Kanban Release Train

Monday, December 21, 2015
posted by daveb

Kanban is an ideal candidate to use with a “Release Train”. The Release Train works like a freight train that leaves every week at the same time. The user stories that are tested and ready to ship go on the train and get delivered. If a story is not quite ready we don’t work overtime nor do we change the ‘train’ schedule, we just ship whatever is ready to ship at that time, and if something misses the train there’s another one next week. Occasionally a ‘special’ train runs between the normal scheduled times because there is something of value to deliver.

Some stakeholders/customers may want to know exactly when a particular feature will ship and the down side of this approach is we don’t really make such promises. What we do though, is to build trust – stakeholders don’t tend to hover about asking what the team is working on when quality software is shipping on a regular basis.

This approach is based on the idea of Optimizing the Flow of Value to the business/customer. If we deliver to the customer feature B instead of feature A this week, they still get to see a stream of value flowing their way, and that is something that makes customers happy.



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