No one reads the first post in a company blog (except you, of course. You’re awesome!).
It will be weeks or months before people start finding the Kanbanery blog in search engines and from friends sharing our content. When we look back on the success of our blog, I want my team to find a reminder of why we did it and how we got here.
We didn’t create Kanbanery to help people. We didn’t decide that the world needed a better way of working together. I wish we did, but I didn’t have the vision back then.
I was the president of Lunar Logic, and we made bespoke software for people all over the world. I have a soft spot for hiring opinionated geeks, so we earned a reputation for technical excellence. Most of our clients were software people with their own teams who wanted to work with and learn from leaders in the Ruby on Rails world. So all our projects involved working with programmers in other countries. Good web-based tools were essential to distributed teams like us. We used Pivotal Tracker, and we organized our process using Scrum. But when I learned about Kanban it just made sense to me. It addressed so many of the frustrations I had with Scrum by the book (a topic for another post). We started using it for our internal projects and loved it.
There was no online tool for sharing task boards with our remote clients back in 2008. So we built one and called it Kanbanery. I liked the way the word rolled off my tongue. I enjoyed the image of cranking out features like tins of beans rolling off the assembly line in a cannery. If I’d been a better marketer, I would have called it something catchy like Jello or Fello.
We thought other people would like it, so we made it public from the moment we had a basic working product. Our jaws dropped as we watched over a hundred thousand people try it out in the first few months. We weren’t even trying to market it. Folks were loving it! Now we were getting ideas and feedback from other software teams. And that only made our online kanban board better. It was a great feeling.
We started hearing from people who were using Kanbanery in ways we hadn’t anticipated. At least two songwriters use it for planning and promoting their creations. HR teams are using it for recruiting. Sales teams are using it for tracking leads through their sales funnel. University professors are using it for managing class assignments. A building company used it to turn the London Olympic Village into residential housing. They can do that because we created Kanbanery using principle-driven development (another future post). Two years ago I took over as president of Kanbanery. I’ve been talking to a lot of people who use Kanbanery in a dizzying variety of ways. I’ve learned a lot from them, and this blog is for them and for you. Because if you’re reading the first post in our company blog, you’re already a friend.
Here we will share stories to inspire you and ideas to challenge you. My team and I will write about great ideas that we get from talking to other Kanbanery lovers, participating in the Kanban community, and from our long experience as productivity experimenters and challenges of assumptions.
We’ve already queued up a number of posts on topics like using Kanban in creative work, creating your own custom productivity method, and a few fun stories. Please use the comments to tell us a little about yourself or to suggest topics that you’d like to hear our take on.