Have you ever had so much going on that you don't know where to start? Or you've got your toe in so many tasks/projects that it seems like nothing ever gets DONE?
Mike Edwards (@mikeeedwards) led our December session, showing how Kanban can help bring focus and faster resolution to our workday. He made it clear, though, that Kanban doesn't work in all situations; it has to be a good mix with the corporate culture.
Check out this You Tube clip he showed the group to demonstrate how easy it is for people to get distracted when there's a lot going on (Change Blindness video link).
Five simple Kanban rules
- Visualize the work
- Limit WIP: inventory is waste!
- Measure and monitor
- Make processes and policies explicit - make the rules visual, okay for rules to evolve (i.e. How to handle blocks, Batch size (wip) limit, Goal of completion rate)
- How to treat urgent items and their limit (very disruptive)
The basic idea with Kanban is that you capture a list of task using post-it notes and then you 'pull' tasks into the next column as capacity allows. There's a limit on how many tasks can be worked on at one time, so capacity only opens up once a task is FULLY completed.
Sample Kanban Boards
We did a group exercise that quickly demonstrated his point. A small 'work line' was set up a BA creating batches of requirements which went through a series of developers until it was handed to the customer for final acceptance testing. The first round was chaos and then Mike gradually added more rigour by limited the work in progress.
Take a look at the results in the '# Accepted' row in the below picture; there's your proof!