Kanban: The Follow-up

About 4 months ago we started using Kanban as a project management system for our team of system-engineers.
Although skeptical at first, everyone adopted the new system and soon we where working at cruising speed using our Kanban board.

In those 4 months a lot has changed

What we started with

This was the board we started with:

Kanban 1.0

While working with it we came across several problems:

  • WIP-limit was not implemented clearly enough and did not work as intended.
  • “Repeat” column was never checked and useless since nobody bothered to complete or update it.
  • “P” for pending and “D” for doing where not the right word choices.
  • Identifying projects of the same group with an asterisk and a number was not clear enough.
  • “On Hold” gave the impression we only had to wait, while most of the time a more active approach was required.

In the past few months there where a few external changes as well.
Our team of programmers started using SCRUM. As a result we could only escalate the bigger bugs to them though the daily stand-ups. So there was a need for a sort of stand-up-queue to take problems to the programmers stand-up.

What we got now

After some analysis (and a lot of discussion) our Kanban board transformed to this:

Kanban 2.0

What we removed:

  • “P” and “D” columns got replaced with “ToDo” and “WIP”
  • WIP” in backlog got replaced by “Story”
  • “Repeat” column got replaced by “Transfer”

What we added:

  • Emergency WIP-limit: The +1 in “[X+1]” lets you drag a priority project through the process without violating the WIP-limits
  • “Transfer” column: Projects or problems that need to be escalated to the programmers team.
  • “Follow-UP” swimming lane: The swimming lane where projects go that are on hold but need to be checked-up on from time to time.

Conclusion

A Kanban board is a tool that evolves with your team.

Be sure to reevaluate your board at regular intervals. Your board needs to work for YOUR team.

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  1. Kanban: The Board | Memory Extension - June 4, 2013

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