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Agile Coaches' Corner shares practical concepts in an approachable way. It is for agile practitioners and business leaders seeking expert advice on improving the way they work to achieve their desired outcomes. If you have a topic you'd like discussed, email it to, or tweet it with #agilethoughtpodcast.

Sep 6, 2019

This week, Daniel Vacanti is joining the podcast! Daniel is the co-founder and CEO of ActionableAgile, the world’s leading provider of predictive flow analytics for Agile processes. He is also the founder and CEO of Corporate Kanban, the premier Kanban training, coaching, and consulting partner who shows developers how to use their current software delivery processes to shorten software releases. They are among the world's leading experts in applying lean software solutions for all types of enterprises.


Today, Daniel Neumann and Daniel Vacanti will be talking all things Kanban. Daniel explains exactly what Kanban is, what it looks like in practice, the data side of Kanban and how it aids in making better decisions, the process of collecting data through Kanban, and the overall benefits of using Kanban. Daniel also gives a thorough walkthrough of how exactly to get started with Kanban starting right where you are.


Key Takeaways

What is Kanban?

Kanban is an agile methodology for managing the creation of products

With a focus on continuous delivery, Kanban has an emphasis on getting tasks done while continually improving the process

An important aspect of Kanban is to start with where you are at and not begin with making large changes right away

Kanban is also about making incremental, evolutionary change rather than radical leaps

The data side of Kanban and how it helps:

The metric side of Kanban is a way to bring objectivity into otherwise subjective conversations

Data is used to make better decisions by managing risk better, delivering value more efficiently, continuous improvement, and release planning

The simple process of collecting data through Kanban:

Define ending and starting points of the work process as a team or organization (to know when to start and end measurement)

After that, all you need from a data perspective is the timestamp when an item crosses that start point and endpoint (through this, you can begin to calculate work-in-progress, cycle time, throughput, and start making predictions)

To forecast data, Daniel recommends the Monte Carlo Simulation and cycle time scatter plot — ActionableAgile also does scatter plotting for you (all linked below)

Longterm benefits of collecting data:

Understanding how long it takes for an individual item to go through your process allows you to make accurate forecasts

Benefits of using Kanban:

Gives more accurate answers with a lot less effort than other methods

Uses lay language, which allows you to more clearly speak to your customers

How to get started with Kanban (in summarization):

Start with a basic understanding of your workflow

Define the points in which you consider work to have started and to have finished

Take a timestamp for every single item that goes through this process

Once you have that data, you can calculate cycle time, throughput, work-in-progress, all the flow metrics; and then put them into tools (such as the Monte Carlo Simulation or the cycle time scatter plot)


Mentioned in this Episode:

Daniel Vacanti (LinkedIn)

Corporate Kanban


Agile 2019 Conference

Monte Carlo Simulation

Cycle Time Scatter Plot

The Flaw of Averages: Why We Underestimate Risk in the Face of Uncertainty, by Sam Savage

Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts, by Anne Duke


Daniel Vacanti’s Book Pick:

Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics, by Richard Thaler


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