Thursday, January 27, 2011

A great Kanban App - Simple Kanban

I love this app. Simple, Effective, True to spirit of Kanban (no frills or show off designs) and makes project management communication intuitive and transparent to all stakeholders. The focus is on the movement of tasks in various project stages to completion.
Traditional Project Management focuses on 2 areas.
1. Tasks complete and calculate % project complete based on this roll up score.
2. Control flow of tasks to manage resources and dependencies.
Kanban addresses these 2 areas differently and in my opinion more correctly.
1. Task complete is not equal to % Project complete. It is possible that we burn money on completing tasks, but have failed to realize output. If you look at the board, the % Project complete is a function of your
(Release Ready Queue count - Total queue list count)/total queue.
**Total Queue list should exclude release ready queue count. Ignore negative sign while looking at %.

2. It is important to optimize resources time and hence instead of managing task dependencies through dates, manage on keeping the queue active and moving. This way, resources can pick up tasks in queue after they finish the first job. This frees up tight dependency waiting lines thereby boosting productivity for both teams (in dependency chain).
Release control on tasks completion and focus on managing queue. This means that instead of saying "Finish task by a certain date" , you will focus to say "Move deliveries to final queue by a certain date." Working backwards, you will start to focus on moving current tasks to next queue before the next queue dries out and the current task queue overflows with backlog.
It is a perfect pitch to have tasks waiting for resources than resources waiting for tasks. Resources working on tasks earn revenues. Resources not having tasks are cost leaks.

Do not control resources working time (there are unproductive hours in a day for every one), rather direct energies to control time spent on tasks. This means that instead of checking if a resource is punching job card for 9/10 hours, check and control if Task A consumes more time than estimated and how it affects the queue build up Velocity.
Kanban charts give away a lot of answers while we follow them than chase problems for solutions.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Positive Endorsement with SCRUM: Simpler Schedules, Recurring Habits

For a long time, as a manager, when I put together a schedule, releases happened according to a predefined dates or so it seemed. When i looked back to realize the patterns, it was a surprise.

The patterns that emerged from my schedules was that release dates pretty much happened on a certain day of the week. Let us say, Wednesdays is where 70% of my releases were done. Remaining 20% releases always alternate between 2 days. (Say Fridays and Thursdays). But this was arrived after a laborious exercise and arrived after careful considerations of work, tasks and dependencies.

And one rule, that  I usually follow is to not give too much lag between deliveries. This is another important consideration that sustains interest and reduces risk of changes and wild ideas that change course. So the timing between 2 deliverable is consistent and coupled with release dates falling on same day, it is an easy one row schedule that can be set up as a recurring meeting request.

A simpler schedule that can sit on your calendar allows you to develop recurring habit. And this recurring habit ensures you dedicate the time required and it does not accede to other priorities. Further, allowing to set an expectancy date, gives expectations a positive endorsement and looking forward for further conversations. Just make sure that the waiting period is worth it with a new release, new fixes and make it fresh with a good presentation.

SCRUM is a great tool to set up invites. With fixed duration sprints, you always develop the recurring habit to see something new, fresh and ready to ship version that sustains the interest and gives expectations a positive endorsement.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year

As we start our first day of week in new year, I wish and pray Prosperity for your

  1. Ideas, Wishes and Dreams
  2. Family, Friends and Acquaintances
  3. Happiness, Health and Wins
  4. Business, Wealth and Society
  5. Calm, Contentment and Care
  6. Goals, Mission and Truth
  7. Knowledge, Learning and Actions
Have a all-round, evergreen, everlasting, successful NEW YEAR 2011.

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