Meet Our CEO

I'm Kenji Hiranabe, CEO of Change Vision, Inc.

Kenji Hiranabe

-Kenji Hiranabe

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I started this company in 2006 to develop and market Astah, a UML editor integrated with Mind Mapping features.

My background is in software engineering, something I've been doing for more 20 years. For about half of that time I worked on practical applications for object-oriented technologies, the other half for Agile approaches in real world software development.

Astah is the project of a lifetime; I still enjoy working daily with the development team. My motivation is to make software development projects more productive, more collaborative and more fun! I believe this can be accomplished through effective communication using visualization software. I believe "modeling" is one of the keys to quality and productivity in software development, but I realize that complete MDA or other code generation technology isn't going to work in all real world software development; they are "models for human-to-computer communication". The more important part is "models for human-to-human communication". Tools for visualization and drawing (including analog tools like a whiteboard) to communicate are essential to effectiveness. This is why I am incorporating mind mapping and other "soft" visualizations with UML. We developed an iPad UML editor, and provide features like adding "smiley icons" besides UML diagrams. We developers are human and we need more humanity in our daily development life.

Agile Contributions

You may know me as an Agile practitioner in Japan. I am a 2008 Gordon Pask Award Recipient for my contributions to Agile practices, especially for nurturing the Japanese Agile community, of which I am very proud of being a member. I am also a frequent speaker of international Agile conferences, such as "Agile2007", "Agile2008", "UK Lean Conference 2009", "Agile Brazil 2011", "Agile India 2013" and a co-producer of "Hands-On" stage at "Agile2011". And I am a Program Chair of a Japanese local Agile conference "Agile Japan." My favorite topics are around "Lean(TPS)", "Mind Mapping", and "Project Visualization and Facilitation".


I have translated a dozen books on topics like Extreme Programming and Agile Development including:

Kenji Hiranabe's Translated Books

I have also written several books in Japanese including:

Kenji Hiranabe's authored books


Kenji Hiranabe and Ikujiro Nonaka

Grandfather of Scrum, Prof. Nonaka's "The Wise Leader" and it's relationship with Agile


Presentation Slides

"Exploring User Wish through Mind Mapping" and other presentations by Kenji Hiranabe