Top Kanban Software (from AgileScout)

As I was looking for kanban software I came across this post from the pros as the Agile Scout. It seemed very “un-lean” to do anything but repost the info here!

reposted by Bob H


Top Agile Tools – Best Kanban Tools

http://agilescout.com/best-kanban-tools/
Kanban is growing like wildfire. Many organizations are finding value in this simple process via a “pull” system: The production of work is determined by the demand from the customer.

You have a choice:

1. You can build a Kanban board.

2. You can use a tool and an actual board!

Here is a list of the best Kanban tools out there today.

Stay tuned for Tool Reviews from your very own Agile Scout!

AgileZen:

Flow:

FogBugz Kanban:

Hansoft:

JAM Circle: *Open Source

Kanbanery:

KanbanPad:

KanbanPM:

Kanban Tool:

LeanKit Kanban:

Lino:

Qanban:

RadTrack:

Scrumy: *AGILE SCOUT REVIEWED!

Silver Catalyst:

Simple Kanban: *Open Source

SmartQ:

Swift-Kanban:

Target Process:

Trichord:

YouKan.eu:

Got a cool tool to add to the list? Let us know. We review stuff.

[Image Via]

The Amazing Adventures of Kanban

I decided to repost this since it is such a great way to think about the power of kanbans. It’s from Jon Miller from his blog “gemba panta rei” . Enjoy!
bh

By Jon Miller | Post Date: June 17, 2009 12:57 PM (http://www.gembapantarei.com/2009/06/the_amazing_adventures_of_kanban.html)

kanban man

Kanban was born nearly 60 years ago. It’s creator, Taiichi Ohno, intended kanban to combat the evil overlord Overproduction, Mother of All Wastes and her Minions of WIP. The battle is far from won. During those six decades kanban has been through some amazing adventures.

Kanban Gains Superpowers

Pokayoke has the power to prevent mistakes. Jiodka frees people to run machines intelligently, rather than be run by them. Heijunka has the power to take choppy demand and smooth it out. Kaizen has the power to make infinite small improvements. All of these players and their many friends bring order and harmony to a production system. Yet one stands above them all: kanban.

Kanban was endowed with three major powers. First is the the power to instruct the production of goods. Within the Toyota Production System and its imitators, only the kanban has the power to cause things to be made. Second is the power to instruct the movement of goods. Like its first power, kanban can cause things to be moved. Third and perhaps most important, kanban can motivate people towards continuous improvement by reducing its own size. Within a kanban system, the less kanban there is, the more improvement is needed. Like a true hero, the power of kanban increases as it diminishes its own presence. Amazing.

Kanban vs. the Communists

From the beginning, the powers of kanban were awesome. Overproduction was stopped in its tracks, Work In Process (WIP) was slashed, and various hidden wastes were exposed and removed through continuous improvement. Almost immediately kanban extended its reach outside of Toyota, the enterprise within which it was born, to its suppliers.

But there was no way that such drastic action would go unnoticed in Japan, the Land of Wa (harmony). A Japanese communist party member accused Toyota of using kanban to make unreasonable demands on suppliers to deliver products right away. Taiichi Ohno was summoned to the Japanese parliament to testify in defense of Toyota’s use of the cards to order suppliers to make deliveries of parts. In the end, the Japanese equivalent of the Fair Trade Commission instructed OEMs to limit the fluctuation of actual monthly orders to suppliers by no more than 10% from the firm monthly orders placed in advance.

Perhaps kanban was becoming too powerful. The government needed step in to curb kanban’s powers, or at least insure they were always used for good. It was a lesson learned. None of the others, not pokayoke, not jidoka, no tkaizen have been called to testify in front of the government, or to face down the communists.

Kanban: the Fickle Hero

But for all its powers kanban was at times fickle. To kanban, jidoka, SMED and pokayoke were just sidekicks, enablers. Kanban treated both 5S and Visual Controls as givens rather than equals. Kaizen may be an equal partner to kanban, but in private kanban lorded over kaizen because of its power to motivate others to improve. While these various players toiled away at making improvements and building systems, kanban expected that their work was all foundation building for the kanban system. Kanban never said a word of thanks, nor asked for one.

Like a temperamental artist who wants just the right type of bottled water and sandwiches in his dressing room, kanban said “I will only work for you if once the workplace is clean and visually organized, quality is reliable, lot sizes are small and a logistics system is in place to support me.” Kanban would not do the heavy lifting for you. Kanban would let you know when you’re failing, but may not always come to the rescue. Kanban is a powerful but fickle hero, relied on at your own risk.

Kanban on the Global Stage

In the 1980s Taiichi Ohno was invited to the USA to speak about the Toyota Production System. Unfortunately the organizers confused kanban, the most noticeable feature of TPS, for the system itself. Kanban stole the show, overshadowing the shadowing even the system it was designed to enable. This was not what its creator Taiichi Ohno intended.

As kanban took the global stage with hubris, inevitably its powers were misunderstood or misdirected. Without the protection of the limits on demand signal fluctuation, OEMs abused suppliers with what can be best described as quasi-kanban. Kanban saw its name sullied by impostors and imitators. Even when kanban was called to use its powers, too often it was pressed into service without the support of its friends pokayoke, SMED, heijunka, visual controls and 5S. Even when they were nearby, they were prevented from working as a team.

Kanban of 1,000 Disguises

Kanban’s powers were weakened as much was lost in translation. In order to effectively combat overproduction in its new and vastly diverging environments, kanban adopted a thousand disguises. Some were more effective than others. Each time kanban answered the call to battle overproduction, it seemed it was in a different form: a lamp, a card, a square on the floor, a box, a cart.

kanban as signal.png

Kanban continues to be misunderstood even today, with many unsure of which is the true face of kanban. But the battles rages on against the evils of overproduction.

Kanban and the Builders of Invisible WIP

Early in the 21st century, kanban found an unexpected band of allies. These people were prolific builders of invisible but deadly WIP. They were software developers. Appearing not as information traveling with the manufactured work product itself but rather represented on a task board, kanban works tirelessly to control even the invisible WIP of lines of code.

agile kanban.png

Once again, kanban added a new form to its one thousand disguises in order to combat overproduction in on a new battlefield.

Yes We Kanban

Today Kanban finds itself in an uneasy but increasingly important alliance with the Coders through the Limited WIP Society. Flying the banner of kanban’s creator and genius production system designer Taiichi Ohno, kanban has found a common aim with this league of mad scientists: to ultimately defeat WIP and it’s overlord Overproduction.

yes we kanban.png

How much progress will kanban’s alter-ego of Agile Kanban make in exercising its three superpowers across the software development world? Only time will tell.

Kanban Meets Dr. Bahri the Lean Dentist

Kanban may have met its match in Dr. Bahri, the pioneering practitioner of lean dentistry. Dr. Bahri has applied the powers of kanban to instruct the work that dentists and dental hygienists do, to instruct the movement of patients, and to motivate continuous improvement. Wouldn’t it be ironic if six decades into an amazing career, kanban goes for some dental work and finds the power of kanban applied to fixing its teeth?

The villains of overproduction, push and WIP never sleep. The amazing adventures of kanban continue…

Kanban Distilled for Managers

This is a repost from kanbandistilled.com/ . Their website reports that they will be back soon… but until then, here is a great explaniation of how a kanban can work in software development. If you’re interested, click here for a Lean Glossary (adapted from Richard Durnall’s blog).
 
Bob Hubbard, Atlanta Georgia USA

Kanban is a technique for managing a software development process in a highly efficient way. Kanban underpins Toyota’s “just-in-time” (JIT) production system. Although producing software is a creative activity and therefore different to mass-producing cars, the underlying mechanism for managing the production line can still be applied.A software development process can be thought of as a pipeline with feature requests entering one end and improved software emerging from the other end.

Software Pipeline

Inside the pipeline, there will be some kind of process which could range from an informal ad hoc process to a highly formal phased process. In this article, we’ll assume a simple phased process of: (1) analyse the requirements, (2) develop the code, and (3) test it works.

The Effect of Bottlenecks

A bottleneck in a pipeline restricts flow. The throughput of the pipeline as a whole is limited to the throughput of the bottleneck.

Using our development pipeline as an example: if the testers are only able to test 5 features per week whereas the developers and analysts have the capacity to produce 10 features per week, the throughput of the pipeline as a whole will only be 5 features per week because the testers are acting as a bottleneck.

Effect of Bottlenecks

If the analysts and developers aren’t aware that the testers are the bottleneck, then a backlog of work will begin to pile up in front of the testers.

The effect is that lead times go up. And, like warehouse stock, work sitting in the pipeline ties up investment, creates distance from the market, and drops in value as time goes by.

Inevitably, quality suffers. To keep up, the testers start to cut corners. The resulting bugs released into production cause problems for the users and waste future pipeline capacity.

If, on the other hand, we knew where the bottleneck was, we could redeploy resources to help relieve it. For example, the analysts could help with testing and the developers could work on test automation.

But how do we know where the bottleneck is in any given process? And what happens when it moves?

Kanban reveals bottlenecks dynamically

Kanban is incredibly simple, but at the same time incredibly powerful. In its simplest incarnation, a kanban system consists of a big board on the wall with cards or sticky notes placed in columns with numbers at the top.

Limiting work-in-progress reveals the bottlenecks so you can address them.

The cards represent work items as they flow through the development process represented by the columns. The numbers at the top of each column are limits on the number of cards allowed in each column.

The limits are the critical difference between a kanban board and any other visual storyboard. Limiting the amount of work-in-progress (WIP), at each step in the process, prevents overproduction and reveals bottlenecks dynamically so that you can address them before they get out of hand.

Worked Example

The board below shows a situation where the developers and analysts are being prevented from taking on any more work until the testers free up a slot and pull in the next work item. At this point the developers and analysts should be looking at ways they can help relieve the burden on the testers.

Notice that we’ve split some of the columns in two, to indicate items being worked on and those finished and ready to be pulled by the downsteam process. There are several different ways you can layout out the board. This is a fairly simple way. The limits at the top of the split columns cover both the “doing” and “done” columns.

Once the testers have finished testing a feature, they move the card and free up a slot in the “Test” column.

Now the empty slot in the “Test” column can be filled by one of the cards in the development “done” column. That frees up a slot under “Development” and the next card can be pulled from the “Analysis” column and so on.

Next steps

How to get started with Kanban…

  1. Map your value stream (your development process).
    Where do feature ideas come from? What are all the steps that the idea goes through until it’s sitting in the hands of the end-user?
  2. Define the start and end points for the Kanban system.
    These should preferably be where you have political control. Don’t worry too much about starting with a narrow focus, as people outside the span will soon ask to join in.
  3. Agree:
    • Initial WIP limits and policies for changing or temporarily breaking them
    • Process for prioritising and selecting features
    • Policies for different classes of service (e.g. “standard”, “expedite”, “fixed delivery date”). Are estimates needed? When choosing work, which will be selected first?
    • Frequency of reviews
  4. Draw up a Kanban board.
    All you need is a whiteboard and some Post-It™ notes. Don’t spend too much time making it look beautiful because it will almost certainly evolve.
  5. Start using it.
  6. Empirically adjust.

from kanbandistilled.com/