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When Worlds Collide: Agile Vs Kanban

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When-Worlds-CollideI’ve witnessed a sort of agile/lean clash incident at our standup. Reviewing our kanban board, as tasks completed, others were left on the board. Instead of completing the tasks in progress, a developer decided to pick new tasks to work on, entering them into process.

The Clash 

Agile promotes team empowerment. Developers are encouraged to pick their next tasks, based on their best judgment. In this case, the developer picked tasks that were easy and quick to complete – clearly using his best judgment.

Lean teaches us to minimize work in progress. If there’s a task in the pipe, it makes sense to complete it first prior to starting another task. Adding value.

I don’t think there was a violation of the process here – there was no task prioritization, and the work limit was not breached.

But it does show that a mindset change is required to travel between the two realms. Which is kind of ironic, because agile is all about successful change.


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