I have a success story with one of my teams. The plan for a major release had been done using the traditional waterfall process. My team and I transitioned to using Lean processes with Kanban for visualization. Some of the most significant changes:
- Visualization via the Kanban board
- Mapping our current value stream and iterating it via experimentation for process improvements, on average once a week in the beginning and about every 2 weeks afterward
- Limiting Work in Process (WIP) in the lanes of our Kanban, increasing focus and decreasing distractions and bad multitasking
- Eliminating the easiest forms of waste we could. Example: previously much of the documentation for a release waited until the very end, after coding was done. We put the focus on single-piece flow, which means documentation, validation, and testing happens all in-line directly after coding and so developers didn’t waste time trying to remember what they did months ago, as we used to do.
There are more benefits from the changes we made, but we ended up delivering a month early with 1 less FTE than the baseline project plan called for. We ended up not hiring for that position because it was becoming clear we wouldn’t need an extra person any longer because things were going so quickly.