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The Inkubook Experience

Presented by Eric Willeke

Abstract came into existence in March 2008 with as an existing software development and marketing organization received a new CEO and was immediately tasked with building an entirely different product. This presentation discusses the evolution from the existing Scrum process through four major changes as the team's process shifted to meet the team's goals and management's demands. Focus will be given to the barriers benefits that the team perceived with each stage, including the perspectives of management, architects, and developers. Where possible, a discussion of the unintended consequences of the team's actions will be explored with specific examples. The massive changes in leadership, product domain, and technical domain led the team from Scrum into a period of hyper-active, burnout-inducing chaos, followed by rapid process change on a mission of providing the shortest possible lead time to the marketing team, which was learning and rapidly reassessing the table stakes for a new market. As these table stakes came into place, the team refocused on steadily and consistently providing new functionality on short order. The effort inevitably, yet painfully led to the team implementing a pull-based flow through the entire organization from marketing through all development roles and back to marketing for release and operations decisions. The first steps into what would be considered a kanban approach came when program management recognized the dangers of piling up too much work and we identified a loose WIP limit and began to focus all improvement attention on reducing friction and improving flow on behalf of the marketing team. Over time, the team's leadership recognized the failures of "kanban" caused by partial implementation of the principles and initiated a complete implementation supported by all levels from the Director through individual contributors in every role.


Eric Willeke specializes in optimizing development methodologies to provide high throughput with consistent quality in a variety of regulatory environments. Having implemented, architected, and led software projects for eight years, Eric's experience spans a great variety of business, technical, regulatory, and process environments. As a senior software engineer at SEP, Inc., he developed the main engine service diagnostic software for a major automotive engine manufacturer. He then led the technical design and implementation for the ground station of a new military aircraft, successfully hitting budgetary and scope goals while satisfying DO-178B regulatory requirements. Eric later managed the FDA-regulated implementation of a new web-based remote patient monitoring system for a major medical device manufacturer. After serving as a process champion, team lead, and architect on a number of smaller projects for a variety of clients, Eric departed SEP and found his way to Inkubook. At Inkubook, Eric defined methodologies, mentored colleagues, architected the system, and helped code his team's way to a successful commercial launch.

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Software Engineering Professionals has partnered with the Lean Software & Systems Consortium and InfoQ to provide a detailed video archive of the Miami 2009 Lean & Kanban conference.
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