3-step adoption pattern for Kanban

Starting up a new team is alway a fun and exciting challenge. During my time as agile coach I have found a nice pattern that most team follows which breaks down to the following phases:

1. Please give me the book and we’ll get started

The authors of Kanban books are selling Kanban as an easy-to-adopt tool, which appeals to the managers. This initializes the first pattern – “Please give me the book and we’ll get started” – where the manager sees an easy oppertunity to achieve high efficiency and dynamic teams by reading a book. My immediate response is that, here is the book, please read it and while reading it arrange for a work shop where we’ll get started.

2. Oh, I didn’t know it was THAT hard

After reading up on the theory people tend to end up in the “Oh, I didn’t know it was THAT hard”-phase. A set of questions arise from the team, the managers, the team leads, scrum masters etc: How do we build a Kanban board? What should we set as policies? And the short answer from me is: You tell me!

During the workshop all the theoretical material of Kanban is discussed using a combination of learning games, group excercises and traditional class teaching. In addition to the theory, I also focus that the team must leave the workshop with a working Kanban Board, a working template for Kanban Cards and preferably policies and classes of service.

3. Finally it makes sence!

By the end of the workshop all team members commits to follow the team charter on how to use and interact with the new Kanban board. This board is ready for use. Next morning, when the team gets into the office, they are running Kanban. After a couple of days people often state “finally it makes sence” as they get a better overview of work load and take advantage of the Kanban practices.