to make policy decisions at all levels to create the kind of system that CAN be modeled for consistency and predictability. And the best part is that you don’t have to do it all at once. You won’t learn a set of rules to follow, with new roles and meetings and such. You’ll learn a set of tools and principles that you can apply to gradually make things measurably better and better.
One of the things you’ll learn is how to manage the system rather than the people. Why? People don’t like to be managed. We’re delivering professional services. Our teams are comprised of really smart people who know their jobs. They don’t want to be told what to do. Would you? But they’re part of a system. There are other people, and there are rules and procedures to follow. When you try to change a person, they resist. Rules have no feelings. If you find a rule, or a procedure, that you can improve, it doesn’t resist. And when you change the rules, people adapt. It’s what we’re best at. Great managers create optimal systems by finding the right rules and procedures to allow their people to work at their best. To do the right things, the right way, at the right time. To collaborate when it’s the right thing to do and to focus on the task when that’s the right thing to do. That is the Kanban Management Professional I course in a nutshell. That’s why it’s called the “system design” course.
The second part of the Kanban Management Professional course is about how to put in place the mechanisms to continue to optimize the system, but first, you need a stable, predictable system, so that’s what we do first. You can’t optimize chaos.
The goal of any Lean Kanban University training is to give you something that you can start using from Monday. If you are already familiar with Kanban and using it at work, you’ll learn new tools, techniques, and approaches to creating an optimal system. If you’re new to Kanban, you’ll learn the steps to implement a Kanban system with minimal resistance. Kanban is, after all, the humanitarian approach to agile.
Because it doesn’t force people to change how they work or think based on someone else’s ideas. It doesn’t tell people that they’re doing it wrong. It simply provides the tools to allow everyone to see what’s working well and what could be improved.
Here’s a very simple example from my experience. I was coaching a team in one of the world’s largest multinational corporations. I was far on the periphery, many layers from the key decision makers. One of the simple tools I was using was to visualize lead time by putting dots on task cards every day. One color for tasks people were working on that day and another for tasks that were blocked or waiting for someone to start work on it.
One day, the CTO visited our floor. He didn’t work in our building, or even in our country. He was on a whirlwind tour of all the development centers around the world, so he only had one day for our whole country and only ten minutes on our floor. But in that ten minutes he saw my dotted cards on one board out of the fifty on that floor he might have glanced at.
“What’s this?” My boss introduced me and I explained that those eight blue dots represented how many days it took to implement the feature, and those 40-odd red dots represented time spent waiting because of failing testing environments and deployment delays caused by pipeline issues, all of which were managed by other teams in India and China. At a glance, he could see why a feature that might have been live in a week had taken almost two months.
Soon afterward, word came down from on high that the company was going to begin moving to DevOps and cloud hosting of both testing and production environments, giving the teams the tools they needed to manage the whole process, end to end.
Was that decision taken just because of a board full of cards with more red dots than blue dots? I’ll never know. But I like to think it helped.
The combination of clear visual signals and irrefutable mathematical models is powerful. And this is why more and more companies are looking for people who know how to implement effective Kanban systems. They’re looking for Kanban Management Professionals.
Are you a Scrum Master, Agile Coach, Team Lead, web entrepreneur, Engineering Head, or CTO? Join me, and I’ll change the way you look at your job and address the daily challenges it presents to you.