One great advantage of Kanban over other agile frameworks: no disruption

The Kanban method practices can be resumed in: Visualization, Flow and Explicit Rules (WIP limits + state transition rules). The interesting point here is that none of these practices implies that you will need to change how you work today. You can start a Kanban implementation simply by:

  1. Drawing your actual workflow, understanding it and mapping it to a Kanban board, to achieve visualization;
  2. Paying attention to your actual flow, measuring it and assessing its efficiency, so that you can start to track and improve it;
  3. Turning your rules explicit by writing them on your Kanban board, so that you can understand how your workflow steps relate to each other;

After you do that, you will start to understand your actual process more deeply, and as a consequence you will be able (and willing!) to improve it. Not just you, but all the people involved in your workflow! You will also start to question if some steps in your workflow are really necessary. Better yet, you will start to question why some steps are taking so long to complete and why some activities always accumulate at some steps.

Relating to your flow, you will be able to track the time needed to complete your work items and how many items your team can deliver at any given period. With this information at hand, you will even start to know your real capacity! As a consequence, your team will enjoy splitting and scheduling their tasks so that they can deliver their work items as fast as possible.

By turning your rules explicit, all the people involved in your workflow will start to behave better, because they will clearly understand what each other needs to do their tasks more efficiently and effectively. Better yet, you will be able to improve those rules, now that you know them explicitly, resulting in a faster delivery rate of the work items on your Kanban board.


Conclusion

A Kanban implementation can always start with no disruption: as simple as a map to help your company understand how it is operating today. This map will show three things: today’s workflow steps, today’s flow and today’s rules. Once you and your team understand how your company is operating today, you all can start to improve it. And believe me, people really wan’t to improve and deliver faster, they just don’t know how… but this is the subject for another post.

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