Book Review: Lean from the Trenches: Managing Large-Scale Projects with Kanban


Real life examples are always crucial in understanding as they can translate abstract theoretical concepts into things we can relate to from our experience. Anyone looking from above the whole Agile concept and its techniques or methodologies may seem lost. I know I felt lost when I first begun to be educated in the agile mindset. And while zooming in and reading specific frameworks like Scrum and Kanban is very useful, it is most interesting to get real life examples for the whole time span.

The book I recently read, “Lean from the Trenches: Managing Large-Scale Projects with Kanban by Henrik Knibergdoes exactly that, offers a captivating real life example.

First things first the author is a popular keynote speaker at conferences worldwide, he has an excellent knowledge about Agile and he is super-good at his work. I have heard from fellow agileans that he is an excellent presenter and writer and he truly is. He takes the whole Kanban concept and implements it on a complex Public organization by demonstrating how agile principles are being used in a large scale project for the Swedish police. The important thing to note is not the mere fact they are using Scrum and Kanban, but the way they adapt them into their job context.

The book has two major parts. The actual case study and some additional info for the readers.

The first part is the most interesting, presenting the use of agile techniques and the way this process is still changing and being optimized. Reading the story provokes you to think how you could use it in your own work. Other than the technicalities of the actual Kanban board and process, the main thing that the reader should take in is the notion of “people mindset”. Without people mentality being receptive to change and trust the whole thing wouldn’t work. From the upper manager to the developer and even the end-user.

Kniberg is such a good writer that while reading the book you get the feeling you belong to one of the teams in the case study. I learned stuff and really enjoyed reading this book. It is certainly a must read.

George Psistakis

I love technology and working with people. That is why I am trying to offer as much as I can at the local startup ecosystem and at the same time building Apirise. A platform to reduce time and effort required to integrate and maintain APIs. Simply, fast and efficiently!
I am co-organizer of the Agile Greece and API Athens meetups and I contribute at the Developer Economics Blog.

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