David Joyce

A Journey to Systemic Improvement


Part one of this talk revolves around a series of experience reports following the introduction of Kanban in mid 2008.

After Kanban principles were applied in a single product team, Kanban “flu” spread to teams doing legacy application support, fixed delivery projects, product development, creative design, a commercial off the shelf (COTS) implementation and SAP within BBC Worldwide.

The experience reports will show empirical evidence that teams using Kanban have achieved high levels of maturity and have done so within time frames hitherto unreported.

It will show how Kanban sets an expectation of flow, provides improved predictability and business agility, and enables a kaizen culture (continuous improvement driven from the shop floor) via bottleneck management, waste reduction and variability reduction, thus enabling teams to visualise and implement improvements.

Part two of this talk centres on Systems Thinking.

Kanban encourages a whole “system” view rather than a locally optimised IT view, it changes the underlying paradigm from project-centric, to flow and value-stream centric.

Within agile circles there is focus on delivering “value” or “valuable working software” or “delivering quality code” but what if we are just doing the wrong thing righter?

Decisions about the use of IT should only be taken from a position of knowing the “what and why” of current performance as a system.

Traditional IT leaves “knowledge of the work” to a mixture of business analysts, Product Owners, proxy customers and managers views. The traditional approach of IT implementation is “push” – here is the new IT system, now how do we get people to use it.

In the Systems Thinking approach IT is “pulled”, the people doing the work understand the “what and why” and “pull” IT applications into parts of the work knowing what to expect.

This second part of the talk will summarise Systems Thinking, how it can be of benefit, and how Kanban has led to it being applied within BBC Worldwide.


david120140 David is an agile development manager and coach with 12 years technical team management and coaching experience, and 20 years software development experience.

In recent years, using Scrum and XP, David has coached onshore and offshore development teams and successfully launched an internet video startup from inception to launch. David currently works for BBC Worldwide as a Development Manager, coaching teams on Lean, Kanban and Systems Thinking. David is a certified Scrum Master, Lean practitioner and Kanban coach.