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Lean from the Trenches: Managing Large-Scale Projects with Kanban


Cover image for Lean from the Trenches

Lean from the Trenches


You know the Agile and Lean development buzzwords, you’ve read the books. But when systems need a serious overhaul, you need to see how it works in real life, with real situations and people. Lean from the Trenches is all about actual practice. Every key point is illustrated with a photo or diagram, and anecdotes bring you inside the project as you discover why and how one organization modernized its workplace in record time.

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About this Title

Pages: 178
Published: 2011-12-07
Release: P1.0 (2011-12-07)
ISBN: 978-1-93435-685-2

Lean from the Trenches is all about actual practice.

Find out how the Swedish police combined XP, Scrum, and Kanban in a 60-person project. From start to finish, you’ll see how to deliver a successful product using Lean principles.

We start with an organization in desperate need of a new way of doing things and finish with cross-functional teams all working in sync to develop a scalable, complex system while continuously improving their development process. You’ll walk through the project step by step, from customer engagement, to the daily “cocktail party,” test, cross-team synchronization, and version control. In this honest look at what works – and what doesn’t – you’ll find out how to:

  • Make quality everyone’s business, not just the testers.
  • Keep everyone moving in the same direction without micromanagement.
  • Use simple and powerful metrics to aid in planning and process improvement.
  • Balance between low-level feature focus and high-level system focus.

You’ll be ready to jump into the trenches and streamline your own development process.

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Contents & Extracts

Full Table of Contents



  • How We Work
    • About the Project
    • Structuring the Teams
    • Attending the Daily Cocktail Party excerpt
    • The Project Board
    • Scaling the Kanban Boards
    • Tracking the High-Level Goal
    • Defining Ready and Done excerpt
    • Handling Tech Stories excerpt
    • Handling Bugs
    • Continuously Improving the Process
    • Managing Work in Progress
    • Capturing and Using Process Metrics
    • Planning the Sprint and Release
    • How We Do Version Control
    • Why We Use Only Physical Kanban Boards
    • What We Learned
  • A Closer Look at the Techniques
    • Agile and Lean in a Nutshell
    • Reducing the Test Automation Backlog
    • Sizing the Backlog with Planning Poker
    • Cause-Effect Diagrams


Henrik Kniberg is a coach and consultant at Crisp. Henrik’s background is a mix of development and management, and his passion is applying Lean and Agile principles to help debug, optimize, and refactor companies. Henrik is the author of Scrum and XP from the Trenches and Kanban & Scrum, making the most of both and a popular keynote speaker at conferences worldwide. Henrik lives in Stockholm with his wife and four kids, and in his “spare time” plays bass and keyboard with two local bands.