Give or take a word or two, the Kanban method’s Foundational Principles have looked like this for a couple of years now:
- Start with what you do now
- Agree to pursue evolutionary change
- Initially, respect existing roles, responsibilities and job titles
- Encourage acts of leadership at every level – from individual contributor to senior manager
Does that last one really belong in that list? Much as I like the principle, I wonder. In the language of values, understanding, agreement & respect (leadership disciplines, the environment and working agreements around the process and conduct of evolutionary change) then leadership (which tends to go hand in hand with change of any kind; we encourage an at-every-level variety).
Let’s try for size this new list (a list of concepts, not a serious attempt at canonical wording):
- Service-orientation, by which customers have their needs met through single services or multiple coordinated services
- Decentralised control and self-organisation, improving adaptability and responsiveness, easing reconfiguration both between and within services
- Leadership, sustaining the system and change therein
These aren’t quite so foundational to the Kanban method, but are the kinds of organisational design principles that successful Kanban implementations seem to follow.
Would this change my values model? Not really. Leadership stays because it must. Self-organisation is a significant theme when I explain transparency; decentralised control slots fits both there and with leadership. Service-orientation fits with flow just as comfortably.
We’d be left with this:
- The foundational principles returned to their original three
- The six core practices as they currently are
- Three organisational design principles