I'm one of the lead developers on the IMS team, at Dartmouth College for 12 years, and a professional programmer for 30 years. Every group I've worked with has struggled with the endless backlog of end-user requests, changing business needs, and limited resources. Our team implemented Kanban at one of our lowest points, when people were sick of things and leaving, VPs were frustrated that we couldn't get work we'd committed to done in what they thought was a reasonable time, and we struggled to figure out what work should come next.
I'm now a total convert and can speak to what worked for us, how the team has to change their mindset about their work, how we kept the administration and overhead to a minimum and the tremendous boost in productivity that ensued, both immediately and long-term. I plan to discuss the additional improvements that occurred once we included our end-users in this process, so they own the work backlog, set our priorities to match their immediate needs and they understand better how software is developed. I'll also discuss the simple yet effective metrics used to track how our productivity is changing, for the team to review and discover how we can improve even more. An update will describe how and why IMS "upgraded" from Kanban to Scrum this past winter.
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