Kanban - german edition of David Anderson's classic published

This post is refererring to Arne Roock's Blog Post on the publishing of David Anderson's already classic 'Kanban' wich is now also released in german. The book was translated into German by Arne and Henning Wolf. The publishing was celebrated at the OOP 2011 in Munich with some events and talks on the topic and David made no secret out of the German edition being updated in some chapters and containing an additional chapter by me.
The German cover - quite different
I can only imagine how hard a task this was, as to me the original is already a nice, soft read focusing on the purpose and motivation of Kanban and reflecting this in a very soft and understanding way. I followed the translation from the beginning and have to take my hat off on how well this book was transferred into German. If you get hold of the book, just after a few pages you will realize how good the translation is - especially compared to other books in our industry.

As mentioned before, I contributed one chapter to this book, the last chapter in fact. In this chapter, I describe how we apply Kanban to Portfolio Management at my work at mobile.international GmbH, owner of Europe's largest car classified site. My latest view on what we're doing with this is that we are managing demand load on the system that is provided by our PD department. Actually, we are managing the waiting queue for our department. From a distance, every project needs to wait in two waiting queues. One is more simple but has more impact. This queue is the portfolio management. The second queue is the actual PD workflow, in which every committed project is realized. The whole system is roughly the equivalent of a shop where you also have to manage two queues (if you're in bad luck ;): First you have to stand in line to enter the shop (if demand is high enough - or actually: too high) an then you have to manage the queues in front of the till. You don't want to have customers waiting in any of these two queues for two long. But for this not to happen you have to actively manage the queue length - and give it all you got. (The better metaphore might be an airport, where you mostly have to queue up twice: check-in and security - basically quick ckck-in machines are then a better way of portfolio management with less overhead and security, well ... let's not think of the TSA nowadays ...)

I may expand on that in a future blog post or article. I actually gave myself the task to try to find out which queue has what impact on the whole system.

If you have a closer look on the 2nd queue, the PD department itself, you can see that this queuing system consists of quite a few queues itself - from requirements to delivery. And this makes clear the task of the PD department - apart from just delivering projects the task is trying to deliver the projects in a way that the queues are short and the 'customers' are happy because the queues are short and stuff is delivered with short wait cycles. And, oh boy, here we find livers the dime a dozen ;)

Actually with the publish of the German edition of David's Epic I was humbled twice. First, in the foreword Arne and Henning mention me in a way that is just too kind - but one should never should say no to compliments. And second, I was quite stunned and humbled when I was asked by David, Arne and Henning if I would like to contribute a chapter to this book. The idea came up after I visited the Lean Kanban Belgium 2010 conference (quite well organized by Agile Minds Belgium - I will come back to this great conference as well as the LESS 2010 in Helsinki in my conference summary of 2010 later in this blog), where I held a talk just on this topic, which was attended by David and some other smart guys and where we had a lively discussion on the topic. So, in fact, the topic actually hit a nerve and resonated well with this great audience so that the idea stuck to write the whole thing down. Thanks again for giving me the chance, guys :-)

So there you have it - grab a copy, read the book, read my chapter, give it some reviews on amazon and give me or the other guys involved some feedback via Email or twitter. We would be happy!

Edit: A great in depth description of a Kanban introduction given by Henning and Arne to celebrate the publish of their translation is given here by Markus Gärtner.

The (success of the) iPhone will be a midget to (that of the) the iPad

Edit: This is just a reporting of an old blog post of mine from another blog. I haven't been that wrong - which is ok, given the blog and press reaction of the skeptics at the time. But Ibhave to say that Android adoption goes up at my workplace and that Honeycomb still isn't my cup of tea, UI and UX wise but it might work well on the tablet market.

Years ago, early in the morning I stood in from of our offices. I work at a geek place definitely. I, a geek myself, work at a geek place, definitely. The evening before I just received my iPhone.

The clumsy procedure involved me having to drive to an ugly customs office with depressed and demotivated customs guys having a ball on trying to make me feel illegal because the iPhone was still supposed to be illegal when you unlock it. Yes, and I tried to save the import tax ;-) Anyway, I drove home and had the iPhone set up in 5 minutes time, I had it unlocked and jailbreaked in another 5 minutes. And I had all the music I needed synced in another 5 minutes, I guess.

Standing in the cold in the front of my office it didn’t take long and other geeks working at my place came along. the iPhone thing was quite new and I still an early adopter. The other early adopter syndrome plagued guy, my brother, didn’t yet have it. I knew right away what would happen: Hide or be bashed. And so it was: All the gees at work were so smart: Oh, you don’t know there’s no copy and paste? You surely know, it’s only Edge, no 3G, do you? You know the camera is crap compared to my 5MB Ericsson/Nokia, you name it bla bla device - and so on and so on.

What was bothering me right away was the fact that all the guys were working for  the same company as I did - an internet company making a fortune on an internet product. So, I guess they shouldn’t be blind to the fact that all the shortcomings of the iPhone were more than compensated by the incredible and before unseen simplicity and elegance of the User Interface - and that despite of all the innovation behind it.

At the time they were all waiting for some new fancy linux based PDA or this and that or the newset fancy Nokia with any useless navigation on it and god knows what.

You know what happened. Today they all have iPhones. All of them. They even disrespect it (some of them) by placing it in a strange dock beneath their work station. Sure, the new cool thing for a developer is the Android (the good vs. the bad - again, so it’s good that google makes a statement towards China so that they are bit more ‘good’ again ;-)

And now - dejá vu - the whole geek planet is again complaining about the things the iPad is *not* and thus being blind to see what the iPad is and what its potential is. (And all the opportunities it will open for geeks and developers as well).

But guess what: It is a mass market device. Apple does not enter markets anymore with niche products to gain momentum. They have momentum and can directly address the large crowds.

Geeks may be disappointed by the iPad not having USB, exchangeable battery (again), no real keys, no extendable memory, still a closed environment, no camera!!!, etc. And yes, they are all shortcomings.

But my mum will be delighted. She doesn’t even want to know what USB is. the doctors running around in hospitals, using the iPad for documentation will not care about battery life, the sales forces don’t care about the keys and so on and so on.

The content providers will be more happy about the new revenue stream provided by the new marketing channels than they will be unhappy of the camera being added in v 2.0 of the iPad and concurrency in OS 4.0.

And guess what, all my geek colleagues will love to surf, watch movies on the couch, chips and beer on the side, an iPad in their hands in just some months.

The iPad will be Apples biggest success ever, whatever its current limitations are, because it defines several completely new markets and revenue streams.

(From an agile perspective: We always drive business to be content with a very minimal product to enter the markets, learn on the market and only add the features that are absolutely necessary to drive demand. It seems that many, as customers, do not like what the preach as those crafting the products ;-)

Where have I been?

Oh my, I don't actually know what happened.
Yeah, you know - if you watched, which I wouldn't expect from after having been neglected for a loooong long time: Nothing happened :-(
I guess, the reasons for not updating this blog were manyfold:

  • I have a new role at my job, which meant quite a change and distraction from things that happen here
  • I was busy writing articles, reviewing articles and books, working on talks on conferences (see my - ummm - last post - and even that post is soooo mid 2010 that it does not reflect where have really been. Excuses, excuses - bla bla bla and so on.
  • I was not satisfied with the format of this blog and am looking for a new template (might even switch to WordPress). Just look at this small writing - disgusting. I still like the picture and stuff, though.
But guess what, I am in a fresh mode now and have collected a couple of topics I want to write about in the next weeks:

  • My conference year (as a visitor)
  • My year as a speaker
  • My reading year (fiction and non-fiction)
  • My learning year
  • What is my focus for improvement at work
  • A posting on 'The 4 hour body' by Tim Ferris and my application of it
  • My summary of my kindle experiences and what I want to make of it
  • On paranoia driven development
  • What do I see in Lean: A summary
  • Things I don't understand, like: making simple things really complicated (or the other way around, or: Behavioral patterns in the agile coaching community
  • My new model of queue management on several layers - duuuh!
Well, even thinking of it is lots of fun for me ;)

See you soon, right here.