Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Faiding cards to improve focus on Kanban board

I am using Lean Kit Kanban as my online kanban board and I just tried out a neat feature that is helping me focus on important time dependant tasks.

On the Lean Kit Kanban board you can set all kinds of filters to only show certain cards or you can use the filters to fade all other cards that would otherwise be filtered out.  I am using a time based filter fade any card that does not need to be completed in the next 10 days.

With the filter now applied I have more visual information about what may be important to me and therefore can make quicker decisions about which card to tackle next.

This quick visual queue is one of many techniques I used to reduce up front planning.  If I know when something is due (or a date passed when the card has significantly less value) then I can plan "just in time" more effectively.

If none of the time dependent cards are of value or I feel that there may be others of greater value I can quickly switch off the filter with a couple of mouse clicks and see the full board.

If I still am not sure about the next valuable card then I can dive into the backlog.

As an aside, I am wondering if it is worth recording how often I dip into the backlog.  From an emotional stance, it feels like I only go into my backlog three or four times a month and only for a few minutes each time.

Thank you.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Kanban clinic

At February's Limited WIP Society meeting we are having a Kanban Clinic where you have your chance to build your own personal or team kanban board from scratch. You can also work with others to help them build a board if you want to see a kanban board evolve.

If you have an existing board (kanban, scrum, or otherwise), please feel free to bring it along (the design not necessarily the board) and get feedback and advice on any aspects you want to improve on the board.

There is no formal presentation although ideas and examples will be shown and questions arising from the practical work will be discussed.

The slides and presentation video from the January Limited WIP socieity meeting are available on the SkillsMatter website.

Thank you

Saturday, 8 January 2011

TDD Kanban for Deliberate Practice

To help keep you in a good flow when you are learning or practising the TDD test first approach, it can be useful to use a simple kanban board to manage your flow.

The TDD kanban helps you to focus on each step, helping you to stick to test-code-refactor.

The TDD kanban board has three lanes as follows

Test - you are writing a single test
Code - you are writing code to pass a particular test that is failing
Refactor - you are changing the internal workings of your code

You only have one card on your kanban board (this is your work in progress limit), this reminds you which activity you should be working on and should help you get into the test-code-refactor routine.

The card itself is blank and does not refer to any required behaviour or example code.

Using the TDD Kanban board
To start, place your one and only card on the test lane of the kanban board.

Once you have written a failing test and run your tests, move the card on the kanban board to the code lane and write just enough code to make the test pass. 

Once you have written enough code to make the test pass (running all tests), move the card on the kanban board to the refactor lane.

When you have finished your refactor work and have run the tests, move the card back to the test lane and write another failing test.

The TDD Kanban concept is from the mini kanban display at Jon Jagger's cyberdojo (that's my hand) at the SkillsMatter Lean Agile exchange 2010.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Personal Kanban workshop - 13th January 2011 - Limited WIP Society

To kick off 2011 and to help keep on track with our new years resolutions and goals for the year, the Limited WIP Society are running a personal kanban workshop at SkillsMatter on the 13th January.

Sign up page!!

Personal kanban has been used to manage our busy lives very effectively by a growing number of people and I too have found it invaluable to get so much more out of 2010.

I would like to share the techniques I have been using with personal kanban, such as just-in-time planning, review techniques, managing events, keeping in line with personal goals, etc. The workshop is also an opportunity to show your techniques to manage your priorities.

The workshop will be a great opportunity to gather lots of ideas on how to make the most out of 2011.

I have written articles on personal kanban for personal development and just-in-time skills training.  You will also find the interesting material at the personal kanban 101 website.

Thank you