Kanban

Getting Things Done with Kanban

Startup Stock PhotosWe all strive to be the most effective in both our professional and business lives and there are plenty of ways to get there. To do lists, sticky notes, a constant flow of e-mails as well as methods to reduce our stress levels and increase productivity. Getting Things Done is a method that does just that and aims to create a work pace that frees up the mind and lets you focus on what is actually important instead of just being stressed. And while the original GTD talks about a filing system and physical lists, it is hard to miss the similarities to Kanban approach and wonder if it could enhance this process.

Getting Things Done or GTD is a concept introduced by David Allen in the early 2000s. In his quest to minimize the stress levels created by the constant flow of work, projects and emails, Allen developed a system to get us concentrated on just one thing at a time instead of keeping a running tab of things to do. To achieve this, he suggests one simple thing – taking the tasks out of your head and writing them down.

Most of the stress in our lives comes from uncertainty of the outcome and having a running list of things to do in our heads is the epithamy of that. Therefore GTD says you should get rid of that and instead write all of your tasks down, understand the desired outcome and then write down the next step that is going to help you achieve the end goal. This way, you can focus on one thing at a time, while knowing nothing will be forgotten.

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Tips & Tricks On Using Agile

tips-tricksTaking on Agile can be a tough challenge, especially if you have no previous experience with it and have no one to coach you. The good news, however, are that all it takes is time and determination to take over and understand. To make that process more smooth for both you and your team, we came up 17 tips and tricks. Use them to reach your goals sooner and more easily.

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Choose The Right Agile Method

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The next big question after deciding to go Agile is deciding which of the methods is right for you- will you go with Scrum, SoS or SAFe? While this decision is not an easy one and will take careful considerations, there are some aspects to each of the method that can help you along the way. Below you will find our easy 3 step process that will guarantee you consider the right options from the start.

 

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For more helpful Agile cheats and tips see The Ultimate Agile Guide.

 

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Transitioning to Agile: Running Effective Meetings

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Ah, meetings.. The thing we all hate, yet cannot live without. No matter what project management method your team is using, meetings are always a part of it one way or another. And while most of us associate these gatherings with long and strenuous activities that often yield little to no actual results, when transitioning to Agile you should keep an open mind.

The whole idea of Agile is being effective and eliminating practices that create waste. So when talking about meetings there is no surprise, the same rules apply. No matter the chosen method, all meetings have to have a clear purpose, duration and must yield a result. So to get the Agile meetings right from the start, you should understand that contrary to other practices every single meeting has a very specific value to add to the table.

  • Understand the reason of the meeting

Depending on your chosen Agile method, the number, complexity and scheduling of these meetings will differ. Scrum meetings are planned based on the length of iterations, while Kanban meetings are held once the team feels the need for them. However, no matter which method you have chosen, the first thing you will have to do is to understand the purpose behind each of the accompanying meetings.

More often than not, the meetings will be very distinctive and specific – sprint planning is only held for planning tasks of that one sprint. Daily standup only discusses the results and plans and so on. While at first, it may seem hard to keep track of all the different rituals, it is understanding the reason behind them that will help pull you out of the dark. Ultimately this will not only help you, but will also make your teams transition a lot smoother.

  • Go by the rules

Another thing that might be difficult to do at first and will possibly slip your mind later, is that the meeting rules and rituals are there for a good reason. It might seem silly to be standing during daily Scrum for the first few times, but this will help to keep the meeting short and on point. And while planning the work for only a two week iteration could seem very irresponsible and short sighted, you will later realize this way of working cuts a lot of planning time in the long run.

Therefore make sure to stay along the lines of the meeting rituals, especially in the beginning. They will create right practices and rituals within your organization and that will help you avoid overcrowded, extended and useless gatherings. And if you still feel that some rituals don’t work for you after you’ve completed a good number of iterations, you can change them. Only then you will have experience and will actually understand what will work for you.

  • Have a clear goal to be achieved

Lastly, before going into any meeting, make sure to have a very clear goal and a plan to achieve it. It may be to show your client the results of a sprint and to get an informative feedback in a review meeting or it might be as simple as catching up with the team and logging the progress in the daily Scrum. No matter the type of meeting, without understanding what you are trying to get out of it, you chances of success are slim.

In order to avoid the possibility of making your meetings redundant and fruitless, take some time beforehand and draw a mini plan to understand what you are trying to achieve, who should be involved and how long it might take. By doing that you will save your team a great deal of time and frustration as well as will achieve your goals faster.

Agile meetings and meetings from any other project management practice are not much different – they are all set up to improve project success. However, as with anything else, Agile tries to eliminate as much waste as possible. So to make you do just that, take note of why those meetings were set up and fulfill their requirements as best as you can.

Happy meeting!

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Scrum vs. Kanban vs. Scrumban – What’s the difference?

Scrum-Kanban-Scrumban for postingUnderstanding how do Agile methodologies differ can be a daunting task. Some get confused with the overwhelming amount of information, others are disappointed with the lack of clarity.

Ideal way is to have everything at single glance and compare pros and cons in each framework. To make sure it is easy enough, we present a short and clear table listing the main differences and similarities between Scrum, Kanban and Scrumban.

 

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For more helpful Agile cheats and tips see The Ultimate Agile Guide.

 

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Agile Hierarchy – How Are The Methods Related?

Have your ever got lost between all of the Agile practices and frameworks? With the methods evolving, changing and appearing constantly, it can get difficult to understand, how they evolved and turned into the form of today. Therefore we decided to make this quick cheat sheet for anyone wondering if SoSKanban and XP have anything in common.

Agile-Hierarchy

For more helpful Agile cheats and tips see The Ultimate Agile Guide.

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5 Tips For A Smooth Agile Transition

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Whether you are taking Agile on for the very first time, coming back to it after a previous attempt or simply going from one Agile method to another, there are some key things to remember if you want to keep the transition smooth. Check out our 5 key tips on a smooth Agile transition to end up on the right side of change.

  • Understand what is ahead

As with any change in life, first and foremost, you have to take some time and understand what is ahead. We are sure you have not chosen your new method impulsively and put in time and thought making sure it was the right fit. So do not cheat yourself and take some time aside to really understand how this change is going to affect your processes, your team and your company. It may seem silly but having a clear future vision in your head will help you better understand and guide the transition once it takes place.

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Scale Agile with DAD

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Keeping up with our previous coverage of scaled Agile approaches, this time we want to bring Disciplined Agile Delivery otherwise known as DAD to your attention. Like other similar frameworks it focuses on bringing the small scale practices into the big leagues and on shaping them to fit the new rules. Compared to previously discussed SoS, LeSS and SAFe, DAD is less descriptive and requires more Agile knowledge, however it allows for far greater flexibility within the team. So will you be scaling with DAD?

The framework known as DAD was first mentioned by Scott Ambler and Mark Lines in their book by the same name – Disciplined Agile Delivery. It was designed as a way to move past Scrum while the wholesome view and approach allowed teams to grow from small independent groups into large organizations.

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The Future of Agile

Agile-2016-teaserThe recently released State of Agile Report has not only brought great statistics, but also raised a few questions about just where Agile might be heading next. How will it look like in a couple of years, which interest groups will shape it and how much of what we today call Agile will actually change?

 

To get a better grip on these and other questions, we took another hard look at the stats and came up with what we think the answers will be. Check out the info-graphic below to find our predictions for the future of Agile.

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Adopting Agile to Sports Training

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There is no doubt Agile is no longer just a practice for developers. It has moved past only serving the small teams, past the specific types of teams and past the specific industries. While that is all widely known, sometimes it is still tough to grasp just how far Agile methods have come. That is until you hear that the methodology is now being adopted to sports training. Yes, you have read it right, Agile methods are now being adopted to organizing sports.

The first time we have heard about this new exciting development was from a Serbian physical coach Mladen Jovanović. He has been involved in various sports activities his whole life and has recently heard about Agile practices and Eylean Board.

Being an innovator he naturally got interested in how this may be adopted to his field and how it can benefit the parties involved. By creating several boards and dividing the process into clear steps, he managed to translate the Agile practices into sports seamlessly. To know more about his process and findings, watch this short video.

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