Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Kanban - Part II

Yesterday we had a brain storming session on what kanban would look like for the team.  I must say it generated a ton of good conversation.  Here are a couple of key points that I remember.

Someone mentioned that a team of testers could spend a majority of their time in the design phase, especially facilitating the development of Cucumber scripts.  It was suggested that one tester each week focus on this area and rotate the responsibility each week.  Another suggestion was to pair a tester and developer for each story.  The primary premise discussed was that if effective Cucumber scripts are developed then further down the process testers would know what to test even though they did not participate in the design phase.

Another key point was with respect to the current defect backlog.  How do we keep the defect backlog from building?  The team concluded that we need a dedicated swim lane in the process dedicated to fixing defects.  Dan Anderson shows in his book a good example where X% of the capacity is dedicated to defect resolution. 

What happens if a story is full of defects?  The conclusion was that the story remains in the process and is not released.  Since the team is inspecting the process daily, they can make adjustments to provide potential solutions.  One approach might be paired-development practices which provides real time training and retrospectives on what is happening with the story.  The ultimate conclusion is that if the team only got one story deployed each week they were adding incremental value to the business.  This should not happen often, but the bottom line is that it is OK to tweak the process on a daily basis and focus on deploying high quality valued features.

The one scary piece that we did not resolve was dealing with complexity.  Occasionally an Epic story comes into the team's backlog.  During the design phase we should be able to dissect and break the Epic into smaller stories, but the concern became how do we make sure the stories get implemented in the right order and that all of the stories that comprise the whole get assembled, tested, and deployed.  Adjusting for complexity will be a fun challenge, but a challenge never the less.

We talked about buffer zones and capacity limits.  We have no clue where to set the capacity limits.  It was suggested that we minimize the WIP so that we can gain confidence in the process and trust in the quality of the features being produced.

I must admit I am excited about this approach.  I know we will fall flat on our face a couple of times, but we will get up, collaborate, and continuous improve the process.

Stay tuned for Part 3.  We plan to walk through some real scenarios.


Unknown said...

Hey Carl,

Just to let you know that I found your post fascinating, and Tweeted about it. This was David Anderson's reaction:
"remarkable insights from someone so new to #kanban. Predicting bottlenecks, risk managed bifurcation of work for relief"
"this blog shows that someone can read the current #kanban book & deduce advanced techniques w/out training. Very cool!"

Just to let you know that you're doing an excellent job, and I'll keep reading!


Carl said...

Thanks for your kind reply! I have a ton to learn, but molding testing and quality into this process is very exciting to me. We will be doing a mock exercise today, so hopefully more to post!