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We’re Self Organizing Into… Kanban?

What’s Kanban?

It isn’t a question you’d expect to hear from a team adopting work in progress limits and just in time tasking while only committing to small user stories.

One of my favorite aspects of being a ScrumMaster and Agile Coach is witnessing a team evolve by inspecting and adapting over time. Granted it isn’t a ride for the faint of heart, but it can be an extremely fascinating experience. This is especially true when the team feels empowered enough to mold themselves into a highly functioning unit.

From my experience, this becomes most apparent during iteration retrospectives.

Retrospective #39 Notes

  • Team decided tasking entire two week iteration in one day was burning them out.
  • Unable to focus for long periods of time & felt as though it was delaying coding efforts.
  • Tasks became obsolete half way through the iteration because of what we’ve learned by digging into the code.
  • Decided to break tasking down into two sessions per iteration.

Retrospective #40 Notes

  • Team still feels confined by the 2 tasking sessions.
  • Seems as though we’re spending too much time tasking at once & still have obsolete tasks.
  • We decided to task in smaller bunches, 2-3 stories at a time as needed throughout the iteration.

Retrospective #41 Notes

  • Tasking as we go is working much better, yet it does result in more interruptions.
  • Team wants to adopt work in progress limits for stories.
  • Limits will help us prioritize, ensure stories are in good shape before moving on.
  • We decided to set our work in progress limit to 3 open stories at a time.

Retrospective #42 Notes

  • Keeping our WIP of 3 open stories.
  • Tasking as we go interruptions are less of an issue now.
  • Medium & large stories are killing our flow.
  • Only commit to small & extra small stories to help with flow.
  • We decided to decompose anything above a medium down into smaller chunks.

Could you be witnessing a team inspect & adapt itself into Kanban?

Since this team is still running two week iterations, and keeping a good bit of the Scrum ceremony I’m not entirely sure. It seems to be more of a Scrum / Kanban mix for now (Scrumban?), and I don’t see them discarding the rest of the Scrum ceremony anytime soon.

It should continue to be an interesting ride, that is for certain!

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