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Agile Project Management with Kanban

Book Description

Use Kanban to maximize efficiency, predictability, quality, and value

With Kanban, every minute you spend on a software project can add value for customers. One book can help you achieve this goal:¿Agile Project Management with Kanban.

Author Eric Brechner pioneered Kanban within the Xbox engineering team at Microsoft. Now he shows you exactly how to make it work for your team.

Think of this book as “Kanban in a box”: open it, read the quickstart guide, and you’re up and running fast. As you gain experience, Brechner reveals powerful techniques for right-sizing teams, estimating, meeting deadlines, deploying components and services, transitioning from Scrum or traditional Waterfall, and more.

For every step of your journey, you’ll find pragmatic advice, useful checklists, and actionable lessons. This truly is “Kanban in a box”: all you need to deliver breakthrough value and quality.

Use Kanban techniques to:

  • Start delivering continuous value with your current team¿and project

  • Master five quick steps for completing work backlogs

  • Plan and staff new projects more effectively

  • Minimize work in progress and quickly adjust to change

  • Eliminate artificial meetings and prolonged stabilization

  • Improve and enhance customer engagement

  • Visualize workflow and fix revealed bottlenecks

  • Drive quality upstream

  • Integrate Kanban into large projects

  • Optimize sustained engineering (contributed by James Waletzky)

  • Expand Kanban beyond software development

  • Table of Contents

    1. Title Page
    2. Copyright Page
    3. Praise for Agile Project Management with Kanban
    4. Table of Contents
    5. Introduction
      1. Who should read this book
        1. This book might not be for you if . . .
      2. Organization of this book
      3. Acknowledgments
      4. Downloads: Sample files
      5. System requirements
      6. Errata, updates, & book support
      7. Free ebooks from Microsoft Press
      8. We want to hear from you
      9. Stay in touch
    6. Chapter 1. Getting management consent
      1. An open letter to your manager
        1. Problem
        2. Solution
        3. Risks
        4. Plan
      2. Moving forward
      3. Checklist
    7. Chapter 2. Kanban quick-start guide
      1. Step 1: Capture your team’s high-level routine
      2. Step 2: Redecorate your wall
      3. Step 3: Set limits on chaos
      4. Step 4: Define done
      5. Step 5: Run your daily standup
      6. Troubleshooting
        1. Problem: Blocked because all items in an intermediate step are done
        2. Problem: Blocked because prior step has no items done
        3. Problem: Step taking longer than usual for an item
        4. Problem: Constantly getting blocked
        5. Problem: Item blocked awaiting external input
        6. Problem: Bugs impacting team
        7. Problem: Item needs design work
        8. Problem: Important review, demo, or conference approaching
        9. Problem: New work, plan changes, and updated requirements
        10. Problem: Item needs to be assigned to a busy team member
        11. Problem: Some team members like doing more than one item at a time
        12. Problem: Can’t find time to improve tools and automation
        13. Problem: New person joins the team
        14. Problem: Team has long design discussions during standup
        15. Problem: Some team members can’t attend standup
        16. Problem: Team focusing too much on process details
      7. Checklist
    8. Chapter 3. Hitting deadlines
      1. Populate your backlog
      2. Establish your minimum viable product (MVP)
      3. Order work, including technical debt
      4. Estimate features and tasks
      5. Track expected completion date
      6. Right-size your team
        1. Basic approach
        2. Advanced approach
      7. Checklist
    9. Chapter 4. Adapting from Waterfall
      1. Introducing Kanban to a Waterfall team
      2. Working in feature teams
      3. Completing features before starting new ones
      4. Dealing with specs and bugs
        1. Specs
        2. Bugs
      5. Engaging with customers
      6. Celebrating performance improvements
      7. Rude Q & A
      8. Checklist
    10. Chapter 5. Evolving from Scrum
      1. Introducing Kanban to a Scrum Team
      2. Mapping the roles and terms
      3. Evolving the events
      4. Celebrating performance improvements
      5. Rude Q & A
      6. Checklist
    11. Chapter 6. Deploying components, apps, and services
      1. Continuous integration
      2. Continuous push
      3. Continuous publishing
      4. Continuous deployment
      5. Checklist
    12. Chapter 7. Using Kanban within large organizations
      1. Deriving a backlog from big upfront planning
      2. Ordering work based on dependencies
      3. Fitting into milestones
      4. Communicating status up and out
      5. Dealing with late or unstable dependencies
        1. Late dependencies
        2. Unstable dependencies
      6. Staying productive during stabilization
      7. Checklist
    13. Chapter 8. Sustained engineering
      1. Define terms, goals, and roles
        1. Consistent vocabulary
        2. Challenges and goals
        3. Define roles and responsibilities
      2. Determine SE ownership
      3. Lay out support tiers
        1. Tier 1
        2. Tier 2
        3. Tier 3
      4. Collaborate for efficiency
        1. Triage
        2. Quick-solve meeting
      5. Implement Kanban SE workflow
        1. Escalations
        2. Bugs/Other Work
      6. Kanban tools
      7. Troubleshooting
        1. Problem: The core engineering team is inundated with escalations from customer support, creating an unsustainable backlog
        2. Problem: We are a new SE team and have no idea what to set the WIP limits to
        3. Problem: The Waiting section on the signboard has a large number of items
        4. Problem: The customer-support team is continuously querying the core engineering team for predicted completion dates for open issues
        5. Problem: The team is having problems planning for maintenance because it doesn’t know how many escalations will come its way
        6. Problem: A dedicated SE team is fixing issues but creating more bugs with every fix
        7. Problem: Developers are not motivated to fix bugs in an SE role and morale on the team is low
        8. Problem: Some of the team members tune out in the daily standup because they are not all working on the same product
      8. Checklist
    14. Chapter 9. Further resources and beyond
      1. Expanding Kanban to new areas of business and life
        1. Scaling Kanban up, down, and out
        2. Personal Kanban
      2. Mixing Agile and Lean with Kanban
      3. Why Kanban works
        1. Single-piece flow
        2. Theory of constraints (TOC)
        3. Drum-buffer-rope
      4. Improving beyond Kanban
        1. Critical chain
        2. Lean development
        3. Global optimization
      5. Checklist
    15. Index