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

54 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. 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
  7. The great website and information shared are also very appreciable. Marty Mcfly Denim Jacket

    ReplyDelete
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. The team has good project management skills and utilizes tools to improve the ease of communication during timezone challengeUX design services

    ReplyDelete
  11. 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
  12. Carry Bag is a one of the Leading Non Woven Bag Supplier in Bangladesh. We provides Bag Locally & internationally.

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

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

    ReplyDelete
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. Dubai Fun Club for luxurious Dubai Escorts and entertainment services. You can easily find the best Escorts in Dubai on our website.

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

    ReplyDelete
  19. 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
  20. 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
  21. Love to read it,Waiting For More new Update and I Already Read your Recent Post its Great Thanks digital marketing

    ReplyDelete
  22. 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
  23. 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
  24. 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
  25. 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
  26. Your article is such an informative article. It is glad to read such those articles thanks for sharing.
    eddie brock varsity jacket

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

    ReplyDelete
  28. Thank you �� The international travelers who traveling to Kenya need kenya online visa. That they can apply online and can get the 24*7 customer assistant.

    ReplyDelete
  29. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Thanks for sharing excellent information.keep sharing such useful information.. Travel to India now it's so easy you can apply for an online Indian visa via India visa website.

    ReplyDelete
  31. "S-finder is a default app in Samsung devices for finding out an app among hundreds of apps. But do you know what is Finder App on Android? What is this app used for?

    It is an app searching application to find out any app, even the hidden ones. Even if you search for a suitable app for a particular task, the app can find one. The app is great to find out any app smoothly without wasting time and putting in much effort.

    Upon entering a keyword it makes a search for the app throughout a smartphone memory and on the web. In fact, the finder app works like a powerful search engine in your Samsung smartphone.

    Samsung has created this app to improve the user experience. So the app is very easy to use with simpler interfaces and options. And as we know the app comes as a built-in Samsung app, it is 100% safe to use."

    ReplyDelete
  32. Getting blog comments on your site is always a good indication that the blog reader is involved in what it is you are posting about. Good bad or indifferent this is a good barometer that your blog posting is not a wasted effort. The interactivity of your readers is even more important if you are running a home business blog. cheap web hosting

    ReplyDelete
  33. Even if you are armed with an abundance of knowledge in SEO, you may still need the services of a professional SEO company. Having strong knowledge of SEO is hardly sufficient in some cases. https://hostinglelo.in/

    ReplyDelete
  34. Thank you for your valuable and useful information through the blog.
    I am appreciating with the way you shared the relevant, precious, and perfect information. Furthermore,
    I would like to also keep some sound knowledge of besthyiptemplate.
    so just visit our website and you will get complete Assistance related to HYIP and send me your valuable feedback on our website. You will get immediate assistance.

    ReplyDelete
  35. I read this article, it is really informative. Your way of writing and clarifying things is very impressive.. Indian 1 Year e tourist visa has been restored, You can apply online for an Indian 1 year e-tourist visa in 2022 via India evisa website.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Pod system พอตไฟฟ้า smok ร้าน ขาย บุหรี่ไฟฟ้า ราคาถูกฟรี ครบวงจร ของแท้ 100% เพจจำหน่ายอุปกรณ์สำหรับ mod pod คือ pod1688 ส่งด่วน กทม 24 ชม. พอตไฟฟ้า

    ReplyDelete
  37. Hello! it is really informative for me. If you are looking for websites to buy mackbook and all visit here sell my macbook pro

    ReplyDelete
  38. Nice post. It is very informative post.If anybody needs Audiobook services click below link.
    lease abstraction services

    ReplyDelete
  39. Your Article Is Well Written And Simple To Understand. You Make Excellent Points. Thanks For The Blog…..

    ReplyDelete
  40. I Appreciate the way you express things to us. Thanks for such post and please keep it up.

    To see some Nice photography work
    Check Some of our Jewelry Photography Retouching photos

    ReplyDelete
  41. 1. Start with a Purpose: Before you design your kanban board, it is important to take a step back and think carefully about the purpose of the board, and how it fits into the greater context of your project. By understanding the ultimate goal, you can decide on the optimal design and functionality to support your team.

    2. Design Your Workflows: Once you know your purpose, you can start to design the board’s workflows, or the steps and process between tasks. Workflows allow you to visualize the progress of the project, and can help to manage expectations and resources.

    3. Add Metrics: When designing your board, it is important to consider useful metrics and measurements that can provide you with insights on progress. These might include lead time, cycle time, work in progress limits, and throughput.

    4. Set Priorities: Give each task a priority in order to prioritize which tasks to tackle first. This is especially useful for projects with multiple streams and tasks that are of varying importance.

    5. Involve Everyone: Invite your team and stakeholders to be involved in the design of your board. It is important to ensure everyone understands its purpose and how to use it correctly.

    6. Leverage Automation: Utilize automation whenever possible to streamline processes and maximize efficiency. Automation can also be used to generate reports and update task statuses.

    7. Update and Adapt: Once launched, ensure that your team routinely reviews and updates your board as needed. Not only will this help ensure continuous improvement, it will also help keep everyone up to date on progress.

    jewelry photo retouching services

    ReplyDelete
  42. In this article, we will explore several strategies to help web designers and web developers in Columbus, Ohio secure more job opportunities. By implementing these tips and techniques, professionals in the field can increase their chances of success by attracting more work from web design companies based in Columbus.
    Check Some of our Jewelry Photo Editing and Retouching Services photos

    ReplyDelete