Why do companies like Toyota and Zappos open up their shop floors for tours? It's because they know visitors won't be able to replicate their culture, yet Toyota/Zappos may learn something from a visitor's questions. So these companies actually have something to gain--and little to lose. Their culture of continuous improvement is almost impossible to replicate--which is exactly what Ravindar and I have witnessed in multiple environments that are implementing Kanban. As a result, we've come up with a series of tactics to help teams develop a learning culture--nothing that would surprise you in a healthy Kanban system--but signals that aren't written about elsewhere.
This week I was invited to talk about Multi-Sensory Kanban for Agile NYC, so I've decided to share the slides here. In a nutshell, this is a talk about how to keep a kanban system healthy. We find that a focus on work-in-progress and flow blinds people to the whole system; our minds tend to lock in to either in a synthetic (whole-system) or analytic (subsystem) mode, and we need regular reminders to switch between the two. Since Kanban is normally a visual control system, and therefore the visual channel is already saturated, we encourage teams to use signals from our other senses, most notably the auditory channel and kinetic channels.
These slides have few speaker notes; if you'd like to learn more please invite us to speak! It's easy to get in touch with me-- write to andre -a-t- dhondt-teams-gel -d-o-t- com.