How to get started with Open Kanban in 5 Minutes

Open Kanban in 5 Minutes Image

Frequently people who are interested in Kanban feel a bit overwhelmed by the information available. For them we have created this Quick Guide than can be read in five minutes and put to work almost immediately.

Just follow these steps to start your Open Kanban journey:

  1. Embrace the Agile and Lean Values.
    Being Agile, or Lean is more than a toolset, or a method, it’s a way of doing things, a mindset. These five values will inspire your actions accordingly: Respect people. Act with courage. Focus on Value. Communicate and Collaborate. Realize that change requires a holistic approach.

  2. Lead Using a Team Approach.
    There is no need to change people’s roles or titles, hire new people or change the process you are doing now. Start where you are, and then improve. However Open Kanban does ask you to have a working team in place. The first practice we recommend is to lead that team using a team approach. What does that mean? It means we encourage respectful, engaged, responsible leadership not just in management, but also from every member of the team. For guidance and inspiration we ask you to consider the great coaches who have succeeded in the world of sport, as well as Servant Leadership.

  3. Visualize the Workflow.
    You can’t improve what you can’t see, Kanban helps you see the flow of work by using Kanban boards like this one. So once the team is set to embrace Kanban, map each stage of work into your Kanban system on the board. You can use digital boards or physical ones with just some stickies on a white board.

  4. Reduce BASE.
    Imagine you wanted to create a competitor to a famous spreadsheet program, that would be a huge effort right? So the team must initially make sure every story on the board is of minimal, doable size. We call this Reducing the Batch Size of your Efforts. This will be the way your team guarantees they are able to deliver value and actually ship the stories on the board. After you reduce BASE, limit Work in Progress in the columns. Limiting WIP will be another effective way to focus and deliver value.

  5. Learn and Improve Continuously.
    The previous three items on this list are the core practices of Open Kanban; by doing them over and over you will develop a better understanding of your work, your team, and your ability to deliver value. Open Kanban is an empiric approach that requires that you also stop, and reflect. Make sure to have a stop in the road where the team focuses on improvement. Remember Open Kanban sees the entire system, it’s a holistic approach where people are the key to unlocking value, listen to them and improve continuously.

  6. Contribute to Open Kanban.
    Open Kanban is an open source Agile and Lean method, we always welcome contributions in many ways such as translations, ideas and suggestions. Visit our Open Kanban page, or contact us for more information.

  7. Consider Learning Kanban Ace.
    Finally, if you wish to learn Open Kanban in depth; or have a need for a more comprehensive Agile method to guide your IT, Software Development or business efforts do consider signing up for any of our Kanban Ace classes, some are even free! The Kanban Ace method is the first Open Kanban based method, and it even offers a certification option.