Kanban in Action
Marcus Hammarberg and Joakim Sundén
Foreword by Jim Benson
  • February 2014
  • ISBN 9781617291050
  • 360 pages
  • printed in black & white

Provides fantastic and patient detail.

From the Foreword by Jim Benson, Author of "Personal Kanban"

Kanban in Action is a down-to-earth, no-frills, get-to-know-the-ropes introduction to kanban. It's based on the real-world experience and observations from two kanban coaches who have introduced this process to dozens of teams. You'll learn the principles of why kanban works, as well as nitty-gritty details like how to use different color stickies on a kanban board to help you organize and track your work items.

About the book

Too much work and too little time? If this is daily life for your team, you need kanban, a lean knowledge-management method designed to involve all team members in continuous improvement of your process.

Kanban in Action is a practical introduction to kanban. Written by two kanban coaches who have taught the method to dozens of teams, the book covers techniques for planning and forecasting, establishing meaningful metrics, visualizing queues and bottlenecks, and constructing and using a kanban board.

Written for all members of the development team, including leaders, coders, and business stakeholders. No experience with kanban is required.

Table of Contents detailed table of contents



about this book

about the authors

about the cover illustration


Part1 Learning kanban

1. Team Kanbaneros gets started

1.1. Introductions

1.2. The board

1.3. Mapping the workflow

1.4. Work items

1.5. Pass the Pennies

1.6. Work in process

1.7. Expedite items

1.8. Metrics 38

1.9. The sendoff

1.10. Summary

Part 2 Understanding kanban

2. Kanban principles

2.1. The principles of kanban

2.2. Get started right away

2.3. Summary

3. Visualizing your work

3.1. Making policies explicit

3.2. The kanban board

3.3. Queues

3.4. Summary

4. Work items

4.1. Design principles for creating your cards

4.2. Work-item cards

4.3. Types of work

4.4. Progress indicators

4.5. Work-item size

4.6. Gathering workflow data

4.7. Creating your own work-item cards

4.8. Summary

5. Work in process

5.1. Understanding work in process

5.2. Effects of too much WIP

5.3. Summary

6. Limiting work in process

6.1. The search for WIP limits

6.2. Principles for setting limits

6.3. Whole board, whole team approach

6.4. Limiting WIP based on columns

6.5. Limiting WIP based on people

6.6. Frequently asked questions

6.7. Exercise: WIP it, WIP it real good

6.8. Summary

7. Managing flow

7.1. Why flow?

7.2. Helping the work to flow

7.3. Daily standup

7.4. What should I be doing next?

7.5. Managing bottlenecks

7.6. Summary

Part 3 Advanced kanban

8. Classes of service

8.1. The urgent case

8.2. What is a class of service?

8.3. Managing classes of services

8.4. Exercise: classify this!

8.5. Summary

9. Planning and estimating

9.1. Planning scheduling: when should you plan?

9.2. Estimating work—relatively speaking

9.3. Estimation techniques

9.4. Cadence

9.5. Planning the kanban way: less pain, more gain

9.6. Summary

10. Process improvement

10.1. Retrospectives

10.2. Root-cause analysis

10.3. Kanban Kata

10.4. Summary

11. Using metrics to guide improvements

11.1. Common metrics

11.2. Two powerful visualizations

11.3. Metrics as improvement guides

11.4. Exercise: measure up!

11.5. Summary

12. Kanban pitfalls

12.1. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy

12.2. Timeboxing is good for you

12.3. The necessary revolution

12.4. Don’t allow kanban to become an excuse to be lazy

12.5. Summary

13. Teaching kanban through games

13.1. Pass the Pennies

13.2. The Number Multitasking Game

13.3. The Dot Game

13.4. The Bottleneck Game

13.5. getKanban

13.6. The Kanban Pizza Game

13.7. Summary

What's inside

  • How to focus on work in process and finish faster
  • Examples of successful implementations
  • How team members can make informed decisions

About the authors

Marcus Hammarberg is a kanban coach and software developer with experience in BDD, TDD, Specification by Example, Scrum, and XP. Joakim Sundén is an agile coach at Spotify who cofounded the first kanban user groups in Europe.

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