I’m just wrapping up after attending and speaking at Lean Kanban Central Europe 2011 in Munich. All in all, it was a great conference. The organizer, it-Agile with Arne Roock and Bernd Schiffer and the other great people helping out, did a great job. They also demonstrated great creativity.
The conference venue was an old “Artist House” in the middle of Munich, with big halls and a romantic ambiance, but with all the tech you need to hold a good conference. An artist produced paintings during the conference. The gala dinner on the first day was frankly splendid.
The organizers practiced what they preached. As the queues at the Lunch buffet were long the first day, Kanban with Roulette or Poker Chips were introduced as tokens to alleviate these queues on the second day. I wonder how many chips were missing after lunch.. Anyway, it worked. After getting a free chip, we enjoyed the lunch in the not so crowded area due to the queuing.
We had great talks by Karl Scotland, Paul Allan Klipp, David Anderson, Kent Beck, John Seddon and Stephen Bungay, just to mention the ones that I attended. Others were probably just as good, but with three parallel tracks one has to make choices. David Anderson talked about on Predictability and Measurement with Kanban. Paul Allan Klipp offered helpful tips for selling Kanban. Perhaps the most striking quote came from Kent Beck: “The future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed”. He was speaking about shortening release cycles.
Two open, or little-addressed themes which I think many are challenged by are contractual issues and the “interface” to senior management. I think the software industry and IT organizations have a lot of work to (re)gain the trust of senior executives, and this was mentioned by several speakers. Continuously delivering quality software can help alleviate this.
As I had expected, the focus at this conference was very much on just Kanban, individuals teams, and the boards. This made my own “Beyond Kanban” talk stand out, with more high-level Lean concepts for helping improve organizational performance and meet business goals.
I look forward to next year’s conference in Vienna.