Lean Software Experience Report – R&D IT at GSK (2008-9)

Jul 6, 2010 · Morrisville, United States of America

In May 2009, Jeff Canna presented at AgileRTP concerning the beginning stages of adopting a Kanban board. In this meeting Greg Frazer and Jeff Canna will present what has transpired over the last year. For an average of five years, our program team at GlaxoSmithKline had been utilizing the principles and practices of Agile XP and maturing our software development process. Practically our entire team had been identified as Agile Coaches for other programs in the huge R&D IT organization that were looking for feedback from experienced mentors. Not finding the same level of dramatic improvement within the Agile community, it was time for our innovators to start searching for new approaches to developing software. What were the items that we had grown blind to now? During late 2007 and early 2008, we started recognizing the work of several folks in the Lean Software community that appeared to be significantly more advanced in terms of self-organizing behaviors and their focus on speed of flow through the 'system'. Only a little self-reflection was necessary to realize that the vast majority of things that were disrupting or stopping our own flow were self-inflicted. Within six months (late 2008) we had developed an online kanban collaboration tool and had identified our first targeted program of work to apply these new principles and methods. Three months later, we were actively moving work through the system using the kanban tool and Lean principles (albeit somewhat rocky to begin with). I will present our experiences and learnings, covering the following eighteen months as we explored the basic Lean principles in detail in applying it to our product development. Major topics will include: - How we got started - Multiple Products, Multiple Teams, Combined Process (setup choices) - Limiting Work-In-Process - Learning to Pull - Metrics and Visual Cues - Results

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