Introducing Kanban to a team or organization

Introducing Kanban to a team or organization

Starting something new is never an easy task. You know you may face resistance. Besides, there is so much information on the Internet, but what are the actions to take? If you are thinking about getting started with Kanban, keep reading. Our expert advices will help you with introducing Kanban to your team or organization.

Anna Radzikowska - Kanban Trainer

Our expert:

Anna Radzikowska, Accredited Kanban Trainer and Coach (Kanban University and David J Anderson School of Management), Kanban Maturity Model Product Manager. Anna specializes on teaching beginners. 

Start with what you do now. This is Kanban’s magic when you can apply it to any existing process. It doesn`t require any severe change or reorganization. It can also be used together with other methods of frameworks. There are two ways we recommend introducing Kanban to teams or organizations:

1. Start with your Individual Kanban.

Doing individual Kanban is a good place to start. It is very safe place to start as the only resistance you may face is your own. That's why, if you decide so, you can easily overcome it. Individual Kanban is not a Personal Kanban – these are 2 different things. Personal Kanban is the work of Jim Benson. It is a great tool to use to plan your daily work or some type of life project. Personal Kanban is used to visualize and organize work. I observe a lot of personal Kanban among colleagues. It is an easy way to gain great visualization of things to be done. It does introduce some WIP limits and buffers. Individual Kanban can take you up to Maturity Level 4. It should have good visualization, WIP (Work in Progress) limits introduced, and metrics applied. You can use some complex practices for Individual Kanban. That is how you can do a serious Kanban just for yourself. 

If you want to learn more – there is a separate class about itIndividual Kanban for Enterprise that you can take with David J Anderson School of ManagementLater you could share your results with colleagues, explaining from your personal experience on what your Kanban system helped you to achieve.  

2. Start it with what you have with your team or colleagues.

In most cases, people already have some sort of visualization of their work. You can start by improving it. You may already have some kind of retrospectives, i.e., meetings where you discuss what you are doing and what you can improve. This is the moment when you can start suggesting some Kanban solutions and improvements, depending on the problems you observe.  

For example, you and your colleagues see the problem with overburdening. You have overtimes, there are hundreds of tasks in your backlog, and you don’t know where to start – then introducing WIP (Work in Progress) limits may be the best first step to start. It will help you to reduce the workload and focus on the work.  

A lot of people think that if they introduce the WIP limits, they will stop working. This is not true. You limit WIP to stop starting and start focusing, start finishing the work and deliver it. Because there is no point to start hundreds of tasks, the point is to deliver them. If you limit WIP, you focus on things that are on your plate right now. You deliver one and start the next one. And that`s how you deliver all hundred.  

“My colleague used to compare WIP to the way she read books. She said: “I should read one book and finish it, but I have a habit to start 10 books and I can`t finish any of them. You don`t want to do it with your work. You don`t want to start 10 tasks and don`t deliver any of them. You need to finish one book and start the next one”

Anna Radzikowska

Accredited Kanban Trainer and Coach, David J Anderson School of Management

Learn more about Kanban studies in the Kanban Maturity Model book or get access to full book content online using KMM+ on kanban.plus. Attend training at the David J Anderson School of Management to learn more about advanced Kanban studies and how they can help your business, or find your local trainer at Kanban University to start your Kanban journey. 

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

  • What is the Kanban Method?

    What is the Kanban Method?

    Should we use Kanban with capital or small “K”? Is Kanban a method, methodology, or framework and why so? Let’s explore the Kanban Method definition and dive deeper into these...

    What is the Kanban Method?

    Should we use Kanban with capital or small “K”? Is Kanban a method, methodology, or framework and why so? Let’s explore the Kanban Method definition and dive deeper into these...

  • Is Kanban agile/Agile?

    Is Kanban agile/Agile?

    In this article we are answering one of the most popular Kanban questions – is Kanban Agile (capital A) or agile (small a) and what does it mean? Continue reading...

    Is Kanban agile/Agile?

    In this article we are answering one of the most popular Kanban questions – is Kanban Agile (capital A) or agile (small a) and what does it mean? Continue reading...

  • Kanban System illustration image

    What is a Kanban System?

    They say “Kanban is just a board”. However, the Kanban board is just one of the elements of the Kanban system. Explore all the elements of it in this article.

    What is a Kanban System?

    They say “Kanban is just a board”. However, the Kanban board is just one of the elements of the Kanban system. Explore all the elements of it in this article.

1 of 3