Growing up Vietnamese-American, I was taught to honor and respect people, never to waste anything and to always think beyond myself. I was also taught to hide conflict and to ignore problems, especially if had to do with someone senior to me.
I learned quickly that honor and respect cannot last without surfacing conflict and proactively resolving issues. At LeanKit, our culture starts with people. The diverse, quirky personalities in our company are allowed to shine through — they make us who we are.
But our traditions go deeper than bacon, Doctor Who, and Nerf guns. They’re rooted in an intrinsic hunger and drive to work together to improve the way the world works. We know that respect for people is one of the most effective Lean improvement methods, which enables us to maintain our agility, and adapt to change quickly and sustainably.
Changing customer expectations, “burning platforms,” competitive pressures, and increasing regulatory requirements are just a few of the substantial challenges that modern business leaders face. These pressures have pushed many businesses from the merely complicated to the complex domain, requiring new approaches to management — evolutionary agility at scale.
My name is Amber Bartlett and I’m an Education Specialist at LeanKit. I have the pleasure of working with customers as they begin implementing our tool. One question that I get fairly regularly has to do with how many boards one person should have. Should each project get its own board, or is there a better way?
In concept, having a board for each project sounds logical. Each board would be so tidy! The cards on each board would all be about one thing, so you wouldn’t have to wade through unrelated material to find what you need. At the end of each project, you can neatly tuck each board into the archive, and start the next project on a fresh, new board. This is how project managers have been doing things for years.
However, doing things the “way we’ve always done it” is hardly a step in the direction of continuous improvement. If you manage this way, are you truly making steps towards becoming the Lean company that you are working to be?
What Lean Teams Can Learn from Crew
I was working on a conference presentation the other day and found a picture of a crew team. It reminded me of a similar picture our marketing team has used on the LeanKit website, and how well that metaphor fits both Lean and me personally. I was in crew in high school. I still have my team jacket in my closet 20 years later. That may be corny nostalgia, but it speaks to the impact of the experience.
I rowed in quads. Quads are the boats where each rower faces backwards, with an oar in each hand, and there’s a coxswain in the back of the boat facing forward to guide the crew. It’s a wonderful metaphor for successful Lean teamwork.
What are Vanity Metrics?
Vanity, as an adjective, means “produced as a showcase for one’s talents” — i.e., a vanity production. When we showcase our own talents, we choose what makes us look good and ignore what doesn’t.
In this post, we’ll look at an IT Operations team that is caught in an interesting, though not uncommon, situation involving vanity metrics. Then, I’ll discuss the dangers of vanity metrics, and present a quick test you can to do to evaluate your own success measures.
Hello, my name is Tyler Welton. I am a Security Engineer at LeanKit and I love it. I spend a large portion of my time fulfilling both defensive and offensive security duties for our web application, infrastructure and security culture.
Information security is hard. Providing good security is even harder. Agile development methodology and the practice of Lean principles has allowed industry leaders to produce and deploy software faster and more frequently than in decades before. Naturally, our diligence to protect this software, and our ways of doing so, must evolve too.
People are talking about the misaligned middle. How can it be that executives understand the value of emerging practices in IT Operations, such as Lean and DevOps, and individual contributors in the trenches get it, but the middle managers just don’t seem to? Are they unaware? Stubborn? Is it learned helplessness?