Thursday, January 5, 2017

Tips for Designing and Leveraging Great Kanban Boards

Introduction

I’ve been working on an article about the SAFe Program Kanban, and found myself mixing in a number of basic Kanban techniques. As I read through the (overly lengthy) first draft and realised the fuzzy focus being caused by a mix of “Kanban 101” and “Program Kanban”, I found myself reflecting on the fact that a lot of people kind of “fall into Kanban”. The two most common cases I encounter are the dev team that evolves their Scrum implementation to the point that the arbitrary batching mechanism of the Sprint Boundary seems suboptimal and the Agile Release Train (ART) Product Management team taking their first crack at a Program Kanban. For whatever reason, many start to use it without ever understanding any of the basic tools available other than “use WIP limits”.

In this article, I’m going to cover two of the basic Kanban concepts every team should take advantage of and a third which tends to be more applicable for strategic Kanban systems than those operated at the dev team level.

Doing and Done

One of the simplest improvements you can make to a Kanban is the separation of states into “Doing” and “Done”. This separation enables far more accurate visualization of the true state of a piece of work, adds immensely to the granularity of the metrics that can be derived, and most importantly is critical to enabling the move from "push" to "pull" mindset.
Consider the simple yet very common 2-state Team Kanban below:



When the developer completes story S1, they will signal this by pushing it into Test. However, the system is now lying. The fact that the developer has placed it in test does not mean testing has commenced (the clue lay in the use of the word "pushed").

Consider an alternative:


Now, when the developer completes story S1, they place it in "Dev Done". This sends a signal to the testers that when they are ready, they can "pull" story S1 into Test. If we see a big queue building in Dev Done, we can see a bottleneck emerging in front of Test. If (over time), we discover that stories are spending significant amounts of time in "Dev Done" it should trigger some root cause analysis.

You could also achieve the same effect by making a 4 state Kanban as follows:

  • Dev
  • Ready for Test
  • Test
  • Ready for Acceptance
To be brutally honest, the difference is intellectual. Aesthetically, I tend to prefer the “Doing|Done” approach, partially because it leaves me with less apparent states in the Kanban and mainly because I tend to assign WIP limits spanning “Doing and Done”. In fact, when designing complex Kanbans I will often use a mix of “Single State” and “Multi-State (Doing|Done)” columns from a clarity perspective. The “Single State” columns tend to be those in which no activity is occurring – they’re just a queue (eg “Backlog”).

Exit Policies

The creator of the Kanban Method (David Anderson) identified 5 core properties of successful Kanban implementations, one of which was “Make Process Policies Explicit”. In designing the states of your Kanban system, you are beginning to fulfill this need by making the key stages of your workflow explicit (and supporting another of the key properties – “Manage Flow”). For the evolving Scrum Team, this is often sufficient as it will be supported by their “Definition of Done” (another explicit policy).

However, at the strategic level (or for a Kanban system that crosses team boundaries) we benefit by taking it to another level and defining “Exit Policies”. An Exit Policy is effectively the “Definition of Done” for a single state. Whilst it is up to the team member(s) (or Teams) exactly how they do the work for that state, it is not considered “Done” until it meets the exit policies for the state. These policies should be made visible as part of the Kanban design, and should be subject to review and evolution as part of continuous improvement activities. In the words of Taichi Ohno – “Without standards there can be no Kaizen”.
Note the explicit exit policies below each state heading in this Portfolio Kanban

Avatars

Every piece of information you can add to a Kanban board is valuable in conveying extra information to support conversation and insight. Most teams are familiar with the practice of creating a set of laminated “avatars” for each team member. When a team member is participating in the work on a card, they add their avatar to the card as a signal. Thus, anyone observing a Kanban and wanting to know who is working on a card gets instant gratification. Incidentally, this is for me one of the biggest failure areas of digital Kanban boards. To my knowledge, the only digital Kanban tool that supports multiple avatars on a single card is LeanKit – a very strange condition in a world centred on collaboration :)

Now to extend the concept. There is no reason to restrict avatars to the representation of individuals. If we create avatars for Dev Teams, we can (for example) understand which dev teams are involved in the implementation of a feature on a feature Kanban. Take it up a layer, and we can create avatars for ARTs and other delivery organizations. Suddenly, we can look at a portfolio Kanban and understand which delivery organizations are involved in the implementation of an Epic.

The cards above are Epics on a Portfolio Kanban.  The "Standard Avatars" (with pictures) represent individual BA's, whilst the smaller solid color avatars represent the impacted delivery organisations (an ART in one case, Business Units in others)

Conclusion

There are many more tips and tricks to creating powerful Kanban visualisations, but these are the three I find myself introducing again and again as I help Scrum teams leverage Kanban techniques and ART Leadership teams implement strategic flow Kanban systems.

Always remember, as +Inbar Oren put it so well, a good Kanban board TALKS:
  • Tells
  • Always Visible
  • Lives
  • Keeps it Simple
  • Self-explanatory

44 comments:

  1. My summary of 'TALKS' is: a one-eyed donkey running through the workplace should be able to parse your board and spot the anomalies without breaking stride.

    ReplyDelete
  2. No, Blogger, I'm not 'Unknown' :-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. A portion of these partners incorporate Target, JC Penney, Abercrombie and Fitch, Gap, and Juicy Couture. Designers incorporate Vera Wang, Calvin Klein, and Marc Johnson. Clipping Path Service

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank dude for sharing Kanban Boards design tips. It's so powerful idea. Really impressed. Please join us clipping path service group.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This article covers a few techniques to land more web design and web development jobs in Columbus, Ohio. Web designers in Columbus, Ohio can use these tips and techniques to become successful in web design by getting more jobs from web design companies in Columbus. Web design Auckland

    ReplyDelete
  6. Astonishing, astoundingly valuable post I appreciated it and wish to see more posts like that structure this blog, I adored this blog this perhaps helpful to me as I additionally have a Photoshop Clipping path service site where we give all kind of Photoshop services and to give tips on Photoshop a clipping path blog i made is a nice way to learn different tips on photography and illustrations designs.hope to get increasingly valuable post Form this blog­čśŐ

    ReplyDelete
  7. Amazing, astoundingly important post I valued it and wish to see more posts like that structure this blog, I revered this blog this maybe supportive to me as I also have a Photoshop Clipping path service web site where we give all sort of Photoshop services. Want to get progressively important post Form this blog, Again Thanks a lot­čśŐ

    ReplyDelete
  8. I got too much interesting stuff on your blog. I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here! Keep up the good work. Clipping Path Service

    ReplyDelete
  9. If you want to turn on the wireless capability, then you need to follow through some steps. These steps are elementary to follow, and anyone how to turn on wireless capability windows 10 to perform them. However, there are three methods by which you can fix your problem of capability.

    ReplyDelete
  10. The great website and information shared are also very appreciable. Marty Mcfly Denim Jacket

    ReplyDelete
  11. I am very much pleased with the contents you have mentioned. I wanted to thank you for this great article.
    Blade Runner 2049 Coat

    ReplyDelete
  12. Zkteco Bangladesh is a Brandable access control and fingerprint product supplier. They Have many useful access control products like ZKTeco F18 Fingerprint Access Control and Time Attendance Machine. Do you know about zkteco f18 bangladesh? ZKTeco F18 is popular in bd as the name of zkteco f18 bangladesh. it is really nice and high quality.

    ReplyDelete
  13. If you plan higher study in China , you must adhere to certain things. First, you need Prepare Yourself and acquire good knowledge from any trusted agency. I think China campus network Bangladesh can assist you in this case. This agency has been working faithfully for a long time.

    ReplyDelete
  14. The team has good project management skills and utilizes tools to improve the ease of communication during timezone challengeUX design services

    ReplyDelete
  15. Our the purpose is to share the reviews about the latest Jackets,Coats and Vests also share the related Movies,Gaming, Casual,Faux Leather and Leather materials available Survey Corps Jacket

    ReplyDelete
  16. Carry Bag is a one of the Leading Non Woven Bag Supplier in Bangladesh. We provides Bag Locally & internationally.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Nice Blog !
    Here We are Specialist in Manufacturing of Movies, Gaming, Casual, Faux Leather Jackets, Coats And Vests See 8 Ball Jacket

    ReplyDelete
  18. Greetings from Foto Masking. Happy to surfing this post

    ReplyDelete
  19. Interestingly you write, I will address you'll find exciting and interesting things on similar topics. abstract art Dubai

    ReplyDelete
  20. This was an extremely wonderful post. Thanks for providing this info. First Aid Usmle

    ReplyDelete
  21. Clean Arabia is a trusted cleaning services provider in Dubai. For any kind of cleaning service whether home cleaning or office cleaning, Clean Arabia is capable to meet your need. Clean Arabia is always ready to make your home or office environment cleaner and healthier.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thanks for the post. I love the Tips for Designing and Leveraging Great Kanban Boards. Thanks for covering two of the basic Kanban concepts and a third which tends to be more applicable for strategic Kanban systems.
    Furnished Apartment Rent In Banani

    ReplyDelete
  23. Dubai Fun Club for luxurious Dubai Escorts and entertainment services. You can easily find the best Escorts in Dubai on our website.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thanks for your useful tips for Designing and Leveraging Great Kanban Boards!
    Verified Neteller Account

    ReplyDelete
  25. This is highly informatics, crisp and clear. I think that everything has been described in systematic manner so that reader could get maximum information and learn many things. garage door marketing

    ReplyDelete
  26. I really enjoyed reading your articles. It looks like you’ve spent a lot of time and effort on your blog. The Tomorrow War Jacket

    ReplyDelete
  27. Wow, What an Outstanding post. I found this too much informatics. It is what I was seeking for. I would like to recommend you that please keep sharing such type of info.If possible, Thanks. ppc management

    ReplyDelete
  28. Love to read it,Waiting For More new Update and I Already Read your Recent Post its Great Thanks digital marketing

    ReplyDelete
  29. Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Dolph Ziggler DZ Logo Jacket

    ReplyDelete
  30. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such an interesting article. Thank you for sharing how you're doing it; I'm sure the material you provided will be of great use to many individuals.

    digital marketing training in hyderabad

    ReplyDelete
  31. Do you know what is others in storage Android? All the uncategorized files in an Android smartphone’s internal storage are stored as “Others". And the files in the “Others" folder are filling up space in your phone memory. You can check what files are consuming space in the “Others” folder in your handset and can free up some space deleting unwanted files. You can get a full understanding of what is others in storage Android on Fixwill.com. Here are the tips to delete the files that you don’t need.

    ReplyDelete
  32. toptan i├ž giyim tercih etmenizin sebebi kaliteyi ucuza sat─▒n alabilmektir. ├ťr├╝nler yine orjinaldir ve size sorun ya┼čatmaz. Yine de bilinen tekstil markalar─▒n─▒ tercih etmelisiniz.

    Digit├╝rk ba┼čvuru g├╝ncel adresine ho┼čgeldiniz. Hemen ba┼čvuru yaparsan─▒z an─▒nda kurulum yapmaktay─▒z.

    tutku i├ž giyim T├╝rkiye'nin ├Ânde gelen i├ž giyim markalar─▒ndan birisi olmas─▒n─▒n yan─▒ s─▒ra en ├žok satan markalardan birisidir. ├ťr├╝nleri hem ├žok kalitelidir hem de pamuk kullan─▒m─▒ daha fazlad─▒r.

    nbb s├╝tyen hem kaliteli hem de uygun fiyatl─▒ s├╝tyenler ├╝retmektedir. S├╝tyene ek olarak s├╝tyen tak─▒m─▒ ve jartiyer gibi ├╝r├╝nleri de mevcuttur. ├ľzellikle Avrupa ve Orta Do─ču'da ├žok├ža tercih edilmektedir.

    yeni inci s├╝tyen kaliteyi ucuz olarak sizlere ula┼čt─▒rmaktad─▒r. ├çok ├že┼čitli s├╝tyen varyantlar─▒ mevcuttur. i├ž giyime damga vuran markalardan biridir ve genellikle Avrupa'da ismi s─▒kl─▒kla duyulur.

    i├ž giyim ├╝r├╝nlerine her zaman dikkat etmemiz gerekmektedir. ├ťretimde kullan─▒lan malzemelerin kullan─▒m oranlar─▒, kuma┼č─▒n esnekli─či, ├žekmezlik testi gibi bir├žok unsuru ayn─▒ anda de─čerlendirerek se├žim yapmal─▒y─▒z.

    i├ž giyim bayanlar─▒n erkeklere g├Âre daha dikkatli olduklar─▒ bir aland─▒r. Erkeklere g├Âre daha ├Âzenli ve daha se├žici davran─▒rlar. Biliyorlar ki i├ž giyimde kulland─▒klar─▒ ┼čeyler kafalar─▒ndaki ve ruhlar─▒ndaki ├Âzellikleri d─▒┼ča vururlar.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Ah, there is a good discussion about this paragraph in this place on this website. I read all that, so now I am commenting here too... Qualified travelers to Turkey by filling an online form with their personal details can apply visa to Turkey and pay visa cost Turkey online.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Your article is such an informative article. It is glad to read such those articles thanks for sharing.
    eddie brock varsity jacket

    ReplyDelete
  35. I like the way you express information to us. Thanks for such post and please keep it up. Eddie Brock Varsity Jacket

    ReplyDelete
  36. Great work.. Thanks for this post. Foreign travelers who wish to apply for Azerbaijan visa must check the Azerbaijan visa requirement before filling the application.

    ReplyDelete