Can Kanban be really implemented in Software Engineering?Muhammad Zeeshan Ali, PMP, PMI-ACP
Kanban is believed to be introduced and first used by Car Manufacturing Industry so it is therefore expected to be more suited for that domain as it was deigned to serve the needs of that particular domain. Software Development companies are adopting various Agile methodologies and Kanban is also becoming a famous tool.
There are few main reasons for of Kanban getting attention:
- It is easy and simple to use
- It provides a clear picture and transparency to all involved
- Everybody knows what to expect next
- Resources can move to next task as soon as they are finished with their current one
But there are also few other aspects which the people adopting Kanban should understand; Kanban requires all the resources, working on the project to be Generalists and not necessary to be Specialists. It means that every resource should be capable to perform any task in the queue and they are not restricted when the next task comes up. It can be fixed in a manner that there could be separate queues based on specialty and only that group of specialist are involved in their respective queue. For example, I was once managing Mobile Apps Development team but it had three different specialized lines, i.e., iOS, Android and Server Development. It was not possible to have one single queue for all of them.
The second issue was with the role of resources as there were Analysts, Architects, Developers and Quality Assurance people, so it was not possible for them to manage in one board. However, the second issue was gradually resolved through the trainings and making people workable in cross-functional roles but that took reasonably long time to materialize and cost was also involved. It was done successfully primarily because the higher management understood the risks and were ready to pay the price of adopting this tools and methodology. Secondly it was a product based company otherwise for a small or medium sized project it would have been really difficult.
So, to summarize things, Kanban is good tool to use in Software Development projects but they should be tweaked to fit the working of the team. OGMC provides trainings related to implementation and use of Kanban, both at individual and corporate level.