A Kanban System for Software Engineering

David Anderson, Modus Cooperandi

Ideas from Lean Thinking have been growing in popularity with the Agile software development community. Over the past year, the use of kanban (literally signal cards) popular in manufacturing has been seen as the significant innovation in managing agile work and is growing in adoption at firms such as Yahoo! David Anderson introduced the first electronic kanban system at Microsoft in 2004 and has since extended the technique through his work at Corbis. Kanban acts to limit work-in-progress and focus the team on achieving a continuous flow of value to the customer. Kanban innovates on accepted agile management practice by providing an iteration-less process with a regular release cadence. It helps achieve a balance of demand against capacity on the team and eliminate multi-tasking. David will present a brief history of the technique through case study reports from teams at Microsoft and Corbis. The kanban system enables David to deliver on his Recipe for Success: focus on quality; reduce work-in-progress; balance demand against throughput; and prioritize.

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