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Kanban Training at Spotify NYC

We are reaching out after a successful Kanban training and LeanUX conference presentation in New York City! And in true New Yorker style it was simultaneously both “awesome” and “epic”

We had the pleasure of implementing a Kanban training at our friends from Spotify in Manhattan. Spotify is drastically growing and this can also be seen in their office building. They now have a new floor with completely new rooms and we even had the honor of using the room “Where’s your head at” (cool song by Basement Jaxx) first. The rooms at Spotify are really quite unique and are optimally and effectively laid out for cooperative work. Food and drink (including beer) are all complementary, there are numerous public areas where larger groups can work together as well as many lounges where people can retreat for more in-depth conversations. There is also a stage with a plethora of instruments which workers regularly jam out on. Of course, such a company cannot do without such a setup. But, do not take our word for it; have a look at the pictures for yourself…

And in the middle of this inspirational environment, the “Applying Kanban” training took place. Within this extremely international group, the level of knowledge was very high and the participants from Spotify surely contributed to that. If there is such a thing as an agile organization, then Spotify is the ideal role model, as seen in the following video:

There is still some lingering jet lag, but that will surely subside. We are more worried about switching back to the language of the German-speaking countries. After all, “Fucking awesome shit” does not fly too well here in our corner of the globe…


Lean Kanban Central Europe 2014

The Lean Kanban Central Europe Conference 2014 (#LKCE14) is now history. On the 11th and 12th of November, the Kanban world came together in Hamburg and LEANabilitiy was, of course, in the middle of it all. This year, as one of the program board members of the LKCE, Klaus presided over the Learning Track. And learning was definitely part of the program:

The Track took place on the first day of the conference and began with guests who have come from as far as South Africa. Amjid Ali (aka AJ) and Cliff Hazell presented their Kanban story Introducing Kanban as instrument of change at Momentum, one of South Africa’s largest insurance companies who began a training with Klaus exactly one year ago in Cape Town. Now, one year later, all of the roughly 100 people in AJ’s department are working with Kanban and the Momentum Kanban fire is continuing to spread, as can be seen in the following video:


Then we continued with Eric-Jan Kaak, the CIO of the Tecnica Group. In 2013, Eric-Jan was named the CIO of the year in Austria because of introducing Kanban at the ski manufacturer Blizzard. With his session, “You don’t become olympic champion in one day” he showed us how Lean was introduced into Blizzard’s production and what that means for knowledge work. This was very exciting because you also got to see “the other Lean”.

In the afternoon, Klaus Leopold and Troy Magennis opened to a packed room. Approximately 85 individuals wanted to understand how to learn from blockers. For those who have attended the LEANability trainings, the Blocker-Cluster is of course nothing new, especially since Klaus has been speaking about this for more than 3 years now. However, during this session, both of them expanded upon the idea with heuristics which can help to solve the right cluster first. Klaus and Troy presented, among other things, a simulation which can be used to quantify the economical value of the Blocker-Cluster. Euros are, of course, still the most convincing argument for implementing improvements. The slides for the session can be found here:


In a relaxed atmosphere, things continued with Marcin Floryan and his session about Learning Entropy, followed by Karl Scotland who presented Kanban Canvas. Those who know them know to expect interactive elements within their sessions. By the way, all of the sessions were filmed and, in about 4-weeks’ time, the videos will be available on the LKCE14 website.

Because one of the conference speakers dropped out on short notice, Klaus Leopold jumped in with a second lecture. “Scaling Kanban” was the title. Within the session, Klaus spoke in the beginning about agile scalability misunderstandings. In his opinion, the largest incorrect assumption is that numerous agile teams create an agile company. Klaus impressively demonstrated that this is not the case during his session. Due to the fact that Klaus does not really prefer theoretical perspectives, he presented very concrete, practical examples of how Kanban can be applied to a program of about 200 people. The slides for this lecture can be found here:

All in all – it was really a successful conference executed in a perfectly organized LKCE-manner at which many new contacts were created and existing ones were reinforced. It was really nice and we are looking forward to next year #LKCE15!

Premiere – Improving and Scaling Kanban in South Africa

On October 20 and 21, it was all about Applying Kanban. We were already sold out six weeks before the training and even had to comfort interested individuals by putting them on a pre-registration list for the next South Africa training in May 2015. The energy level in the room was sensational – 30 South Africans, what else do you need to know Chris Olivier supported Klaus during the training in every way possible in order to keep the crowd under control.

One year ago, Chris attended the Kanban training in Cape Town and immediately after the training he hit the ground running within his company: approx. 70 individuals are successfully doing Kanban. Chris took advantage of the situation and presented his success story “Kanban at Momentum” during the training. What better practice!

By the way, the Momentum Case Study is also a part of the Learning Track (the Track Chair is none other than Klaus Leopold) at the Lean Kanban Central Europe Conference in Hamburg on the 11th and 12th of November. AJ (Amjid Ali) and Cliff Hazell will present the Momentum stories and, of course, Chris will also be there!

After a short break on Wednesday, we continued with “Improving & Scaling Kanban” on the 23rd and 24th of October. Klaus presented his new training for the first time – so to say, a world premier in South Africa. And I think we can safely say that the premier was a success. The participants and the trainer were happy.

This advanced training is decidedly directed towards people with practical Kanban experience. The idea is to improve upon the participants’ own Kanban systems and to fill up on in-depth Kanban knowledge. Have a look at the attached Value Proposition image. The feedback shows that specifically two points were viewed as quite valuable:

  1. The exchange with other participants – to see how the others do it.
  2. The call to involve more people from the company because this intensifies the exchange and thus drastically eases the transfer from training situations to real life application.

We are currently thinking of how we can better involve and integrate both of these points into the coming dates and especially within the organization pertaining to the trainings.

By the way, the first advanced trainings in German Kanban anwenden[1]  are on…

  • February 9 10 in Vienna,
  • April 29 30 in Zurich and
  • June 25 26 in Cologne.

Oh, and this is what the participants from the two trainings sound like:

  • “Knowledge-busting, mind-bending, exciting, enjoyable, practical, sensible – plain down awesome! A great course to be on!”, Yusuf Desai, Derivco, Durban, ZA 
  • “Plenty to take home and improve straight away”, Ros Dunn, ACI Worldwide, Cape Town, ZA 
  • “Educational, enlightening and empowering!”, Lizel Moolman, Momentum, Durban, ZA 
  • “Awesome course, very interactive and informative. Absolutely coming back for the Advanced course. Thank you Klaus!”, Douglas Boshoff, Derivco, Durban, ZA 
  • “Food for thought”, Doug Crawford, Entelect Software (Pty) Ltd , Johannesburg, ZA 
  • “My Kanban is now deeper!”, Leonard Joubert, Momentum, Centurion, ZA 
  • “Re-Enlightning, fun learning from others, with others and with Klaus”, Joanne Perold, ScrumSense, Johannesburg, ZA 
  • “Time well spent! I learned a lot.”, Lesiba Kekana, Momentum, Durban, ZA 
  • “#PennyDropped #FlowRider”, Alvin Govindan, Momentum, Durban, ZA 
  • “#keepflowing #kanban #fun”, Callie Robinson, Derivco, Durban, ZA

Klaus Leopold wins the Brickell Key Award

LEANability back from San Francisco – in our luggage, the Brickell Key Award! At this year’s #LKNA14, Klaus was awarded “for outstanding achievement and leadership” in the Lean Kanban world. This makes us really proud, especially when you consider the international circle of nominees:

  • Amanda Varella, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Bernadette Dario, Ontario, Canada
  • Christophe Achouiantz, Borlange, Sweden
  • Håkan Forss, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Klaus Leopold, Vienna, Austria
  • Lu Ning, Beijing, China

The two winners were Klaus Leopold, for his contributions to Lean Kanban as an author, speaker, and thought leader and Amanda Varella, who has been moving forward a large Kanban implementation at Petrobas in Brazil since 2008.

Our good friend, Mike Burrows, received the Community Contribution Award for his work involving the topics of ethics, values and principles within Kanban.

Here is a short video which presents all six nominees…