LSSC12: Stop Doing Kanban! Start Learning - Chris Shinkle

This is a session from the Lean Software and Systems Conference 2012 (LSSC12).

Learning is the new currency. Practices and processes will come and go; only the wise survive. If you don’t know why you’re doing what you’re doing, Kanban nor Lean, nor any other cool new thing will deliver the maximum benefit. And if you’re not learning, you’ll never know what you’re missing.

When I talk to teams struggling with Kanban and Lean implementations, I find many similarities. Some typical responses I hear:
• “This looked so cool at the conference, but it’s not working for us”
• “Scrum didn’t work, so we’re trying this Kanban thing”
• “Other teams at my company are doing it well, but it’s not working for my team”
• “I forgot why we’re even doing this Lean thing”
Hear any common themes? These teams don’t have a clear outcome or purpose for adopting Kanban. It looked cool, something previous wasn’t working, or someone told them to do it – all extremely effective ways to NOT get the maximum value out of Kanban.

In each of these cases, when I refocused the team on learning, perspectives changed. Asking the following question changed their focus.

How are you using Kanban to learn about: The product you’re building? The project?
The technology? The domain? The users? The market? The delivery? Your team?
And Improvement?

During this talk we will explore (or re-explore) why you are using the tools and processes you are using. Did you make a wise choice or just pick the latest flavor of the month? Brace yourself for a high-impact, interactive, and introspective rediscovering of your first love: No, not Kanban… your brain.

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