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Lean from the Trenches: Managing Large-Scale Projects with Kanban 1st Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1934356852
ISBN-10: 1934356859
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Editorial Reviews

Review

FANTASTIC! I know it's going to make a big dent in the world of software development. It's easily the most important book I have seen in the past year!
-Mary Poppendieck, Author of Lean Software Development Series


I read the whole thing end to end. In a word, FANTASTIC! Grounded, real, funny,
easy to read, smooth flow, good balance between theory and practice.
-Kent Beck, creator of Extreme Programming and Test-driven Development


Awesome. Kudos to you for documenting the everyday sort of decision making that has to happen for a big project to be successful. I hope it becomes a benchmark against which many more projects are judged.
-Ward Cunningham, inventor of the Wiki, pioneer of Agile software development


"FANTASTIC! I know it’s going to make a big dent in the world of software development. It’s easily the most important book I have seen in the past year!"

—Mary Poppendieck, Author of the "Lean Software Development" series

"I could not stop reading “Lean from the Trenches.” This book shows me that a big project can be run in a lean and agile way. For people in the trenches of large enterprises, stories like this make a huge difference."

—Yves Hanoulle, Change Artist at PairCoaching.net

"An excellent peek into a pragmatic application of the best of the agile processes in a real-world scenario. If you ever wondered “Am I doing it right?” then this book may just provide you with the answer. Every technical team lead interested in seeing how an agile process actually works should buy this now!"

—Colin Yates, Principle Engineer, QFI Consulting LLP, UK

From the Back Cover

You know the Agile and Lean development buzzwords, you've read the books. But when systems need a serious overhaul, you need to see how it works in real life, with real situations and people. Lean from the Trenches is all about actual practice. Every key point is illustrated with a photo or diagram, and anecdotes bring you inside the project as you discover why and how one organization modernized its workplace in record time.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Pragmatic Bookshelf; 1 edition (December 21, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934356859
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934356852
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #220,112 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

From the Publisher

Liftoff Creating Great Teams Real-World Kanban Lean from the Trenches Manage Your Project Portfolio, 2nd edition
Liftoff Creating Great Teams Real-World Kanban Lean from the Trenches Manage Your Project Portfolio, 2nd edition
Covers Align your team to one purpose: successful delivery. Start projects and teams the right way, with expanded concepts for planning, organizing, and conducting liftoff meetings. People are happiest and most productive if they can choose what they work on and who they work with. Self-selecting teams give people that choice - here's how to set them up. People are happiest and most productive if they can choose what they work on and who they work with. Self-selecting teams give people that choice - here's how to set them up. When systems need a serious overhaul, you need to see how it works in real life, with real situations and people. See how to deliver a successful project using Lean principles. You have too many projects, and firefighting and multitasking are keeping you from finishing any of them. Discover agile and lean ways to collect all your work and decide which projects you should do first, second, and never.
Page count 150 102 138 178 240

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
With Scrum and XP from the trenches, Henrik wrote one of the most important books in the agile literature. He did not write big theory, he wrote what he did and what worked for him. He did the same for Scrum and Kanban from the trenches. With Lean from the trenches he went a step further, he wrote about one specific project.

A lot of people in the agile world are asking for horror stories, to learn when things go wrong. Henrik wrote about what he did to make things right. No fancy glorified things, just plain and simple what the team did.
After I read the book, I tweeted, "I could not stop reading Lean from the trenches" and now a few months later I can say, and I have already used a few of his ideas.

What I like about Henrik, is that he does not attempt to change the world by selling idea's he invents. He "simply" makes good use of the tools that are available to all of us. Now let there be no mistake, I'm sure it sound much easier in the book then it really was. I don't mind. Lean from the trenches shows me a big project can be run in a lean and agile way.

For people in the trenches of large enterprises, stories like this make a huge difference.
Henrik thank you for writing them.
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I once heard the author speak at Oredev about his papers as an occasional brain-dump, kind of emptying short term memory so that he could learn new things, and this book is a great example of that. Without dogma, buzzwords or marketing, Henrik Kniberg notes lessons learned from a uniquely interesting project, where lean software delivery principles were applied to a large scale public sector effort with great success. I particularly love that there is no preaching, the author does not claim that what worked for them works universally, but tells a great story with deep insights and lets readers make their own conclusions.

I read the book in one go, without putting it down, during a five hour flight. The first part is the case study of the delivery of the Digital Investigation System for the Swedish Police Authority. The second part is a deeper dive into the techniques and tools used to set up and run the delivery process. The book is for experienced practitioners and newbies alike. People new to Kanban and Lean software delivery will benefit from a real-world warts-and-all case study, with a pretty good example of how things were set up. Examples of process metrics, bug handling, setting up a Kanban board across teams and handling technical stories will be particularly interesting to people who had some prior knowledge but haven't seen the techniques work at large. Part II will probably help newbies make a lot more sense out of Part I, so if you are completely new to the topic it might be worth reading the second part first.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book was OK, but IMHO lacked a bit of credibility- It sounded like the author had been successful with this methodology on his own project, and was presenting all the things he did.

some of them were good, some of them were questionable, but because it was a discussion of one project rather than a "best practice based on many projects", the wheat was completely mixed with the chaff.

On the plus side, it did have lots of ideas, and was very easy to read - and the central premise of the book (managing projects with Kamban) was covered well for his specific situation
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Format: Paperback
Writing a book on software project management methodologies is not something to be taken lightly. One runs the risk of not satisfying anyone while trying to cater to the wishes of everyone. Even though the title and cover pages are 100% buzzword compliant, which is a warning sign by itself, Henrik Kniberg seems to have achieved a satisfying result in his book 'Lean from the Trenches: Managing Large-Scale Projects with Kanban'.

The good parts

The book is short. In 150 pages you cannot go into details and start theoretizing, and this is good because Kniberg promises to do one thing well and he delivers it: A case study of a 60-person software development team who used a mixture of Kanban, Agile (Scrum) and XP methodologies.

His explanations are generally clear and his definitons are sharp enough for practical purposes. He does not preach and never takes a 'here is the absolute truth, use it as it is' approach. He tells the his team's story and does not hide the parts that are still evolving.

The chapter 'Agile and Lean in a Nutshell' is one of the best chapters. In only 10 pages, this chapter succeeds to provide the reader with the essence of those methodologies. The subsection 'One Day in Kanban Land' is a very nice example of using simple visualizations and storytelling to explain a concept in very concrete terms.

The core ideas such as 'why WIP (Work In Progress) should be limited', 'how to reduce the test automation backlog', and 'cause effect diagrams' are very well explained. I have also liked the chapter where the author justifies their use of physical Kanban boards and how they scaled those boards to 60 people.

The bad parts

The book is short.
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