pmk–start with what you have

What does or does not count as Kanban varies over time.  It is what it is.

But, there are two principles that make a lot of sense.

1) Start with what you have

Though I’m sure Scrum professionals would disagree with this, from my perspective, a lot of Agile seems to imply that you need to have a company re-org to implement Agile practices.  Understandably, this scares off a lot of people. 

With Kanban, you start with what you have.  What is the current value stream?  Map it out.  Then, start from that.

2) Respect current roles

With Kanban, as I understand it, you don’t have to create new roles, eliminate old roles, or any of that.  You don’t have to nominate anyone as a ‘coach’ or any of that stuff.

Everyone gets to keep their current job and their current role.  You start with what you have, then improve.  That may end up changing roles and jobs.  Or it may not.  But, you don’t start by sending people to the unemployment line, or thinking that they will have to.  This is pretty important.


Kanban allows you to introduce change that doesn’t require massive initial changes.  In the end, you may end up with massive changes to your organization, but you don’t have to start with that.  You start with your current crappy organization and your current crappy processes.  You then try to make them less crappy (nothing about Kanban or anything else will guarantee that the less crappy desire actually works…you have to work at it).

But what this approach does allow is that you don’t have to make people worry that their current roles will be eliminated.  That’s pretty important.

posted on Tuesday, January 11, 2011 8:48 PM Print
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