Kanban in Action – A Book Review
Kanban in Action, 1st Edition, introduces kanban methodology to software teams as a way of helping them organize, prioritize and track their work items. It provides a discussion of ideas and principles, how to identify and manage workflow as well as advanced techniques such as planning, estimating and metrics. It is a practical guide to help teams who are facing challenges about the clarity and visibility of their work. The book also contains examples of successful kanban implementations.
The first paperback edition measures 0.8 in. thick, 7.5 in. wide, and 9.5 in. tall. It weighs about 1.3 pounds for all its 360 pages divided into 13 chapters. The book was published by Manning Publications in March 2014 in English. ISBN-10: 1617291056; ISBN-13: 978-1617291050
Kanban in Action is primarily for software teams and other IT project teams. These teams are responsible for receiving requests and inputs from business stakeholders to develop, update or revise a software system or program, test it, and roll it out for specific customers and users. As a result, they create software programs or solutions from ideas through to actual features. Other functional teams interested in using Lean and Agile methodologies to improve the way they manage work can also benefit from this book.
What Customers Say
Steve G. (BarnesandNoble) stated that Kanban in Action allowed himself to be re-introduced to kanban and its main principles. He found the topics on WIP limit very helpful. The reader was also impressed with the authors’ knowledge and experience about kanban tools and techniques.
Alessandro C. (Amazon) agreed that the book is a great introduction to kanban. He further describes it as a real in-action book, using examples and practical tips to apply the method. He also found it surprisingly amusing the games that the authors included in the last chapter as a great way to explain kanban to co-workers.
Banner S. (Amazon) stated that the third part of the book was very helpful and easier to read. He described the first part as a little slow. Moreover, he recommends readers to not read it straight through like a traditional book but instead read the first chapter and jump around the other chapters, using it as a reference.
Content, Approach, Style
Content: Kanban in Action is divided in 3 parts. The first part introduces kanban in the form of a fictional story about a software team. The reader can get a good grasp of what it is enough to help them start. The point being relayed is more for practical purposes than for theoretical ones. The second part discusses more in detail through several chapters deeper details of the principles, ideas and practical ways to apply kanban. The third and final part provides more advanced concepts and tips.
Approach/Tone: The authors introduces kanban and its principles with everyday language that is easy to understand. Sometimes, there are humorous tone and funny descriptions, making the book for an easy read.
Style: The book uses stories as well as real examples. The test is easy to read in short paragraphs. The topics are well divided. Illustrations, charts and graphs, lists and special markers to attract reader attention are also included. Furthermore, the games included are unique and fun ways to express important ideas of kanban.
Why Buy the Book
Kanban in Action is a great book about the benefits of a visual methodology for implementing a way to organize and track work. The book emphasizes 3 important elements that make kanban very effective, and they are visualize, limit work in process, and manage flow. It is a great practical reference for introducing and quickly starting a team on kanban, but does not dwell much on theory or history.
Marcus Hammarberg is a consultant at Aptitud, an IT consultancy firm based in Stockholm, Sweden. Marcus has been with the IT industry for more than 15 years and has serve in various positions such as software developer, system architect, and Lean and Agile coach. He is on LinkedIn and on Twitter.
Joakim Sunden is an Agile Coach at Spotify, as was Marcus Hammarberg. Joakim is also an experienced IT professional of more than 15 years in Sweden. He co-founded the first Kanban user groups in Europe. He has also served as software developer, consultant and Agile coach for several companies, mostly in Sweden, and currently in Boston, MA, USA. Joakim is also on LinkedIn and on Twitter.