Applying Kanban practices to accelerate Agile teams Cheat sheet

In my talk at the London Lean Kanban Days 2016 I’ve talked about using Kanban practices to help out agile teams that have gotten stuck and/or are struggling with their way of working.

The main purpose is to share experiences on the problems teams run into and how we’ve help teams to improve the way they work using practices from the Kanban method. Read more after the jump.

Common patterns in agile teams
What stands out is that teams seem to run into similar problems over time. Throughout the years we’ve been working and coached with many teams and we noticed that there seem to be a couple patterns that frequently occur in agile teams. These patterns are:

  • Frequently failed commitments due to too much ad hoc work
  • A majority of slow moving work that results in long (>30 days) lead time on work items
  • Work spanning multiple (Scrum) sprints due to dependencies on external (third party) contributors and suppliers
  • Low predictability of lead times
  • High amount of work items that are discarded or abandoned mid process
  • High degree of specialization within the team. Strong need for knowledgesharing

I’ve created a cheat sheet with suggestions on how to start addressing and fixing the patterns. Hopefully it helps teams and coaches to get that continuous improvement engine going. If you see any other patterns please let me know so I can update it!

Here’s how to read the cheat sheet:

On the vertical axes you can see different practices. The horizontal axes show patterns that occur often. Some cells might be empty. That means that applying the practice is recommended in general but wasn’t key in fixing the problem.

You can download the cheat sheet here:

Here’ is a little disclaimer though: Most of the solutions for teams are very much dependent on the context the team operates in. For that reason, there might be far better ways to fix the problem or it might even just fix a symptom of the real problem. I’m aware of that and the cheat sheet is not to provide an ultimate solution.

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