Kanban in 30 days

In my quest to read all published books about Kanban, the time has come to ”Kanban in 30 days” by Tomas Björkholm and Jannika Björkholm. The book is subtitled ”Modern and efficient organization that delivers result” and has 106 pages. It was released in 2015. As yes, this is another book coming out from the vivid Kanban community in Sweden.

””Kanban

Content

As hinted by the title, the chapters are divided by days in in a fictive month (30 days) to learn and start using Kanban. They are:

  • Chapter 1: Days 1-2 – Understanding Kanban, Lean and Agile
  • Chapter 2: Days 3-5 – Getting to Know Your System
  • Chapter 3: Days 8-9 – Visualizing Your Process and Creating Your Initial Kanban Board
  • Chapter 4: Days 10-11 – Setting the Limits
  • Chapter 5: Days 12 – Choosing the Roles and Meetings You Need
  • Chapter 6: Days 15 – First Day Running Kanban
  • Chapter 7: Days 16-29 – Improving Your Process
  • Chapter 8: Days 30 – Release Planning

First chapter starts with describing the four foundational principles and the six core practices of Kanban. Short introductions to Lean and Agile are also present. Next chapter continues to go into a little more into detail and tells about classes of service and value stream mapping.

Chapter 3 is about visualization and the concept of stories and one story per swim lane are explained (swim lanes corresponds to horizontal  ”rows” on the Kanban board, in conjunction to the vertical ”columns” that represents the step in the work process that are visualized). A cool alternative to the standard Kanban board (with rows and columns) is also presented, in the form of a architectural drawing!

One whole chapter covers the art of setting WIP (Work In Process) limits together with the concept of Theory of constraints. Despite the Kanban principle of Initially, respect current roles, responsibilities & job titles some new roles are introduced. They are: Kanban Master, Product Owner/Product Champion and Chief Product Owner/Project Manager. A set of suggested meetings is also present in this chapter.

In chapter 6 the time has come to start the first day of using Kanban. Full day activities are suggested for this first day. When you are up and running, the focus switch to kaizen, to continuously improve the work process. PDCA is for example mentioned as one way of doing this. Final chapter is about release planning. One way of quick estimation is presented, by dividing your work into three bunches and then into nine bunches if needed.

Recommendation

All in all, I was positively surprised by this book! It covers what you need to know to get Kanban stated and running. As for any short agile book (around 100 pages), you may want to look elsewhere if you want to dig deeper into the theories. I particularly like the separation of days in a month to point out chapters to read (however I did not try it myself while reading). If you are new to Kanban and want to learn more, this book is definitely a good alternative to start with!

All the best,
 Tomas from TheAgileist

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