Two years of applying Kanban at SAP: a report from the trenches (Alexander Gerber & Martin Engel)


You want to learn how to get from bad to best in just half a year with Kanban? Then this report is not for you. If, on the other hand, you are interested in how Kanban increases the chances in a team to focus on completing things, adapting practices constantly in accordance with the teams work context and within the few constraints defined by Kanban: then this talk might be for you. It is based on the experiences from a team looking back to more than two years of applying Kanban. The team is in charge of supporting a big development department (~2000 people) of Europe’s largest software company, with implementing lean/agile processes. In this session, we want to start with the reasons why our team switched from strict Scrum to Kanban. We will share with you how we tried to continuously improve the way we work (and how we sometimes failed) and what we changed in our Kanban system after improvement meetings (aka retrospectives): workflow, process policies, WIP limits, our metrics and more. We will show real artifacts (cumulative flow charts, run charts, our Kanban board), how they evolved over time, discuss how we used them and how they show effects of our improvement activities. We will also touch upon some drawbacks we experienced. Since we are also supporting implementation of Kanban in other teams with training and coaching, we’ll round up the session with some practical advices on Kanban introduction, based on what we have learned in the last 2–3 years.


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