Why Learn Kanban Ace?

How to Read this Document

This document answers many questions for different people. If you are not sure what is Agile, Lean, or Kanban we recommend that you read the whole page. It will explain all these topics in a very visual and practical way!

However if you are very familiar with Agile methods, like Scrum or XP we encourage you to dive in immediately to our Kanban topics: Open Kanban and the Kanban Ace method. Just click here to skip our introduction material.

Finally, if you already know about Open Kanban and want to dive in to the details that make the Kanban Ace method unique, and a great alternative to Scrum, Scrumban, or LKU Kanban please start in our Kanban Ace section.

Introduction - What is Agile?

In essence Agile Development is a way of doing things, and a mindset that enables us to quickly respond to change, and deliver working software with a minimum of waste and a maximum of value. Value here means the business gets what it wants, the customers are satisfied, and the development team is happy.

Why we need Agile?

The Problem

Before the Agile Manifesto in the 1980s and 1990s there was a trend to use traditional Project Management & Engineering tools like Gantt charts, MS Project, PERT and the Critical Path Method to manage software projects. In addition complex or “heavy” methodologies like Waterfall and RUP were in fashion.

The problem is that building software is not like building a house or a bridge. Most of the effort is invisible, only user interfaces are visible and that is a small portion of the effort.

 curvy=

In addition building a software solution implies that the problem is well known, and users know exactly what they want. However this is seldom the case, users have an idea of what they want, but as they see the screens or the software working they usually will change their minds, sometimes completely! Add to this the pressures of the market and you have 21st century business: heavy competition, fickle users, and change everywhere.

No wonder is hard to develop software with tools made to build buildings! We need Agile!

The Agile Movement

On February 11, 2001, 17 Software Professionals met at Snowbird Ski Resort, in Utah, to discuss how their Light Weight methods to run and manage Software projects could solve the nightmare that heavy methodologies, and old engineering tools had created.

Introduction - What is Agile?

In essence Agile Development is a way of doing things, and a mindset that enables us to quickly respond to change, and deliver working software with a minimum of waste and a maximum of value. Value here means the business gets what it wants, the customers are satisfied, and the development team is happy.

Why we need Agile?

The Problem

Before the Agile Manifesto in the 1980s and 1990s there was a trend to use traditional Project Management & Engineering tools like Gantt charts, MS Project, PERT and the Critical Path Method to manage software projects. In addition complex or “heavy” methodologies like Waterfall and RUP were in fashion.

The problem is that building software is not like building a house or a bridge. Most of the effort is invisible, only user interfaces are visible and that is a small portion of the effort.

 curvy=First they discussed their own solutions to learn from each other, represented on the meeting were several Light-Weight methods: Adaptive Software Development, Scrum, Crystal, Extreme Programming, DSDM, Pragmatic Programming and Feature Driven Development. Later they found common ground, common values and principles. Their efforts became the seed of the Agile Movement which today touches areas even beyond IT, and their conclusions and main points became the Agile Manifesto:

Agile Manifesto PictureWe are uncovering better ways of developing
software by doing it and helping others do it.
Through this work we have come to value:

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan

That is, while there is value in the items on
the right, we value the items on the left more.

Highlighted above are the 4 Agile Values: People and Communications, Working Software, Collaboration and Embracing Change. In addition the Agile Manifesto identified 12 Principles to take those values into practice.

Agile itself is not any individual method like Scrum, XP, Crystal or even Kanban. Agile, as previously stated is a mindset and a way of doing things, expressed in a set of values and principles to deliver on its vision of working software, increased productivity and value. An easy way to visualize and understand this is to see our Agile Pyramid on the right, below, and click on it to zoom.

What is Kanban?

Agile Pyramid by AgileLion Institute

In short Kanban is another Agile method, just like Extreme Programming, Scrum or Crystal. This means Kanban is a way to achieve Agility for Software Development or IT. However, unlike the original Agile methods Kanban has strengths no other method has.

For a deeper discussion of what is Kanban today you can read our article on the subject here. Just remember that Kanban is Agile and Lean.

Why learn Kanban?

Kanban is truly a 21st century Agile method, it has advantages that make it a great alternative to any other Agile method, and these advantages make it worth learning and using in your organization

                                                                                                   

The Kanban Ace Method Advantage

Kanban Ace is the same Kanban Agile and Lean method we just described above, but it adds a few key strengths that set it apart, and make it ideal for IT, software development or any innovative business.

First Kanban Ace is the first Open Kanban Method. Open Kanban is a fully open source Agile & Lean method to improve the productivity of any organization or project. The Kanban Ace Method takes the Open Kanban know-how and practices and adds additional techniques and tools to answer the needs of people in IT, Software Development or business.

Second Kanban Ace is more than just a methodology; it is a new way to manage a project. The Kanban Ace method welcomes Project Managers, and embraces a new way to deliver value using Kanban in IT and business projects.

Third the Kanban Ace method embraces Technical Excellence. While Scrum, LKU Kanban and other methods argue that Technical Excellence can be left out, and there is some merit to this idea, since it allows those methods to be lighter; we argue that it is a major mistake to ignore technical excellence. How many times have you received a failed, or flawed product that had great project management, but horrible execution like a defective parka, a broken app, or a renovation product gone wrong. They go wrong mostly because the people doing the work have not master their area of expertise. The Kanban Ace method corrects this by adding techniques related to Technical Excellence such as software Release Management, Test Driven Development, SOLID object oriented design, and portfolio level dashboards to organize work.

Fourth the Kanban Ace method is fully up to date with the latest knowledge and practices from both the Agile and Lean movements, honed into a coherent method that focuses on Software Development, IT and innovative business.

Finally we wanted to list some of the benefits the Kanban Ace methods provides to different professionals who decide to learn it:

  • As a Project Manager you will be able to see and know what is going on in your projects in minutes, not hours. Work will be visible and manageable. No more hours spent trying to manage a project using MS Project or Excel.
  • For developers it will empower you to contribute to the development effort in a visual way, and it will highlight your ideas and input to the team. In addition the Kanban Ace method will ensure a sustainable pace for your efforts.
  • For IT Architects, Managers and VPs it will allow you to see the big picture of a project or operation, and in addition it will help you improve all of it to make your department, your team more productive and effective.
  • For Entrepreneurs. It allows you to learn faster, and to adapt to the marketplace. Eric Ries, leader of the Lean Startup movement recommends it
  • For Agile or Lean Consultants it will allow you to give your customers a fresh Agile & Lean method that is easy to implement, but very powerful. Unlike Scrum, the Kanban Ace method does not need any new roles, or radical changes. Instead the Kanban Ace method provides you a smooth and visual way to improve productivity with a minimum of overhead.

Like a precision watch, Kanban Ace gears improve your flow and process dramatically.When you finish our class you will be able to:

  • Understand the Agile and Lean movements, and how their ideas help you manage your work, or project better.
  • Master Open Kanban values and practices, and be able to put them in practice in your own business or IT project.
  • Use Kanban boards whether electronic or physical ones to manage work, to make efforts visible, and to involve all your team in continuous improvement of your work.
  • Master the Kanban Ace advanced techniques such as Kanban Gears to take your team, your department or organization to a much higher level of efficiency and productivity.
  • Motivate your team and lead it to achieve project and operational success, while keeping good team morale. Thanks to Open Kanban values, practices and the Kanban Ace Shield technique.

Finally here are few other advantages of our Kanban Ace training itself:

  • Our classes are delivered online, anywhere in the world.
  • Our classes are live, not recorded, so you can ask questions to the Kanban Ace Coach anytime.
  • Full HD video recordings of every class are made available, so you can review your class anytime.
  • All the presentation slides are given to our students in PDF format.
  • We encourage participation, questions, and we tailor our live class with your input.
  • Our Certificate of Completion. After participating in all your class sessions.

Finally for those wishing to enhance their professional credentials we offer the Certified Kanban Ace class. Unlike other certifications, ours is based on responding a realistic IT business case with the knowledge and techniques learned in our Kanban Ace classes. No memorization needed, just a clear demonstration of your skills.

So there you have it, many reasons why the Kanban Ace method is worth learning! Kanban Ace makes Agile and Lean simpler to achieve, and delivers a valuable way to succeed in today's changing world. We hope these reasons motivate you to consider taking a class with us.

Image credts: Foggy Road by Sykez Tom. Watch mechanism by Alex Brown. Both licensed via Creative Commons.