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Pawel Brodzinski on Software Project Management

The Kanban Story: The Beginning

So I found myself in this small team, part of a bigger company but working pretty independent of the rest of people here. Kind of start-upish environment. I knew every single person I worked with. Well, actually I’d chosen most of them and hired them here. The team was great (if you guys are reading this: no, it is not a reason to come for a raise) and personally I didn’t feel an urge to strictly control everything. On the other hand some order is always a nice thing.

Initially I gave a lot of thought to project management practices and didn’t come with a solution I was happy with.

I rejected PMP-based heavy-weight process which works for many projects in the organization. We didn’t need all the hassle they bring. At least not at that stage. A natural idea was Scrum which I didn’t like either. Scrum is pretty formalized methodology too and I wanted to avoid formalisms as much as possible. Actually with a lot of R&D work, pretty much prototyping and priorities changing all the time I needed something more flexible.

I didn’t want to be time-boxed since we were planning to work simultaneously on a few independent small projects which would be hard to synchronize if we wanted to put them all in one team-wide sprint. Creating independent sprints for each of projects was a complete overkill since you don’t really need Scrum sprint for a one-and-a-half-person project.

Actually I’d say we were at the point where we were too flexible for agile methods. Now, go burn me in flames for being iconoclast.

After some discussions we collectively agreed we wouldn’t adopt Scrum as a whole but would use some of techniques used there and some other ideas we thought were good. In the next post in the series you’ll find more details how we initially organized our development.

Keep an eye on the whole story.

in: kanban

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