Kanban in Video, Post and Book

I’ve been using the Kanban method for several years now and I recently introduced my latest team to its joys. I do a lot of arm waving to explain the method but I also direct them to some essential viewing/reading. So I thought I’d share my Kanban recommendations – one video, two posts and a book.

If video is your thing then try this one: Kanban applied to Scrum. In 7 minutes BTI360 explains the basics of both Scrum and Kanban.

If you want something to read, more a blog kind of thing, then Jeff Patton has a great post that attempts to be Kanban Over Simplified.

But if you’re a reader with a taste for something more chunky then you might appreciate the free mini-book by Henrik Kniberg and Mattias Skarin: Kanban Scrum Minibook: Making the most of both.

If that whetted your appetite and you’d like a little bit of theoretical background then check out Little’s Law: Isn’t it a Linear Relationship

I recommend all of the above. Of course there is lots of other material but google will help you find it.

Hazard Warning: Remember that Agile is about “Individuals and interactions over processes and tools”. Kanban is useful but it is just a tool to improve a process. It is the people that count.

3 thoughts on “Kanban in Video, Post and Book

  1. Interesting post Steve, I looked at the video and sadly my immediate reaction was WTF!
    I may be doing Scrum wrong but the issues he raises about Scrum inefficiencies (aside from the batch) are simply not true.
    The lack of visualisation of steps on the board is only true if you don’t break your stories into tasks (I have never seen a team do that).
    The second part on partially completed work and task switching does not stack up either. Has he never heard of the team focusing on the top couple of stories and getting them finished before moving on to the next ones.
    Finally the random dig at retrospectives saying that Kanban teams fix the problems immediately and Scrum teams wait 2-4 weeks to fix the is not true either. You would have to be crazy to ignore an issue that is causing the team pain and say “let’s leave it until the retrospective!

    On a positive note the other links are all good well balanced material.


    • Mike, I recommended the video because it gives a reasonable summary of Kanban and is short. I agree that the video takes a couple of swipes at Scrum-out-of-the-box. I didn’t mind this as I making recommendations for Kanban not Scrum. Having said that I see some merit to two of the Scrum criticisms. With due care people can overcome these issues, and you’ve highlighted how to do that, but you’re very experienced and some others might not have the necessary insight to adjust their Scrum process appropriately. It does look to me, from the other side of the planet, that you’ve brought some Kanban thinking into your version of Scrum. Working on a couple of stories simultaneously is essentially imposing a WIP limit inside your Sprints. Very sensible but not standard Scrum. From my perspective Kanban has a greater emphasis than Scrum on making the detailed steps in the process visible. That doesn’t mean you can’t do it in Scrum, you clearly do, just that it isn’t the focus of Scrum-out-of-the-box and some Scrumers might not do it. I completely agree with you about process issues – fix them when you see them.

      • Interestingly Steve, I don’t think my ideas have come from Kanban at all. I have been doing this pattern way before the Kanaban movement was popularised. This was taught to me back in the early days, even simple WIP limiting ideas like avatars were around then.
        There have been implicit Lean practices in Scrum from way back when (read the poppendieks first book). Where Kanban does this better is making them explicit.

Comments are closed.