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

October 19, 2012

How Deep is “How Deep is Your Kanban”?

[wonkish, sorry]

I’m busy putting the final touches to my portfolio-related talk for next week’s #lkce12 conference in Vienna. It owes a significant debt to David’s milestone talk How Deep is Your Kanban, but this leaves me with a couple of slightly embarrassing niggles.

Where in the assessment tool are:

  1. Agreement – “Agree to pursue incremental, evolutionary change” is a foundational principle of Kanban and the organisational scope of any agreement is surely assessable. As a change agent, have I achieved 360-degree agreement? If I have, won’t this help make change “stickier”?
  2. Challenge – The language of the tool is big on improvement, implicitly in the direction of “improved” or “fitter”. Isn’t this a bit weak? What about other drivers, direction-setters and pace-setters? Together with “leadership” and “alignment” (already well represented), adding “challenge” might go some way to address the “Kanban is too nice” perception and help complete the connection with Lean organisational practice.

Got that off my chest!

With that out of the way, keep an eye out in my talk for my son’s summer programming project – Kanban meets Design Factory meets Beyond Budgeting. It needs a better name than “Foo” though…


  1. I wonder if the current 6-dimensions need augmented with a 2nd set that looks at the change implementation – the behavior of the change agent(s)?

    The current book has one chapter (15) on implementation (or getting started). A future 2nd edition will have a full section of perhaps 3 chapters on this topic. Another future book on Advanced Kanban aimed at coaches is likely to expand on this further. Perhaps we need a “How Deep is your Kanban Coaching?” assessment framework?

    Comment by David Anderson — January 4, 2013 @ 6:17 am

  2. Hi David, yes that’s very much what I had in mind in relation to the current tool. Definitely change agents plural – higher maturity should be evidenced by these behaviours being adopted in the organisation.

    Re the second part, in highlighting values I’ve been struck by a difference between “how to get started” and “how to stay stay effective”. I think we need to explore that some more.

    Comment by Mike — January 4, 2013 @ 10:44 am

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