Positive Incline Mike Burrows (@asplake) moving on up, positively

June 25, 2012

Back from #klrat

Filed under: Kanban,leadership,lean,Portfolio — Tags: , , , , , , — Mike @ 2:02 pm

I’m just back after another week away from home – first a 2-day Kanban class in London, then the Kanban Leadership Retreat in Mayrhofen in the beautiful Austrian Alps. Such a treat!

You will not be surprised to hear that I found myself leading (or rather co-leading with Rich Turner) a further exploration into the application of Kanban to portfolio-level problems. By “Kanban” I mean not just kanban-style visualisations but conscious attention to WIP, flow, policies etc. I have to admit though that I got far more out of other sessions.

Yuval Yeret did us all a great service by (re)raising the topic of Crossing the Chasm. This spawned several intense discussions, mostly notably a “Compelling Reason to Buy” discussion that fully justified an additional session of its own.

Håkan Forss led a number of sessions, two of which I attended. The first was on Kanban Kata which he describes here and here – I have little to add except to say that (i) I love it and (ii) it fits very well with what I teach around the use of A3.

In Håkan’s second session he sought to challenge the sequence in which the practices of Kanban are listed. This might seem a trivial point (and at one level it is) but it led first to a fruitful discussion on rollout approaches and then to this, an unordered visualisation of the depth to which the practices are understood and applied:

Discussions like this get exciting when you realise that you’re part of something that will change the way we understand, teach and implement Kanban. My contribution was to make a connection between this picture and the use of the Story Mapping technique as a way to guide and organise a Kanban rollout. Probably the best introduction to the latter idea is this post of Yuval’s.

You could say that Håkan and Yuval had good conferences, but then we all did 🙂


  1. Thanks for the reference Mike!

    BTW it is Yuval Yeret (not Yuret…)

    Comment by Yuval Yeret — June 25, 2012 @ 2:47 pm

  2. Oops, I will fix right away. Apologies!

    Comment by Mike — June 25, 2012 @ 2:58 pm

  3. Hi Mike,
    The spider is a very interesting assessment tool but how do you assess the different level of maturity on each axis, how can you assess that the practice is deep or shallow, what are your criteria ? Assembling the whole axis picture have you observed any pattern ?
    I’m just a beginner in Kanban topic. Before starting i’d like to use this tool to assess the current practices of our teams to show them that they already have some kind of asset they can rely on to progress toward deeper kanban practices.

    Comment by Francois Michas — July 10, 2012 @ 4:52 am

  4. Hi Francois, good question.

    What I had in mind was simply to take the lowest-level elements from Yuval’s story map, map them to the core practices and simply count how many are being applied. This could be by independent observation (Jeff’s approach) or by self-reporting.

    I quite like the self-reporting approach myself – I think it would be good for teams to have in front of them a list of techniques that they can choose consciously to use (or not). A pull system!


    Comment by Mike — July 10, 2012 @ 8:52 am

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