Kanban principle – agreement

Another “out of left field” value of Kanban is the one on agreement. But agreement is there in the four foundational principles – “Agree to pursue incremental, evolutionary change”.

By undertaking the implementation of Kanban, you agree to the pursuit of non-disruptive change. You cannot force Kanban on a team or an organisation – they must want and engage in the change. This change starts with the actual implementation of Kanban and continues through the constant feedback loops built into the system.

Let’s take a look at both sides.

As has been highlighted before the implementation of Kanban is itself a transformation project that is fundamentally a continuous improvement method. By starting the process you agree to the following principles:

  • Start with what you are doing now
  • Initially, respect current roles, responsibilities and job-titles
  • Encourage acts of leadership at all levels

We’ve looked at these before so I won’t dwell on them. Just remember you cannot force Kanban on a team or an organisation,

Once you’ve implemented Kanban, you then move onto the agreement to improve collaboratively, evolve experimentally. Feedback loops are one of the enablers of improvement. The Kanban Method outlines seven different feedback loops at different cadences:

  • Daily
  • Weekly
  • Bi-Weekly
  • Monthly
  • Quarterly
  • Per Delivery

Each one is a “meeting”, but most implementations would never have seven meetings; instead, these reviews are often part of existing meetings, or a single meeting covering multiple topics.

At the baseline, you should be doing your Daily Stand Up and Weekly Replenishment meeting. We’ve discussed the stand up but not the replenishment meeting. The replenishment meeting is where you move items “over” the commitment point into your system. You have now committed to deliver that work item.

The rest of the feedback loops focus you on:

  • strategy alignment
  • operation coordination
  • risk management
  • service improvement
  • flow
  • customer delivery

Regardless of how you execute on the above, the key to remember is you are evolving with experiments to drive evolutionary change with no planned endpoint. A Kanban system is never “done”.

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