Flattening the Curve a Metaphor for a Healthy Flow of Work

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Autor: Agustín Villena

The coronavirus pandemic has taught us that when the number of patients that the health system can attend to is exceeded, the system collapses and provokes unfortunate losses in human lives. This phenomenon is not uncommon for modern job management. We are constantly flooded with a burden of commitments that exceed our capacity and lead to a level of unhealthy stress.

Kanban is a method that puts the emphasis on this problem, and calls it excess of “Work In Progress” (WiP), understanding WiP as all the “half done” work that is, that is to say, work that we are dealing with but that has not yet generated value for our clients or requesters.

Since 2007 we have been practicing Kanban at our work, and this concept about “limit WiP” has proven to be tremendously difficult to implement, mainly because achieving it implies reaching agreement with a person who has more power than the one who implements the work (the boss for a team of workers, a large client for a service company, or a business area for a technology company), what we have called “requester-producer relationship”.

In this presentation, I explored how a concept made common by the pandemic such as “flattening the curve” could enable the conversation between Applicants and Producers to enable a more collaborative relationship that enables better and faster delivery, both key components no only in Kanban, but also of the Heart of Agile.

Flattering the curve

Webinar slides

Below are the slides from the webinar made on May 11, 2020 and broadcast through the chilean agile community ChileAgil meetup.