Kanban – Love it. Why?
I have been working on Kanban lately.
I love the Lean ideas. There is so much we still need to do and understand better. Interestingly, the ideas are counter-intuitive to most people yet, obviously simple and powerful when you take some time to do them.
The one sentence version (hugely over-simplified): For most people, I recommend Scrum-Kanban, as to where they want to go. Or, maybe better to say: Lean-Agile-Scrum.
But let’s stick to a smaller topic today.
One of the great things about Kanban is that you can do it for so many reasons. I started to make a list of them all. Here is mine:
- Maximize business value to the customer
- No more death marches
- Eliminate burnout
- Faster delivery (shorter lead times)
- Higher quality
- Lower cost
- Easy to implement
- Manage things in our control
- Start to see what is going on – at least…
- Scrum is not working, so then what?
- A way to get minimal control, a place to start
- So we can disconnect from the business side (we have no PO)
- Start finishing! (Stop just starting)
- Minimize WIP (for all of its benefits)
- Allocate people to work
- Fix the biggest constraint
- Measure lead times
- Adapt to changing work items faster
- So the process is minimal (we get to have almost no ‘process’)
- So that the process does not get in the way, and can be adapted to our specific situation
- To enable team learning
- Gain some slack in the system
- Get space (slack) to make improvements (Kaizen)
- Build trust through frequent, or more frequent, releases
I stole some of these ideas from Henrik Kniberg, Mattias Skarin, and David Anderson.
Only one of these goals I do not like; #12, which is in italics.
It might be necessary (to disconnect) in a few cases; still I do not like the idea. But I do think people use Kanban to disconnect.
There is a second phrase, also in italics, that concerns me. A process should be as simple as possible, but not simpler. Put another way, the tool(s) must be big enough for the job. Some people who use Kanban do not add enough to it, IMO. The ‘process’ is too simple to be professional for their situation. Again, IMO. — Just to make clear…with my personality type and other characteristics, I generally dislike ‘process.’
Also, Kanban, like anything else, is not a silver bullet. It cannot ‘give’ you these results. But it can help, and indeed help a lot, if you and the group are skilled, hard-working andprofessional.
More on Kanban later. A wonderful subject.