Like its predecessors, the Agile 2010 conference will go down as a key event in agile project management. This year, I and 1,400 other attendees learned about everything from innovation to Kanban. The conference was held in Orlando, Florida, USA from 9-13 August.
Several sessions were particularly notable. Kenny Rubin, Laurie Williams and Mike Cohn shared the Comparative Agility assessment. Using data from 1,600 teams, users can see how their team's agility compares with others.
Ron Jeffries and Chet Hendrickson, famous as original extreme programmer proponents, made a case for a less dogmatic approach to methodologies and suggested using the hybrid best suited to your needs and circumstance.
For me, the most striking part of the conference was the large interest in Kanban, a project management methodology from Japan that emphasizes cycle time instead of utilization of resources. There were seven presentations on it -- all standing room only and overflowing into the halls.
In Kanban, work is purposefully limited so teams are forced to finish items to high quality before moving on. This can yield the same or more output, but reduces the risk that too many half-done items in progress won't get done. Work is tracked on a board with a few simple columns, such as waiting, working and testing done. Each item, or "ticket," is moved from column to column to reflect its state.
Have you ever used Kanban methodology?