Why use Kanban?

In this video I ask Josh Nankivel from pmStudent.com why he has chosen to use Kanban for managing the tasks for his project team. A transcript of this video is below.

Elizabeth Harrin: Hello! My name is Elizabeth Harrin from the blog “A Girl’s Guide to Project Management” and I’m here today with a fellow blogger from PM Student, Josh Nankivel. Hello!

Josh Nankivel: Hello!

Elizabeth Harrin: How are you?

Josh Nankivel: Good.

Elizabeth Harrin: Good.

Josh Nankivel: Good to be here.

Elizabeth Harrin: Well I would like to talk to you about Scrum because I understand that you used to use Scrum and now you’ve moved to Kanban.

Josh Nankivel: Yes.

Elizabeth Harrin: Tell me a bit about why you decided to do that?

Josh Nankivel: Well, when we initially started using Scrum and I have to say for the Agile community out there, we’re using Scrum a bit, okay? It’s a modified version of Scrum. It’s not really the way that you’re supposed to do it. But probably the reason why I was using an Excel template for our sprints and our product backlog and everything and the burndown charts and all that good stuff and we were doing 15-minute daily tag-ups which are pretty standard in Scrum where you ask 3 questions. You ask what did you work on yesterday, what are you going to focus on today, and what are the obstacles that are in your way that I can eliminate. And that process is still a part of what we do but the tool with the burndown charts and having the product backlog in either in Excel or whatever it is and having the sprints, the timeboxes, we were doing 2-week sprints.

Elizabeth Harrin: Oh right.

Josh Nankivel: Every 2 weeks, we would do a sprint planning session to figure out what we’re going to do in the next 2 weeks, then we would lock it down, we would execute on that, we would do a retrospective and all that type of thing. I think the timeboxing became a little bit too structured.

Elizabeth Harrin: Oh, right!

Josh Nankivel: So Agile is too structured for me is really the reason why.

Elizabeth Harrin: Okay!

Josh Nankivel: So what Kanban allows for is more of a, it’s a pull system where you’re just pulling tasks along and as you get things done and you make sure that you’re never working on more than one thing at a time so there’s that focus aspect and it just allows us to do things on the fly. We have releases defined but our releases are pretty large. I work in the aerospace industry. So our releases are anywhere from 6 to 9-month timeframe.

Elizabeth Harrin: Okay, right.

Josh Nankivel: And so when I was using Scrum, it was essentially a bunch of 2?week sprints that made up little pseudo-releases…

Elizabeth Harrin: Right!

Josh Nankivel: …But the real release was in 6 to 9-months’ time. We weren’t really doing it anyway the way that you would in a normal Scrum environment where you’re actually doing a release of the software, putting it out there in front of users every 2 weeks or whatever it is. So you know Kanban was a perfect fit. So yeah!

Elizabeth Harrin: That’s great! Alright, thanks very much!

Josh Nankivel: Thank you!