I’m writing a book on Kanban!

· April 5, 2012

A fantastic thing has happened to me.

A couple of months ago I got the strangest mail sent to me. It was from Manning Publications and asked me if I would be so kind as to phone a person called Michael there. I understood it as if Manning was going to launch a book on Kanban and if I could come with some ideas or suggestions on the proposed content.

Mike and I talked for awhile. What have I done around Kanban? Could I please describe it in 5 minutes for a total newbie (not that Mike was that :))? What would I see in a book on Kanban? questions like that for about 45 minutes.

Then - all of a sudden - the final question (just about the time as my twins were tearing down the door and entering the room, i might add):

Would I be interested in writing that book for Manning?

I was totally taken by surprise! After the mail and some of the content of that I had some dreams but I never thought that it would actually happen. I have never aspired to write a book, although I’ve often wonder if i could do it given the chance. How do you actually do it? Just crack your knuckles and start to write? How much time does it take?

All these questions and the feeling of “why, on the earth did they call me?” was speeding through my head as I tried to end the call in a composed manner. When the virtual Skype hook was off the line I screamed right out, scaring wife, kids and probably some neighbors too.

So I’m going to write a book!

Now what?

Two thoughts now came over me; firstly the impostor syndrome - who am I? People who are very knowledgeable about Kanban will read this and critique it…. Secondly - given what I talked with Mike about if I just wrote down the things that me and Joakim Sundén have been presenting numerous times it will be the book right there.

After thinking that second thought I felt that I would be able to live with myself without at least asking Joakim if he wanted to help me write the book. He did (!!!!).

And that also helped me with my impostor symptoms, i experienced. I could not think of a person better rooted in the Kanban community and with a greater knowledge to back him up. Most things I’ve picked up around Kanban have either come from Joakim or been pointers from him. He has also opened a lot of doors for me with speaking opportunities and contacts in the Kanban world.

So we’re going to write it together. And I’m very happy about that too.

What is it about?

Since the reference work about Kanban is written already, and we didn’t feel that taking up competition with that book was a good idea, fruitful or really needed for that matter either, our book takes a whole different approach. We’re writing a very practical book that shows a lot of different patterns that has emerged in the Kanban community around how to solve different situations, problems and opportunities.

Here’s a short excerpt from the introduction:

This book is a down-to-earth, no-frills, get-to-know-the-ropes introduction to Kanban based on observations (and some hearsay!) and learnings from two guys experience of Kanban from working with and coaching dozens of Kanban teams; talking and teaching at conferences, and actively participating in user groups and the Kanban community for the last couple of years.

In this book you will read about basic but powerful techniques on how to visualize work; how the board can be constructed, tracking work and it’s progress, visualizing queues and buffers and even nitty-gritty details such as colors and other decorations that help you to organize and track your work items.

You will also pick up some practical advice on how to limit your work in process throughout your workflow; by setting that limit in different, visual ways, when to change it and how track it.

How are you going to do it?

We’re going try an open process to how to write this book by documenting the patterns on a blog (www.kanbaninactionbook.com) as we write them. We hope to get feedback and suggestions for alterations and that new patterns

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