Keeping Remote Teams Cohesive, Part 1: 6 Steps to Hiring Remote Employees

remote-teams-cohesive

Now more than ever, companies are experimenting with allowing their employees to work from home. Some companies don’t have a physical office at all, while others maintain a balance of onsite and remote employees. Allowing remote teams gives companies access to talent all over the world, opening the organization to new opportunities, networks, and skill sets than would be available to them in their local area. Being part of remote teams also presents new challenges, for team members and managers alike.

Great remote teams don’t just happen; they’re built. Building a great remote team begins with strategic, intentional hiring practices. In order to scale your business, this process needs to be thorough, well-documented, and effective at both identifying strong candidates for remote work, and surfacing any potential issues before you make your decision.

In my fifteen years of experience as an App Development and Development Manager, I’ve worked with and managed all types of remote teams. In a series of posts, I’m going to share the important lessons I’ve learned about how to keep remote teams cohesive.

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Using Flow Metrics to Deliver Faster

flowmetrics

If you practice Kanban, you already understand the incredible insight that visualization can bring to the way you work. But do you know how to use that insight to optimize your workflow? You might be surprised to learn that you already have all the data you need to begin optimizing flow — you just need to learn a few basic Kanban calculations to turn that raw data into actionable flow metrics.

We asked Dan Vacanti, CEO and co-founder of ActionableAgile and author of Actionable Agile Metrics for Predictability, to share his insights on how to use Kanban metrics to optimize flow. In a series of posts, Dan will explain how to harness the power of data in Kanban to help you maximize the value you can bring to your customers.

In this post, you’ll learn the basic metrics of flow, and how to analyze the data your board data to begin optimizing your workflow. In future posts, you’ll learn how to use Kanban calculations to continously improve your process.

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Lean Improvement: What to Do When Urgent Trumps Important

lean improvement

Wouldn’t It Be Great If…

In the world of IT Ops, we face a constant tug-of-war between implementing new technology, keeping the lights on, and resolving unplanned issues. In the thick of our work, we’re constantly generating ideas for how to automate, standardize, and improve our processes (i.e., “Wouldn’t it be great if….”). We know that if we could spend less time trying to keep everything afloat, we could spend more time providing value with new technology. We know the importance of  practicing Lean improvement (Kaizen) — but what do you do when urgent trumps important?

Have you ever heard the phrase, “We are too busy mopping the floor to turn off the faucet”? If we don’t take the time to improve our environment, we’ll constantly face the same tedious challenges — and those challenges will keep growing, creating a mountain of technical debt. If we don’t practice Lean improvement, we’ll never be able to reach the level of sustainability or predictability that would make our lives a whole lot easier.

Luckily, because we visualize our work in LeanKit, we have a place to document our ideas for Lean improvement — which helps us actually do them. Visualizing these ideas alongside our project, maintenance, and break-fix work helps us keep them top of mind, and allows us to find ways to prioritize important improvement work. Keep reading to learn how we balance our Lean improvement efforts with our regular workflow.

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Why You Need a Center of Excellence

center of excellence

In our experiences working with teams around the world, in different industries, with different goals, we’ve found one thing to be true: A Center of Excellence, or “CoE”, is essential for the sustainable adoption of not only our product, but of a continuously maturing Kanban practice.

This isn’t a new concept; you might have played the role of “Center of Excellence” in your team or department without realizing it. Often, the CoE will form organically, out of a desire to sustainably implement and practice Lean and Kanban consistently across a team, department, or organization. If you’re new to the concept, keep reading to learn why we strongly advocate for Centers of Excellence as part of an effective Lean and Kanban implementation.

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How to Sell Kanban to Your Boss

sell-kanban-boss

You’ve done your research; you know how visualizing your work with Kanban could help your team work smarter, communicate better, and produce higher quality work.

But your boss isn’t sold. Unless you can explain why limiting work in process and implementing a pull system is going to boost revenue, they’re not interested.

They aren’t convinced that the juice is worth the squeeze.

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Build Quality In: The Key to Continuous Delivery in Kanban

continuous delivery

The technology world is changing fast, faster than ever. A few years ago, we thought that only the Amazons or Facebooks of this world would be able to do continuous delivery. Now, the phenomenon is getting traction, starting to become mainstream and before we know it, it will be commoditized. Everybody will do it.

Why? Because the ability to release often gives organizations a great competitive advantage over their competitors with slower turnaround times. In order to practice continuous delivery, teams have to build quality into everything they do. This means that the actual product not only reaches the customers faster — it’s a better product, too. Learning to build quality in with Kanban helped my development team reduce waste, deliver faster, and communicate better with the organization around us.

Keep reading to learn how my development team changed our infrastructure, development practices, and culture to enable continuous delivery. Continue Reading

Stop the Line: How Lean Principles Safeguard Quality

stop the line

At LeanKit, we have a very thorough process for quality assurance, but sometimes, issues with unforeseen or uncontrollable circumstances (such as DNS providers, hosting services, etc.) can result in a critical issue affecting our software, which can have a significant impact on our users. This is why we choose to stop the line when critical issues arise — to stop, assess, and resolve the issue, and learn how to prevent it from occurring again.

We take these kinds of issues very seriously, since a relentless focus on delivering customer value is at the core of everything we do. Read to learn how we employ Lean concepts at the organizational level to tackle potential issues head-on, address them quickly, and use them as opportunities to make our product — and our people — stronger.

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