It has been an exciting 3 weeks since we launched the GA release of Swift-Kanban. Clearly, Kanban for software development and IT teams is being seen as the elusive weapon that promises to take Agile to the enterprise. From the volume of queries and the common themes of the inquiries, it is clear Agile practitioners know what they are looking for and will be demanding the right solution to help them make the transition to being an Agile enterprise.
Three key themes are emerging, which we find very interesting and are excited to learn more about through our interaction with our Beta users as well as prospects who are in discussions with us after the GA release:
Kanban for Distributed Teams
One of the most common reasons we are hearing when we ask why, is that the organization has distributed teams around the country, indeed the world - and simply cannot work with a physical board. In spite of time zone differences and multiple locations, these teams have managed so far by getting onto conference calls at the same time - and comparing notes and providing updates in prolonged interactions! With a Kanban tool, while these meetings may not go away (at least initially!), they get a powerful tool that visually communicates the same status of the project or a specific work-item and of course the entire project. That in itself is a huge benefit when teams have hitherto struggled with text reports/ email updates!
Kanban tools in conjunction with other Tools
Clearly, while Kanban tools provide significant efficiencies in project operations, projects continue to use a variety of tools including requirements management tools, testing tools and integrated development environments. Most of our interactions are helping us educate how potential Kanban practitioners propose to use these tools in an integrated fashion. With our extensive experience in integrated Agile ALM, we are certainly able to share our experience with existing customers; at the same time, we have learnt a lot about the possible integrations we may need to provide for a full solution. Irrespective of whether it is used on a development or a maintenance or a IT Helpdesk type of a activity, these integrations will ensure that not only does work flow smoothly within the Kanban board, but also outside of it!
Kanban and "Other Methods"
Kanban is not a software engineering method; however, it would appear that many organizations are approaching it as a software engineering method - be it against a traditional waterfall or iterative method or an agile method such as Scrum or XP! To us, it is clear that irrespective of the overall methodology being followed, Kanban provides a way to visualize "project operations" workflow and smoothen the flow of actual work. Thus, we are sure organizations will use a combination of software engineering, project management and operations processes that help them optimize throughput and increase output quality. This is fully in line with the principles of Kanban, that says that each (self-organizing) team must define the process that best works for them!
Our Kanban journey began more than a year ago and has just become much more interesting! We are having regular discussions with our early/ Beta customers. With David Anderson as our Advisor, we also launched the David Anderson Webinar Series and have seen a tremendous response to that. Come join us in these conversations and help us learn how we could better help you scale Agile in the Enterprise!
Sr. VP - Product, Digite, Inc.