Author: A Narasimhan

CHOW #71– Unlimited Uses of Limiting WIP

BlockBusters is a team using Kanban. They have been getting noticed of late for missed SLAs and defective deliveries. There were some changes in the team as new members have joined the team and some additional support work has got added to their existing work. In the last couple of retrospectives team members have brought out several points about some of them not being aware of all aspects of work, some members pointing out that they could have helped and so on. It seems to be clear there is scope for improvement in several aspects. Some action items identified...

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Unlimited Uses of Limiting WIP

Limiting Work In Process (WIP) is very important for Agile teams and is highly recommended for Kanban teams as they are focused on identifying and removing blocks and thereby improving flow. Here are some benefits of limiting WIP observed in teams I have coached. Improved flow The first and most talked about among the benefits of limiting WIP is improvement in the flow of work.  Accumulating work items in the value stream chokes the flow as can be observed easily. It leads to several difficulties – priorities getting changed due to most priority items not getting completed, overheads of...

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Compelling reasons for successful Agile adoption

While there are many important aspects that help in successful adoption of Agile, I would like to write about one of them here and that is ‘a compelling reason for continuous improvement’. While some situations might force teams to take to Agile, I believe a reason always exists for continuous improvement in teams and it is a question of how well one can make it visible. In large organizations, it becomes more difficult in my experience. By Agile adoption I mean mainly moving towards self-organization and regularly identifying and working on improvements. There are many factors that influence these...

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CHOW #51– Energizing Continuous Improvement in Agile teams

Vijay is the Scrum Master of an operations team providing 24-hr support for various software products. They had few retrospectives but somehow the improvements were not well translated into action items and some of them were not even acted upon. But no one would question the team on why they were not completing the action items on identified improvements. Of late, retrospectives are becoming kind of boring and hardly any improvement surfaces during those sessions. The product owner and even managers are not really concerned and are just happy conducting the ceremony every two weeks. But as a serious Scrum Master, Vijay is really concerned and trying hard to find out ways by which he can help the team focus on continuous improvement. As a coach, how can you help Vijay in his task?   Suggested Solution: Vijay has to spend time with Product Owner (and managers) to understand whether they have any goals set for the team. Any organization would have goals and Vijay needs to understand the goals and help Product Owner to define those goals in terms of Epics or stories for the team. Many operations teams think that they need not do any ‘planning’ as Kanban does not mandate planning like Scrum does. While it is true for day-today work as the team would not even know what work would come the next day and...

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CHOW #32– Can you help the Product Owner of a team using Kanban?

Suri has just attended a two-day training on Product Ownership and has been made the Product owner of the Database support team. The team supports various Database products in the enterprise and work in multiple shifts. They have started using Kanban for the past three months but seem to have some problems in meeting customer expectations. Last month several customer complaints were received about delayed service. Having played the role of a Product Owner for a Scrum team for over six months, Suri is new to Kanban and is trying to figure out what best he can do to help the team to improve customer service. But he is not sure what should be the first thing that he should look into. Team’s throughput seems to be good. They are closing most tickets raised in a day though they are handling multiple types of work. Some are involved in projects spanning over couple of months but most of their time is dedicated to daily support. And despite the throughput which the team is maintaining, cycle team seems to be going up all the time.  What are some of the possibilities that Suri should explore as PO to help the team? I would like to hear your thoughts to help the Product Owner.   Suggested solution: As the Product Owner, Suri needs to analyse the situation taking into account the...

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