At Sparx Systems there are a number of key objectives that are always in the minds of the developers. One is delivering what the end user wants and the other is to exceed end user expectations, by delivering to their needs at an affordable price point. A third objective is to add value by making the end user experience more practical, inclusive and convenient.
These are the reasons why Enterprise Architect is the total modelling and design environment, -adaptable and extensible, providing all that is required by the end user and reducing or eliminating the inconvenience of access to the “external application”. That’s a simple expectation of a modelling tool, and the Sparx Systems interpretation of this expectation puts Enterprise Architect Version 13 in a class of its own.
Kanban was first introduced into Enterprise Architect Version 11. As a key agile process, Kanban is a method for managing knowledge work, with an emphasis on just-in-time delivery. It presents all participants with a full view of the process, from task definition, to delivery to a customer. Because Kanban is a set of practices that can also be implemented in traditional hierarchical bureaucracy, it does not present a threat to the existing culture and can work within different cultures.
In 2015 a Forrester survey found that the customer experience topped priorities for business and technology leaders. Based on these results Forrester forecasts that in 2016, customer experience “will be among the top 10 critical success factors determining who will win and who will fail in the age of the customer.” This is interesting because agile processes embrace change, which translates as the customer’s competitive advantage. Or put another way, the price of survival is to become agile. In recent times Kanban has been applied to the process of developing software-centric solutions in an attempt to ensure that value is delivered to the customer as quickly as possible.
Kanban is an agile entry point that while it does not challenge the culture it can be used to challenge the status quo. However, as an agile practice Kanban can be a cultural “change agent” and lead to Scrum and XP agile practices. Enterprise Architect offers a complete Agile Project Management foundation for the largest to the smallest of projects, supporting mainstream agile delivery frameworks and methods including, SCRUM, RUP, XP, DSDM and Kanban.
Kanban revolves around a visual board for managing work-in-progress and making work flow issues apparent through process definition based on how the work is handled in the team and on stakeholder priorities. A backlog is created in order to keep track of the work and as a basis for setting priorities. The cycle time of the tickets can be measured and used to keep track on improvements.
Enterprise Architect has built-in Kanban diagrams and a number of pre-built workflow patterns that can be used 'as-is' or configured to suit any project or initiative. Because Enterprise Architect is also a sophisticated modeling platform for strategic and business analysis, architecture, design, implementation, testing and deployment, this Kanban facility becomes very powerful. Work items on a Kanban Board can be linked to strategic decisions, business rules, policies, requirements, architecture and design elements and every facility in the development lifecycle.
Agile planning is the assessment of the rate that agile teams can convert customer requirements into deployment ready software, while determining when they will be done. Burn down charts will provide these indicators. With Enterprise Architect burn down charts and time series graphs can be easily created and these are regularly and automatically updated by Enterprise Architect. A sophisticated charting facility is available to create powerful and expressive charts and dashboards, that will provide insights into the Kanban process and enable Product Owners and other team members to monitor performance and determine ways of fine tuning how the team works. There are a range of built-in charts, including bar, pie charts and heat maps, but a team is free to create any number of user-defined charts, which can also be incorporated into team processes and reviews.
As the affordable solution of choice for organisations who want to adopt Agile, including Kanban, Enterprise Architect 13 concantenates potentially siloed projects or sprints and provides assurance against the risk of segregation and ultimate fracturing of visibility across the enterprise, which can be caused by ad-hoc Agile initiatives.
In Enterprise Architect 13, Kanbans can be set at the individual level or project level in a shared model. With the 'My Kanban' feature, individual work can be tracked while the 'Project Kanban' option supports the team.
Projects of any size can benefit from the efficiencies of the flexible and integrated Kanban facility built into the Enterprise Architect core product. The Kanban features in Enterprise Architect are highly configurable and can be altered to suit any team or process, including agile, iterative and incremental, and even waterfall projects. This simple, yet powerful project management approach, creates a team collaboration platform that will result in products, services and solutions being delivered to customers with efficiency and in record time.
Webinar Recording: Introduction to Kanban and Heatmaps (using EA 12.1)
Workflow model patterns have been added, enabling the creation and linking of single or multiple stage Kanban workflows utilizing the Backlog, Iteration and Complete Kanban diagrams to support the existing “Standard type”. Together, these form powerful Kanban workflows, allowing the easy movement of Kanban elements between them. This movement provides the user with a view of the current team resources allocated to the Kanban element, enabling them to see what resource has been assigned, and completion status.
To assist with control of agile sprints, new menu items are available from the Construct Ribbon to search and find all Kanbans in a model. Kanban drawing style can be used showing Type, Status, Version, Priority, Bold Name, Stereotype, Phase, Author, and Truncate with name and Icon.
Work Items can be drawn with a compelling visual style, such as a colored card that can be dragged anywhere in the diagram to change order in a given lane, or from lane to lane, progressing from left to right through the board, representing progress towards value for the customer. The lanes are typically bound to the values of a 'project management aware' property such as status or phase, and as the item is dragged from lane to lane the value of the bound property is automatically changed. If a diagram is linked to a project management property, dragging an element from one lane to another automatically changes the value of the property, to the value that the lane represents.
To review Kanban features supported by Enterprise Architect 13. please visit:
- Enterprise Architect Version 13 Beta web page: Project Management using Kanban
- Enterprise Architect User Guide: Kanban Facilities