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Peter Schuh coaches project teams and conducts trainings in the adoption and improvement of agile practices and techniques. He excels in both agile and traditional development environments (such as waterfall, heavy process and fixed cost). Peter is also the author of "Integrating Agile Development in the Real World," a field guild for software development professionals who aim to deliver useful and usable software in a timely manner. Peter is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 19 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Kanban: Agile’s Gateway Drug

12.02.2010
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I’ve always been puzzled why Kanban attracts so much attention in the agile community. At its essence Kanban is workqueue on a wall. Why would any team, delivering within a healthy iterative cadence, switch to a method that does nothing to support a sustainable pace for team members nor provide real delivery planning and predictability to the business?

During a conversation with Rebecca Porterfield, of Solstice Consulting, I realized that I have been looking at Kanban from the wrong perspective. Rebecca has recently rolled out Kanban with a client that had no existing process. The client’s team fell in love with Kanban instantly. It was a welcome relief to the interrupt-driven, everything-is-a-priority world to which the client was accustomed.

This conversation made me realize that Kanban is ideal for teams that have yet to take the agile plunge. Kanban is a quick hit of simple rules that fills a process void. It appeals especially to those who dwell in process-free (or chaotic) environments.

Kanban can be mundane and underpowered for the experienced agilist. It doesn’t provide me with much assistance on my current 30 person, multiple-system, heavy-process-mandated, regulation-driven, do-or-die project.

For the uninitiated, however, Kanban is a grand welcome into the agile community. Many teams (although not all) can invest a little effort in Kanban and reap significant reward. Then the teams get comfortable and even excited about adopting additional agile practices. This makes Kanban the ideal gateway drug to agile.

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Published at DZone with permission of Peter Schuh, author and DZone MVB. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)

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Xebia Labs replied on Mon, 2010/12/06 - 11:35am

Peter, you make a good point here. Companies that have never experienced any part of the Agile world are usually eager to implement this methodology. One of the tools used in conjunction with Agile that we have seen many companies get excited about is deployment automation. Such automation software helps companies decrease the number of deployments operations teams have to do by hand and leaves them free to do the jobs that they were hired to do. By using this software, companies are able to save time, resources, and frustration. Have you seen companies getting excited about automation tools such as deployment automation?

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