- Paperback: 360 pages
- Publisher: Manning Publications; 1 edition (March 17, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1617291056
- ISBN-13: 978-1617291050
- Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 24 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #197,450 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Kanban in Action 1st Edition
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From the Publisher
This book is divided into four parts, each with a different purpose, aimed at being your companion as you learn kanban:
- Part 1, “Learning kanban”
- Part 2, “Understanding kanban”
- Part 3, “Advanced kanban”
- Part 4, “Teaching kanban”
From The Preface
Do you want to better understand how your work works and what is happening on your team or in your workplace? Would you benefit from being able to focus on a few small things instead of constantly having to switch between multiple projects? Do your users and stakeholders want new features delivered now rather than some other day? Do you think that you and your coworkers need to keep improving and learning?
Then kanban is for you.
Do you want to get started with kanban as soon as possible, without spending too much time on abstract theory and history and splitting hairs about different methods? Do you want to know how people in the kanban community have used kanban in practice to face different challenges?
Then this book is for you.
This book is a down-to-earth, no-frills, get-to-know-the-ropes introduction to kanban. It’s based on lots of practice, many observations, and some hearsay (!) from two guys who have worked with and coached dozens of kanban teams. We’ve also talked and taught at conferences and actively participated in user groups and the kanban community over the last few years.
In this book, you’ll read about simple but powerful techniques to visualize work: how to design a kanban board, how to track work and its progress, how to visualize queues and buffers, and even such nitty-gritty details as how colors and other enhancements can help you to organize and track your work items.
You’ll also pick up a lot of practical advice about how to limit your work in process throughout the workflow, such as how to set the limit in different ways depending on context, and how to understand when and how to change it.
With these two tools in hand—kanban and this book—you’re ready to get down to business and help your work flow through the system as you learn and improve your process further and further. You’ll learn about things like classes of service, how planning and estimation are done in kanbanland, about queues and buffers and how to handle them, and—well, you’ll learn a lot of things that you’ll need to help your team become a little better every day.
"This wonderful little book is a gentle introduction to Kanban by Marcus Hammarberg and Joakim Sunden. It explains the theory behind flow-based processes and provides a ton of practical implementation tips on everything from visualizing work to how to properly take out a sticky note." - Gojko Adzic
From the Inside Flap
"Provides fantastic and patient detail."
--From the Foreword by Jim Benson, Author of Personal Kanban
"No mucking around ... gets to the heart of kanban from the first page. A must-read!"
--Craig Smith, Unbound DNA
"Many good examples clarify the theory and distill the authors' practical experience."
--Sune Lomholt, Danske Bank
"A practical way to start with kanban ... and learn the theory along the way."
--Ernesto Cárdenas Cangahuala, Avantica Technologies
Top customer reviews
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In general, I am a fan of Kanban and believe that there are principles that can be used in any implementation (traditional, Agile, Scrum, etc) and not just Kanban. My comments are mainly focused on the book, compared to the subject, and I do plan on doing a more in-depth discussion of Kanban in future posts.
What I Liked:
* The book is both practical and pragmatic. You can get dirty using Kanban quickly with a minimum of theory and overhead.
* The first chapter nicely introduces the material by telling a short story about a software development team being introduced to Kanban
* The pass the pennies game is mentioned and discussed. It’s a great resource that I can never find easily. There is also an entire chapter dedicated to teaching games.
* The authors focus on three simple principles (visualize, limit work in process, and manage flow) that form the foundation of Kanban. This is central to their pragmatic approach, but they also provide a sidebar conversation that explains how this varies from other Kanban material.
* The authors support and encourage a large physical kanban board, even if you also have an electronic board. The main reasons are that this server as an information radiator and as a natural gathering place for the team.
* There is a fabulous section about the daily standup along with practices to makes your event efficient and productive. These practices include “walk the board” and “focusing on smells”. This section is invaluable and can be used by any Agile practitioner to improve their daily stand ups.
* There is a lot of material covered in 310 pages, not only Kanban-centric topics such as WIP and flow management but also topics such as #noestimates, retrospectives, root-cause analysis, statistical process control, and cumulative flow diagrams.
* External material is referenced often in the book and there is a great appendix for related books, blogs, and twitter accounts.
* You can get a free electronic version (pdf, epub, kindle) by registering your physical copy of the book because it is a Manning publication.
What I Didn’t Like:
* I wasn’t a huge fan of the characters or the icons. I think having characters can help make a connection with the reader, but thought it was overdone. For example, I honestly can’t remember if Eric was a developer or tester.
* “Line of cards” estimating is discussed and the material is present well. However, I don’t know why “affinity estimating” is never mentioned, which is the more common name for the technique.
* “He’s an agile coach; naturally he has stickies with him at all times.” (p.7)
* “Remember, we want it simple and easy. If you see a need to later, you can always change it.” (p. 13)
* “Work isn’t done until it’s producing value to the customer”. (p. 18)
The first part deals with the basic principles of Kanban, using visual boards to show and manage work in progress, managing queues and bottlenecks and distributing and limiting work across team members. The second part explains how to manage continuous process improvement, how to deal with estimation and planning and how to define and implement different classes of service.
My impression is that this book will be most useful to people completely new to Kanban, who are investigating the concepts or starting to adopt this process. If you already use Kanban, you might find the chapters on managing bottlenecks and process metrics interesting.
Compared to David Anderson’s book, Kanban in Action is more approachable for beginners. Each important concept is described with lots of small, concrete examples, which will help readers new to Kanban put things into perspective, but also reinforce the message that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Anderson’s book goes in more depth to explain the theory behind the practice, and this book has more practical information and concrete advice on topics such as setting work in progress limits, managing different types of items on a visualisation board and choosing workflow metrics. If you’re researching this topic or starting to implement Kanban, it’s worth reading both books.
I wish I would have had this book as a learning starting point instead of David Anderson’s 'blue book' (regardless of the huge merit of that book and its author, of course). Learning-wise, Kanban In Action is really really good and as a consequence, I think it is an excellent book for anyone new to Kanban. It sometimes reminded me of the Head First series, which is also great at making concepts stick. The imaginary Kanbaneros team's stories are quite useful in that context, next to a truckload of real-world practical advice. As of now, I will advise any kanban newbie in our teams to start right here, with Kanban In Action.
This is a real "in action" book: every time a new concept is introduced everything is explained using simple examples instead of going down in the theory behind it and the reader is provided with lots of practical tips (many from real life cases) on how to apply it.
This makes it very easy to follow for who's new to the topic, but even if you already had some experience with it you could find some new trick to try.
Last chapter was a pleasant surprise: the authors collected some game you could use to explain Kanban and its principles to the people you work with. Knew some of them already but it's nice to see those mentioned: improving the way we can teach things to others is a topic that never get's enough attention.
Most recent customer reviews
The book starts with introducing a fictional software team the...Read more