As described in David J. Andersons book Kanban – Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business
Kanban is not a software development lifecycle methodology or an approach to project management. It requires that some process is already in place so that Kanban can be applied to incrementally change the underlying process.
Kanban is an evolutionary process improvement tool that can act as a catalyst for improving your existing process.
[ Edit: David J. Anderson just posted to the kanbandev group – Is there a Kanban Process? ]
If you don’t have a process already in place or you are very unhappy with you current process you may, and I say may, want to put in place a new process in one big change.
Otherwise, and this is the most likely scenario, you should start by doing a value stream map of your current process. Based on that value stream map apply the Five Core Properties of a Kanban Implementation:
- Visualize Workflow
- Limit work-in-progress
- Measure & Manage Flow
- Make Process Policies Explicit
- Use Models to Recognize Improvement Opportunities
As you can read above and in referenced texts there are no reference to a specific set of process steps or artifacts. Process steps and artifacts are the core parts of a TFS process template. Therefore it is not especially interesting to develop a specific Kanban process template.
However, TFS has some very useful features that can be very useful when applying Kanban on you existing process.
- Process templates – If your existing process is similar to any of the may TFS process templates out there, use the one that has the best fit as a starting point and make adjustments.
- Reporting – the built-in data warehouse is great for collecting and reporting on your flow of work. You probably need to add some new reports but much of the reports and data is already there.
- Test and Build system – Focus on Quality and Deliver Often are two out of the six steps in the recipe for success and the automated Test and Build system in TFS are great tools to achieve these steps.
There are pieces missing in the TFS product today for it to be a great fit for applying Kanban. Some of these are:
- No build-in Workflow Visualization tool
- No build-in support for “enforcing” work-in-progress limits (WIP limits)
- No good tools for making process changes friction less
- Some useful reports are missing
These are areas where new tooling for TFS could be very useful but a complete Kanban process template is most likely a waste of time.