Increasing Team Throughput by Five Folds using Kanban and Lean Principles

By Ruby Tomar


Traditionally one Program Manager managed one Platform so that s/he could provide the required focus to the program. Program Management is challenging as the contributing asset teams are spread geographically and there are dependencies on cross functional teams within the organization. This also involves challenges like overwhelming engineering priorities, wasted engineering BW due to a large number of false defects logged, wasted $ in manufacturing etc. This paper explains how Lean principles of eliminating waste and Kanban principles were used to aid me to take up the Program Management of five Platforms, with the same team which used to deliver one Platform earlier.

Challenge / Opportunity

The Platform Program Manager is accountable for a stable delivery of all the Platform features. This involves, for each Platform, generating/eliciting requirements from various sources, prototyping the solution, seeking management approval to investment of resources and money to move the program to the next phase; obtaining resources from various global asset teams; interfacing with various global cross functional teams; ensuring that the product manufacturing goes smooth; I have applied Lean Principles  to work on some challenges to optimize team performance while improving quality of deliverables. This has enabled the team to own five Platforms instead of one.

  1. The Platform firmware Integration team needs to ensure that the firmware is always healthy. This involves resolving issues reported from multiple sources – the FW development community, the HW development community, the Quality Organization and the factory manufacturing the units. Engineers are caught between conflicting priorities, multitasking and a large amount of WIP (Work In Progress) in the system. There was always:
  2. Lots of unanticipated work
  3. Large WIP
  4. Variable quantum of work
  5. High work load
  6. High level of stress in the team


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About the Author

Ruby Tomar


Ruby Tomar is an action oriented, decisive and results focused Project and Program Manager with 15 years of experience in the field of embedded systems. With two patents filed and four disclosures to her credit, Ruby is process and technology savvy with a strong inclination towards innovation and process optimization. She has worked in automotive, consumer, networking, and telecommunications industries and is an avid reader of technical and management research. She has an MS degree in Software Systems from BITS, India and is currently working as a Project and Program Manager at HP. She can be reached at [email protected].