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Backlog-Grooming

The Value of Upstream Kanban for Backlog Grooming

I have spoken about this topic in several conferences in India in the last year. After my talk, I would get several requests to share a “template” of the Upstream process! The people who heard me in the conference understood the context and the problem that it was trying to solve. However, it is clear this is a common problem that many teams face and hence, I decided to write a blog about it.

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Lean/ Agile Adoption in IT Services

NimbleWork products have been the core execution platform for many IT service companies in India. We have a leadership position in the market, given that 4 of the Top 5 India based IT service companies use our products.

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Allocating WIP Limits for a Kanban System

I have seen people focus a lot on what the WIP limit should be for a Value Stream stage of a Kanban system. However, once the WIP limit is known, I haven’t seen much thought going into where to put those WIP limits. Hence, this blog!

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Turbocharge your Personal Kanban with GTD

Personal productivity and time management tools/methods have always been a subject of interest. Numerous methods and tools have been developed over the years. However, few seem to stick over time. Given that any tool or method needs a certain level of discipline at an individual level, is there a method that can really help you manage better, visualize what you need to do and most importantly, stick? In this blog, I am going to share my own experience of tackling this challenge.

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The Tangible Value of The “Intangibles”

One of the important aspects of The Kanban Method is Class of Service (CoS). CoS is a risk categorization mechanism for any work item. We identify 4 Classes of Service – Standard, Fixed Date, Expedite, and Intangibles – depending on customer expectation, value and loss of business value identified as cost of delay. For this blog, cards that are classified as Intangible CoS will be referred to as “Intangibles”.

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Due Dates in Kanban Systems

Many teams adopting Kanban come from Agile background. Agile thinking has discouraged the use of Due Dates. Due Dates breed undesirable behavior. Focus on Due Dates results in teams working under significant pressure. Quite often, that translates into short cuts in Design/ Testing activities. The net effect is that work quality is compromised and technical debt piles up.

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Capacity Planning for Dynamic Teams

Projects are often executed by dynamic teams. They start with a small core team and as the project gains momentum, add resources over time. This is commonly seen in IT service organizations that do fixed price projects. Fixed price projects have a defined scope that needs to be delivered within a contracted budget and within a negotiated timeline. For the purpose of this experience report, “Dynamic teams” or “Fixed Price projects” will be used interchangeably.

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Benefits of Kanban: 300% Cycle Time Reduction!

Over the last few years of steady-state usage of Kanban in our product management and engineering teams, we have achieved a number of dramatic improvements. Even considering that for us, it was – and is – a case of eating our own dog-food, these improvements are nothing short of incredible for a small product company where every minute, every dollar, every feature that is value to a customer, counts! So, we thought we should share our experience and benefits with the software and IT community in the hope that some of these will help you benefit as much or more than what we have been able to do. This post is the first in this series.

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