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Predicting the Unpredictable, and Real-World Kanban in print

June 24, 2015

July is nearly upon us, which means the year is half over already. How are those New Year's resolutions coming along? How are last year's or first quarter estimates coming along?

For help with the ever pernicious topic of estimates, head straight to Johanna Rothman's Predicting the Unpredictable: Pragmatic Approaches to Estimating Project Schedule or Cost (

And for help with a Kanban approach to focusing on value, bottlenecks and delays, you'll want to study Mattias Skarin's Real-World Kanban (, now in print and shipping (remember: paper books do not require electricity or Internet connections ;).

Come and get 'em!

Predicting the Unpredictable: Pragmatic Approaches to Estimating Project Schedule or Cost

If you have trouble estimating cost or schedule for your projects, you are not alone. The question is this: who wants the estimate and why?

The definition of estimate is “guess.” But too often, the people who want estimates want commitments. Instead of a commitment, you can apply practical and pragmatic approaches to developing estimates and then meet your commitments. You can provide your managers with the information they want and that you can live with.

Learn how to use different words for your estimates and how to report an estimate that includes uncertainty. Learn who should—and should not—estimate. Learn how to update your estimate when you know more about your project.

Regain estimation sanity. Learn practical and pragmatic ways to estimate schedule or cost for your projects.

This book was written and produced entirely by the author. We are proud to be distributing it.

Now available from

Real-World Kanban: Do Less, Accomplish More with Lean Thinking

Learn a Lean approach by seeing how Kanban made a difference in four real-world situations. You'll explore how four different teams used Kanban to make paradigm-changing improvements in software development. These teams were struggling with overwork, unclear priorities, and lack of direction. As you discover what worked for them, you'll understand how to make significant changes in real situations.

The four case studies in this book explain how to:

  • Improve the full value chain by using Enterprise Kanban
  • Boost engagement, teamwork, and flow in change management and operations
  • Save a derailing project with Kanban
  • Help an office team outside IT keep up with growth using Kanban

What seems easy in theory can become tangled in practice. Discover why "improving IT" can make you miss your biggest improvement opportunities, and why you should focus on fixing quality and front-end operations before IT. Discover how to keep long-term focus and improve across department borders while dealing with everyday challenges. Find out what happened when using Kanban to find better ways to do work in a well-established company, including running multi-team development without a project office.

You'll inspire your team and engage management to make it easier to develop better products.

Q&A with Mattias Skarin, author of Real-World Kanban

Q: Does Kanban work in real life?

A: Absolutely. One of the strengths of Kanban is that it’s easy to apply to a range of different contexts. The book contains four in-depth case studies where Kanban was used. In one case, Kanban was applied across the full value stream. In another case, Kanban was used in a back office team outside IT. Being able to see the full picture, and getting focus, better collaboration, and teamwork were some of the benefits reported by our teams in all four cases. Kanban won’t solve problems for you. That’s up to you. In the book, you’ll find plenty of tips and tricks our teams used to do just that.

Q: What will I get from this book?

A: You will get an insight into how the different teams set up their Kanban boards, how they interacted with the board and what worked for them. You will find various tips and tricks our teams used to problem solve across organizational borders. You will learn how we trained management to see strategic improvement opportunities, which helped us avoid “plateauing” after the first Kanban implementation. It also helped management to look beyond existing practices—to see, discuss, and replace old and heavy processes with simpler and better ones.

Q: How do I improve with Kanban?

A: Kanban helps greatly by giving you focus if you respect the board. Kanban can also help you visualize bottlenecks, delays, and quality problems such as rework. But it doesn’t solve them for you. That’s up to you! The good news is that you will find plenty of tips and tricks in the book our teams and managers used to address problems.

Kanban does not tell you what decisions to make or what to pay attention to. You have to look for the right indicators in order to see them. In the Introduction chapter, I share the long-term thinking that helped guide our improvement efforts and helped us train managers to see and close the gap between observation and action.

Now in print and shipping from

Upcoming Author Appearances

  • 2015-06-25 Adam Tornhill, EuroClojure 2015, Barcelona, Spain
  • 2015-06-25 Ian Dees, Open Source Bridge, Portland
  • 2015-06-29 Seb Rose, SPA, London
  • 2015-06-29 Rachel Davies, SPA2015, London, UK
  • 2015-07-20 Rob Miller, Brighton Ruby Conference 2015
  • 2015-07-21 Johanna Rothman, Uberconf, Denver, CO
  • 2015-07-22 Johanna Rothman, Uberconf, Denver, CO
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