Yes, we Kanban

Yes, we Kanban

Some weeks ago, new access cards came to the office with different slogans, but one of them caught my attention: “Yes, we Kanban”. I must admit that as part of the team of Lean and Agile coaches at eDreams ODIGEO, I felt proud. And pleased, because it was something decided without us. To me it was a clear signal that Kanban has become part of the culture of the company, and people perceive it as a good thing. How has this happened?

I believe that the Kanban method is now a key part of the evolution of eDreams ODIGEO because of its evolutionary change approach. Kanban helps managing change by following these three principles: “Start with what you do now”, “Agree to pursue improvement through evolutionary change” and “Encourage acts of leadership at every level”. As a consequence, people don’t perceive the adoption of Kanban as a big change in the way they work. We just come to their lives with some training, visualizing their work on a board, helping them to make some team agreements and going back to work. Of course, at the beginning with our support, the Agile coaches.

We help our colleagues understand and apply the Kanban values and principles by themselves. And we do this without any hierarchical power, i.e. we must influence the changes simply with alternative points of view. Well, to be honest, this is not exactly true. The fact that we exist is an evidence of the support that top management is giving us. We know that, but we don’t want to use it because we believe that forcing people to adopt a change is not the right thing to do.

Instead of doing that, we are helping colleagues, at all levels, to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to start their own journey within this evolution. We are also helping teams understand the effect of their agreements, their roles, their metrics, and especially to learn how to make their own improvements following a scientific approach. At a more systemic level, we try to understand together the impact of their decisions on other teams. And of course we also offer our experience to anyone interested in the benefits of our approach.

The most significant tool that we are developing is internally known as the Kanban Self-Assessment tool, what we call “KanSAs”. It is the evolution of a previous assessment used only by the Agile coaches. Now we are helping the teams use it by themselves. “KanSAs” helps the teams find possible areas of improvement and focus on them. It also helps the Agile coaches give and share more explicit advice.

An additional benefit of teams running these self-assessments is that we are fostering the perfection of their Kanban practices, aligned with the Kanban values and principles, but without our constant presence. Yes, we are managing to scale our service. We are still looking forward to seeing more benefits, like more advanced Kanban practitioners embracing the values and principles, taking ownership of the evolution and showing acts of leadership at all levels to drive the company to unexpected ambitious goals.

If you want to know more about “KanSAs” or additional inspiring topics covered in this article, please use the comments below and we’ll try to answer in the upcoming posts.


QUICK UPDATE: Thanks to our colleague Roy Duffield, from the Product Content team, for creating this slogan. You rock, mate!


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