James Shore and Arlo Belshee

Single Piece Flow in Kanban, a How-To

Most Kanban systems pull work, continuously, through a sequence of phases in order to take advantage of specialists and match existing org charts. However, this fundamentally limits how low you can drop WiP, adds complexity, places constraints on your ability to Optimize the Whole System, and prevents whole-system Single Piece Flow. Teams struggle with constraints in one part of the system while excess capacity exists in another. There is always something “in progress.” As a result, they have trouble shipping software.

This session reveals the secret sauce of the “Portland School” of Kanban: simultaneous phases. These techniques have been part of Agile from the beginning, but few teams are aware of them and even fewer practice them. In this highly interactive session, come experience how simultaneous phases allow you to avoid hacks like “buffers,” “managing constraints,” or “refactoring stories,” and make single-piece continuous flow possible.


James Shore James Shore is a thought leader in the Agile software development community. He consults with development teams worldwide to help them achieve high throughput, market focus, productivity, and quality. His work helps teams generate opportunities, reduce costs, and respond quickly and effectively to changing market conditions. James was an early adopter of Agile development and he continues to lead, teach, write and consult on Agile development processes. In 2001, he was one of the first ten people to sign the newly-released Agile Manifesto and in 2005 he was an inaugural recipient of the prestigious Gordon Pask Award for Contributions to Agile Practice. James is a popular lecturer on software development process and his work is frequently referenced in software trade publications. He is the co-author of The Art Of Agile Development (O’Reilly, 2007).
Arlo Belshee I do what needs to be done, and I do it well. If I don’t know how to do it, I will learn from people, books, the web, and experimentation – simultaneously. I quickly learn the systems behind systems, and within a few days am able to flex any system in ways in which God Did Not Intend – and ways in which he did – to get the job done.

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