Kanban
Training
Course

Effective Use of Kanban

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If your team works on tasks of any kind at all, then this course will help them to do so more effectively. Unlike other agile or project management frameworks, Kanban is not a process in itself, but a way for empowered teams to create a bespoke process adapted to their specific challenges. This is not without risks: if you can do whatever you want, there are some potential traps to fall into. This course establishes a simple and effective approach that equips teams with a toolbox to get things done with increasing effectiveness using Kanban.

Learning Objectives

This course is designed to leave delegates more confident in five key areas:

1.     Optimising the flow of valuable work.

2.     Building a Kanban board.

3.     Using Kanban tools and techniques effectively.

4.     Using measurement to make decisions.

5.     Taking a lead on continuous improvement.

Audience, pre-requisites and assumed knowledge

There are no prerequisites for this class, and it works well as an introductory course or as a refresher for established Kanban teams. Typical attendees include:

  • Teams that provide services such as marketing, HR, sales, technical support, or requirements analysis.
  • Teams that build products such as software applications.
  • Teams that manage projects such as data centre migrations or broadcast studio fitouts.
  • Scrum teams that are keen to consider a different approach to software product delivery.
  • DevOps teams who are keen to add a delivery methodology around DevOps principles.
  • Reactive teams that need to be effective in responding to unplanned work.

When delivered as a private class, the course may be pitched at an appropriate level. For example, experienced teams can quickly re-establish the basics and then spend more time considering the detail of their approach.

Approach

We are a friendly team of practitioners and we like to provide a personal level of support, before, during and after the class:

  • Pre-course reading designed to expose questions so that they can be explored in class.
  • Contact details allowing delegates to ask questions to the trainer before and after the class.
  • Access to a comprehensive set of guidance after the course so that delegates apply what has been learnt.
  • Digital course effectiveness surveys with results sent out to delegates and sponsors straight after the class.

Course Content

Delivery simulation

As part of the active workshop, delegates deliver a product to a customer in an engaging, easily understandable simulation. In doing so, many of the issues associated with more complex product delivery are surfaced and can be related to the agile principles discussed throughout the course. Delegates are likely to experience:

  • Requirements ambiguity.
  • Quality issues.
  • The effect of collaboration rather than working in silos.
  • Problems with large batches of work.
  • Whole team accountability.
  • The need for continuous improvement.

Kanban

The Kanban method is introduced and put into the context of the simulation exercise: a method to visualise the process and the work flowing through it. We relate this to lean and agile principles, and the importance of:

  • Seeing the whole picture rather than optimising one small part of the process.
  • Getting fast feedback by delivering quickly and adapting to problems.

Model your process and build your own Board

As part of a series of practical exercises, delegates map out the process they currently follow to get their work done, and then create a real Kanban board to reflect this. This is then populated with typical work, with delegates invited to highlight common bottlenecks and blockers.

Apply the five guiding principles for Kanban delivery

We run through the five Kanban principles in a series of hands-on exercises, demonstrating how to visualise, measure, understand and adapt the process.

  1. Make work visible. Delegates learn that simply visualising where the work is, and how long it has been there, is the first step in understanding how the system is working.
  2. Limit the amount of work in progress. Delegates see the practical implications of applying limits on work permitted at each stage. We will physically see cards being pushed back through the system, improving lead time and deferring decision-making points until the “last responsible moment”.
  3. Help work flow. Delegates will learn techniques to reduce blockers, such as exit criteria preventing work with potential sources of delay from entering the system until these risks have been mitigated.
  4. Use metrics to measure work. The core metrics of lead time; cycle time; and work in progress will be defined, and we’ll see how these can be visualised with cumulative flow diagrams to understand issues and to create long-term delivery forecasts.
  5. Continuous improvement. Delegates will learn how to establish a culture of always looking for small improvements, and how empowered teams can pursue incremental, evolutionary change.

Introduction to Kanban Outcomes

Delegates will leave the course armed with a full understanding of the intent and practices of Kanban. The class exercises are directly applicable to any stream of work, and delegates will have access to all of the course materials they need to put what they have learned into action.

Testimonial

“Great practical Kanban training course with a group exercise, learning about key benefits, practicing enhancements to the system of flow, and finally a thorough study of the metrics. The time flies by when dealing with the very experienced trainers of Agility in Mind, who are able to simplify and practically elaborate as well as demystify our fears when it comes to transitioning towards Kanban. In conclusion, I highly recommend this course for agile practitioners and teams who are interested in Kanban and transitioning towards it.”

Sabina Kamber Salamanca, BBC

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