We’ve been noticing continued growth in Lean concepts and Kanban in particular over the past couple of years. The use of Kanban as a technique in agile projects grew 33% from 2010 to 2011, and was utilized last year by one quarter of all responding organizations according to the State of Agile Survey.
Whereas mention of Kanban was once a rather novel occurrence, more and more customers are discussing Lean influences in their process, especially at the portfolio planning level and with operational groups. The concepts of flow, minimizing waste and continuous improvement so cherished by the Lean community, are applicable to any Lean-practicing or agile development team.
As the popularity grows, VersionOne continues to expand support by introducing new features, some of which were just added in our Fall Release. While individual features get added over time, the sum of Kanban support in the product has grown to something fairly substantial.
Here’s a quick summary of the Kanban functionality VersionOne offers:
Customizable Board Views
There is a lot of flexibility in defining the a board. From defining your process in the form of columns to creating swim lanes, coloring cards, setting WIP Limits on columns or even groups of columns, and the ability to highlight cards that have been sitting there for a long time give teams a very strong tool to reflect and enforce their process and, just as importantly, to identify the exceptions.
No two teams are exactly alike. Numbers, skills, preferences, challenges, working styles and the like make each team unique. Teams should drive their boards and help influence what their needs, rules and tolerances are. The new TeamRoom feature enhances the power of the boards by ensuring that each team has their own space and their own boards. Configuration, display, tolerance… it’s all the team’s to control.
The Feedback Loop
What’s a good system without the ability to get information out of it? Well…it’s…not a good system. Seeing how the process works, seeing the results that are produced, seeing exceptions that need closer attention are important aspects of a smoothly functioning system. With VersionOne, you get cycle time reporting and exception-based highlighting in the boards through aging thresholds and blocking-issue alerts. Top this off with custom reports created via Analytics to pull any other information you may need and you’ll find that the feedback loop is plenty strong.
Overall, we get very positive feedback on the Kanban capabilities in the product. If you have any specific needs that you feel aren’t yet covered, let us know about your idea.