Flowing value

In Kanban we often talk about flowing value through the system and yet that’s somewhat misleading. The reality is that we can’t know whether a work item is valuable until we’ve actually finished the work and made it available to our customers.

Classes of service

Many Kanban teams use classes of service to help model their workflow. We’re going to talk about how they work, where they are valuable and why you should avoid them wherever you can.

“We tried Kanban and it didn’t work”

I sometimes run across teams that say “we tried kanban and it didn’t work”. When I hear this, I’m always genuinely curious and ask for more details about what they’d done and what specifically didn’t work for them.

Waste: Psychological Distress

One of the more subtle forms of waste is psychological distress. When we are afraid or anxious, our sympathetic nervous system activates to prepare us for one of fight, flight or freeze. All good responses in a survival situation.

Understanding waste in the system

In Kanban, we are always trying to optimize for efficiency, effectiveness and predictability. Waste in the system is something that hurts all three of these objectives and is something we want to remove or reduce wherever possible.

The only way to win is to learn faster

Over the past 15 years of working with various agile techniques, practices, frameworks, and strategies I’ve found that there is one thread that ties them all together. They are all focused on improving our ability to learn and to apply that learning to our future work.

Determining cycle time from an online system

This post is aimed at a fairly niche audience so if you aren’t trying to make sense of poor data out of some ticketing system then you might want to skip this one.

Improve the work, not the metrics

One of the key practices supporting continuous improvement is making your work, and how you do the work, visible. This starts by tracking the progress of that work in a highly visual way, often by using a kanban board. Once that work is being tracked we can begin to gather that data and start to gain insights into where our biggest opportunities for improvement are, often by using the metrics defined in The Three Flow Metrics (Plus One).