Feedback in Kanban - How to Introduce Meetings in Kanban?

Feedback in Kanban - How to Introduce Meetings in Kanban?

Do you want to introduce a new meeting as a feedback mechanism but you are not sure whether it's a good idea? Read our article to learn on how to decide that!

“This is insane! My calendar is full of meetings already. How am I supposed to fit another seventeen reviews into my schedule?”

Did you have a similar thought looking at this diagram visualizing our Practice #5 “Introduce Feedback Mechanisms”? Don’t worry! If you plan to improve your work using the Kanban Maturity Model, adding additional meetings to your calendar will be the last thing you will be asked for.

Firstly, recognize that each stack of meetings and reviews in the diagram represents the same meeting or review performed at a different level of maturity, a different level of fidelity, each time improving in scope, scale, professionalism, facts & data, and action-oriented decision making. So, there aren’t 17 meetings or reviews, there are only 7 identified feedback mechanisms in the Kanban Method. Your job is to find the lowest resistance approach to implementing each of them given what you already have.

Secondly, if you don't know whether introducing a new meeting in your calendar is a good idea, let me take you through the steps and questions you should consider before doing so.

The first set of questions:

Do I have this feedback mechanism already? Should we recognize it for what it is and just tune it up a bit?

It’s quick and easy. The feedback mechanism exists already, and it has its cadence. People are used to it, so you don't need to take any additional calendar-messing activities. Simply adjust your agenda and what you focus on in the discussion and the decision-making process.

Do I have an alternative (that can be repurposed)?

Most importantly, verify existing meetings and reviews. Do you practice Daily  Stand-ups or Retrospectives? That’s great! Don’t rename them just to feel more "kanbanized". It’s totally fine to keep an alternative, simply adjust its focus, agenda, and anticipated outcomes.

Do any of them require improvement?

To start, look at the Feedback Mechanisms descriptions in the “Kanban Maturity Model” or on KMM+.  Do you think your existing meeting or review would benefit from some KMM improvements? Introduce them without changing anything else in the formal name or cadence of these appointments (if not absolutely required).

The second set of questions:

However, if you answered “no” to the first two questions, and your assessment says that you need a new Feedback Mechanism, ask yourself:

Can I merge this feedback mechanism into any existing meeting or review?

One of the most popular feedback mechanisms that trainees start practicing after completing the Kanban System Design class is Blocker  Clustering. Very often, however, they don’t experience that many blockers to organize a separate conversation about them, but on the other hand, they don’t want to keep the analysis a few months separated.

The good practice in such a situation will be, for instance, merging the blocker clustering and discussion into another mechanism that exists already, e.g.,  your improvements discussions or flow reviews.

If you answered “no” and you see that you need to book a new time slot in the calendar, answer:

Can I merge two or more new feedback mechanisms?

This one is very similar to the example which we described above, but you merge a couple of new reviews into one. In Mauvisoft, we conduct the Service Request  Review and the Service Delivery Review at the same time due to the number of items in progress and the actors involved in both parts of the system.

Merging several feedback mechanisms, several meetings and reviews together is a common practice in small-scale implementations and smaller organizations. The full set of 7 makes the most sense in organizations numbering several hundred or thousands of people.

However, if the answer is “no” again then, and only then, create a new, separate meeting or review.

Don’t forget!

Feedback Mechanisms don't only mean the time you and your colleagues spend in the meeting rooms!

Look around at the elements of your environment that talk to you (sometimes more, sometimes less metaphorically) like:

  • Kanban boards
  • Metrics
  • Customer surveys
  • Your colleagues sending instant messages

And most importantly, do not forget about the underlying question: does it really have to be a meeting?

(Source of an image:—the-search-for-the-happy-grail/)

Kanban+ is coming soon!

Kanban+ is coming soon, it will have even more information for people to learn from. Meanwhile, start exploring Kanban on KMM+. Create your free account and we will transfer it to Kanban+ after the launch.

Stay tuned for the latest news about the Kanban+ launch by subscribing to the KMM+ newsletter.

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