What is Flow and Why it Matters

Flow means to “move along in a steady, continuous stream.” In knowledge work, the ability to visualize and manage your flow is essential to achieving faster and more consistent delivery. It allows you to understand your capacity, easily identify problems and improve that flow.

In a system designed to manage the flow of tangible deliverables, such as a car assembly line, it’s relatively easy to see where bottlenecks are forming and slowing down progress. For knowledge work, flow problems aren’t quite as easy to see. This is a major reason we use Kanban boards to visualize our work.

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Designing Your Kanban Board to Map Your Process

Need some practical advice on how to map your process? If so, watch this webinar recording.

In this webinar, I'll discuss how to design your Kanban board so that you can visualize your workflow, measure your effectiveness, and identify opportunities for improvement.

You'll learn how to:

Map your process to reflect your reality as closely as possible
Design your board to capture the right metrics for improvement
Address common gotchas such as wait time and hidden work

Creating your first Kanban board isn't always easy - and you don't have to get it 100% right. With the help of some good advice you can build the right foundation to improve incrementally over time.

If you'd like a copy of the presentation, please click on the link below:

Designing Your Kanban Board to Map Your Process PDF

Learn about LeanKit, a kanban board platform designed to improve efficiency.

Recommended Readings

10 Kanban Board Examples for IT Operations and Development
What is Value Stream Mapping?
Kanban Roadmap: How to Get Started in 5 Steps

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June 12 Service Interruption Update

As most of you are aware, on Wednesday, June 12, we experienced an unplanned outage between the hours of 10:56 a.m. CDT (GMT-6) and 1:32 p.m. CDT (GMT-6). It is always our goal to provide uninterrupted service, and we sincerely regret the incident. Our CTO, Stephen Franklin, and I want to assure you that the LeanKit team takes the service of our customers very seriously.

The root cause of the interruption on Wednesday was a major service outage affecting our hosting provider's Chicago and Dallas data centers. Full details can be found here. (I expect that more information will be added as their research of the outage continues.)

Throughout the incident, we were in constant contact with our hosting provider. As a result, we were able to restore service for LeanKit customers about three hours before our hosting provider fully resolved their network outage. At no time was there any risk of customer data loss; only network connectivity was affected.

Regardless of the root cause of the service interruption, we believe it is our responsibility to ensure system availability. We are currently taking steps to ensure that this particular type of service interruption is not repeated. As we continue to develop our infrastructure and disaster recovery capabilities, we will keep you up to date here, on our blog.

Again, Stephen and I will take every step to ensure that this type of service interruption is not repeated. Please do not hesitate to contact Stephen (stephen.franklin@leankit.com) or me (chris.hefley@leankit.com) at any time. We welcome your direct feedback and questions.

Chris Hefley
CEO
LeanKit, Inc.
chris.hefley@leankit.com

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Lean as an Organizational Learning System

Please join our partners at the Lean Software Institute for their next webinar, "Lean as an Organizational Learning System" on October 4
About the webinar:
We all admire companies like Toyota and Apple that really care about innovation and the relentless pursuit of perfection – and pull it off! That pursuit is of course never-ending, as customers expect more and as competitors continue to improve. As David Allen likes to say, “The better you get, the better you’d better get!”

But how?

None of these approaches are sufficient in themselves, however, because they don’t explain how an organization actually DOES to get better. What are the actual processes than need to be in place? What are the biggest practical challenges? How do we track progress?

In this webinar we will discuss how Lean Management can help software executives mobilize their employees and managers to learn faster than the competition and deliver more value faster to customers and shareholders.

Register here

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Beyond Kanban: Lean as an Operating System

Our partners at the Lean Software Institute have just announced their new webinar series, "Fit for the Future: Lean and the Software Industry", and have invited us to join them in presenting the first installment, "Beyond Kanban: Lean as an Operating System".
When
September 7, 2011, 10:00 PST / 13:00 EST  / 19:00 CET
Duration: One hour
Webinar Overview
Many organizations in the IT industry struggle with slow execution and lack of operational clarity.  Call it “the fog of business.”  The problem becomes worse as product and business complexity increases, because traditional management practices have not kept up with the complexity of modern knowledge work.
Lean Management has the potential to create organization-wide clarity. Unfortunately, Lean practitioners in the IT sector have generally not used Lean practices to provide a unified description of the organization as a whole. Also, merely looking at processes does not account for other key obstacles to performance, such as organizational misalignment, unhealthy work cultures, and poor knowledge management.
In this webinar we will discuss how to go beyond Value Stream Mapping and Kanban Boards to create a representation of a business as a “system of systems”.  You will learn about the Lean Software Institute’s five-dimensional model for describing business systems, including Product Development Systems.  We show how this model can provide breakthrough insights into why organizations encounter performance challenges.
Audience
This webinar series is aimed at CXOs and other senior executives in the IT industry who are attempting to improve their organizations’ productivity, accelerate innovation, enhance financial performance, and improve employee engagement.
Presenter
Frode L. Odegard, Founder & CEO, Lean Software Institute
Guest
Chris Hefley, Co-Founder & CEO, LeanKitKanban
(see this interview that we did with Chris in 2010)
When
September 7, 2011, 10:00 PST / 13:00 EST  / 19:00 CET
Duration: One hour

Webinar Overview

In this webinar we will discuss how to go beyond Value Stream Mapping and Kanban Boards to create a representation of a business as a “system of systems”.  You will learn about the Lean Software Institute’s five-dimensional model for describing business systems, including Product Development Systems.  We show how this model can provide breakthrough insights into why organizations encounter performance challenges.
Audience
This webinar series is aimed at CXOs and other senior executives in the IT industry who are attempting to improve their organizations’ productivity, accelerate innovation, enhance financial performance, and improve employee engagement.
Presenter
Frode L. Odegard, Founder & CEO, Lean Software Institute
Guest
Chris Hefley, Co-Founder & CEO, LeanKitKanban

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LeanKit at DevLink

Are you a software developer, devops, agile coach, or IT project manager in the Southeastern U.S.? If so, you should definitely head down to Chattanooga, TN this week, for DevLink 2011. For the past several years, DevLink has consistently been the one of the very best regional IT/software conferences in the country.

The LeanKit crew will be there, showing off our agile project management tool, LeanKit Kanban, on our big touchscreen and talking about Kanban in the Open Spaces. Stop by and see us, or come by the Open Spaces to learn more about Kanban.

LeanKit is also hiring in 2011 and 2012 - so if you're a developer, agile coach, project manager, devops guy/gal in the area we'd like to meet you. If you've ever wanted to work for a cutting-edge startup company, but don't want to pick up and move to Silicon Valley to do it, then LeanKit may just be the place for you.

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