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How Kanban Got Hot - David Anderson Interview

by Mitch Pronschinske

David Anderson was the first person to implement Kanban methodology in software development, which kick-started the use of Kanban in any project management today.

After David's experiments with it at Corbis and Microsoft IT Department in 2004, he began publishing the results and spreading the word about the effects of applying this methodology to software development. Throughout 2008 he attended many events, during which he talked about Kanban with the result of people going back to their offices and trying it out. This is when Kanban movement began gathering a real growth momentum. The number of people speaking about Kanban was vast and has been growing ever since.


The interest with Kanban is most present in European and South American countries (not in Asia, interestingly - although there is a small whiteboard presence and it is being referred to as "Kanban", it's not an Agile Kanban, it only comes from the literal meaning of the word: visual sign).

Anderson notices two distinctive groups implementing Kanban as a project management method. First one are the companies that have had problems with implementing Agile methods previous to Kanban. Because Scrum and XP demand a complete change and very often intrude the way the team not only works, but also perceives the work and their own skill and competence, they very often are hard to apply and stick to.

The other group are companies that have never tried to become Agile at all, but are happy to apply Kanban and allow for any organizational problems to reveal themselves as they go. Since Kanban doesn't require for anyone's job to alter, the team can apply the WIP limits and visualize workflow while letting the problems come to the surface of their own accord. Later on it turned out that the second type of company became the most receptive to Kanban.

Although initially only applied by software development teams, nowadays it is a project management method popular among all different types of businesses (from consulting, journalism, through production to finance and accounting operations). Read the article below to find out what good can it do to your business.

Read our article on why you may want to use Kanban »
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