Hatsav (Maritime squill) – By Dany Sternfeld on Flickr
The day has come for FLOWer to bloom (maybe we should call it “Hatzav” (maritime squeel) after the flower that brings the autumn here in israel… btw we are in the middle of october and it feels like July, can’t wait for the Vienna weather next week in Lean Kanban Central Europe 2012 – you’ve got your tickets already, right?)
A couple of months ago I’ve written about experiencing Kanban system design and if you’ve been waiting to see what I’m talking about, today AgileSparks is soft launching FLOWer. Well, at least an initial version of it focused on experiencing the effects of WIP on flow and ROI/Profit of the business. You are welcome to go try FLOWer now.
A couple of notes about the beta:
Starting the simulator and seeing it in action doesn’t require any registration. Just open it and kick the wheels. Tweaking the settings requires registration which is currently done by simply associating your google account. We are assuming most people have a google account. We only keep your emails so we can be in touch, we don’t do anything else with your data.
We are currently in beta mode which means we limit the amount of users registered to the system. Hurry up and register. First come first serve.
We are still figuring out the pricing model. You can leverage that and enjoy it free at the moment. And we will make sure we take good care of early adopters that help us shape up the product.
We are trying to make the simulator and the game self-explanatory. We’re probably not there yet, so please comment or leave feedback on the site itself with anything that wasn’t clear, didn’t work as you expected, or points you just felt stuck at.
The simulator will run on any modern HTML5 browser. Chrome, Firefox, Safari… iPad Chrome/Safari… But that also means IE is NOT SUPPORTED.
PS Participants of AgileSparks upcoming Kanban training (on 30-31/October) will also play FLOWer, including advanced scenarios that are “in the oven” at the moment…
So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and play! (Sorry, we didn’t include a Boss Key… but maybe your boss would also like to see how intelligent context-specific and adaptive application of Stop Starting Start Finishing is a way to bring home more Benjamins!)
As a Kanban Trainer I often introduce people to the Kanban Method for evolutionary change and the aspects of evolving system design and how they drive improvement. I’ve been looking for ways to make this introduction and exploration of the Kanban Method a more interactive experience. I love Russel Healy’s Kanban Game both in physical and online form. It is THE best way to experience how to manage the flow of a Kanban system using a GIVEN system design. I see it as an experience of “Visualize”, “Limit WIP”, “Manage Flow”.
Now what do we do about “Make policies explicit” and “Improve Collaboratively, Evolve Experimentally”? Sagi Smolarski (who recently joined the AgileSparks ranks) and myself have been working on creating an experience that focuses on experimenting with policies seeking improvement while using ongoing quantitative feedback. Sort of a dynamic accelerated “Ops Review” simulator. It is still under wraps but we are readying it for a private beta release which will happen very soon. An example scenario would be to start with a certain combination of capacity, demand and system design, and try to fine-tune the system design using policies like WIP limits, definition of done for queue handoffs, swarming preferences, etc.
The AgileSparks Flow Simulator – v0.1
Mastering and honing a “static” context will not be easy, as we are trying to model several aspects we encounter in the real world such as the downsides of “too many cooks in the kitchen”, costs of delay both for value erosion as well as cost increase and chance for defects. Finding the right WIP levels for a system will not be easy.
But then at some point we will add “dynamic” transitions into the equation. Can “Slack” help you improve your capabilities? Will you now need to fine-tune the system towards a new balance? Is it worth allowing this “Slack” or squeezing as much value now from the system?
Some of the above is in our “To do” column, some of it in the “WIP”, and some of it already “Done”. I’m really anxious to be able to show this to the Kanban Community and whoever is interested in learning about the Kanban Method. If you are interested as well, let us know
Update: Flower – our flow simulator has been out there for a while now. check it out.