Those of you wanting to improve your company without immediately starting a company-wide revolution, as it is demanded by numerous agile methods such as Scrum, will find a very welcome alternative in Kanban.
A Kanban change initiative is based on the following basic principles:
1 Start with what you are doing right now
2 Pursue incremental, evolutionary change
3 Respect initial processes, roles, responsibilities and job titles
4 Encourage leadership at all organizational levels
When introducing Kanban, the normal way of working does not change dramatically: established processes remain the same, roles within the company as well as within the teams stay intact and you will not have to create any new job titles such as “Kanban Master” or similar titles. Those participating agree to continuously implement small changes to improve the way of working. The starting point for these improvements is always the current situation and according to this there is no “set” Kanban target state. That being said, the following key practices can be found within Kanban companies:
1 Make work visible
2 Limit WIP
3 Manage flow
4 Make process rules explicit
5 Implement feedback mechanisms (workflow, inter-workflow and organization)
6 Implement improvements together (based on models)
Curious for more?
For those who would prefer things a bit easier to swallow and have half an hour’s time to invest, we would recommend watching the “Essential Lean Kanban” video. This gives you a great overview presented by Klaus Leopold.