This episode features Troy Lightfoot who is a Business Agility Coach and Consultant as well as a Professional Kanban Trainer. The interview starts with a discussion about the basic differences between Scrum and Kanban and then digs into four of the metrics recommended in the Kanban Guide. We cover WIP, Throughput, Work Item Age, and Cycle Time, talking through what each of these is, the value these metrics provide, why they are so much more valuable than simply looking at something like velocity, and what these metrics can do to help you develop a better level of predicting when work is likely to finish and how they can show you and your team ways to identify and address the things that are holding you back from delivering value for your client.
Troy also has a few ProKanban Certification classes coming up. In the back half of the interview, he explains what to expect if you sign up for a Professional Kanban 1 (PK1) Certification class or his Applying Metrics for Predictability (AMP) Certification class.
Troy’s Upcoming Classes
Links from the Podcast
I mentioned before that I was happy enough with LeanKit that after I had adapted to using it, that I was not going to keep testing out different apps for Personal Kanban.
What can I say...
I was pretty happy with LeanKit from a Personal Kanban standpoint. When I checked it against my original criteria a few weeks ago, it only hit 50% of my original requirements:
But that was better than none, and it let me do some stuff I felt was really important:
I am also part of a volunteer group that had made a decision to use it and we were able to get full access to the tool which opened up some additional functionality. Being able to attach files to card and assign them to multiple individuals is something I found very helpful when using it with a team.
I went to a meeting. I sat next to someone way smarter to me. I glanced at his screen and saw that he was using a Kanban app. Since he is smarter than me, and had come to a meeting with just an iPad (an obvious indicator of superior intellect and travel skill), and his screen was filled with a lot of really bright colors, it became obvious to me that this was an app worthy of further investigation. And this is how I was introduced to Kanban Pad.
When I compare this Kanban Pad against my original criteria:
The app works great on an iPad or in a web browser. It's easy to drag cards from one column to another. And technically, Kanban Pad works on an iPhone as well. They do have a version sized for the small screen. Unfortunately, in the smaller screen, you can only view one column at a time. Trying to move tasks between columns in this format left me feeling like I was wearing boxing gloves while carrying a small child, a folding chair and trying to eat an ice cream cone at the same time.
Kanban Pad does allow for customizable, swim lanes, but not in exactly the same way that you'd set them up on a physical board. It allows you to establish multiple columns and within each column the Type setting allows you to establish Queue, In Progress or Queue and In Progress workflows. By using Queue and In Progress and editing the labels, I found an easy solution to my recurring task issue.
Another great feature is that the Product Backlog and Backlog of work that has moved past Accepted (meaning it no longer needs to be seen), can be maintained off the main task board.
Kanban Pad also allows you to establish WIP limits for your queues and it warns you fairly incessantly about your flagrant violation of them should you choose to venture off the path. (I ended up not using this feature because my frustration over the warnings became more significant than my desire to maintain WIP limits.
The app includes a feature where you can customize colored tags which can be applied to each task so that you can tell what type of work you are looking at.
There are a number of additional features that Kanban Pad offers, but those are the ones that have proven to be most valuable to me from a Personal Kanban perspective.
By way of a final verdict/opinion on the app, I offer this... I've been using Kanban Pad for about 6-8 weeks now. It has become my primary tool for managing my work using Personal Kanban. After all my efforts at trying to find a way to use Things as a tool for Personal Kanban, I've all but stopped using Things and only open it (or Reminders) now when I have to capture something that I will add to my task board later.