[Update: Originally posted on the now-defunct positiveincline.com on 25th January 2014 (predating Kanban from the Inside by several months), restored here by request 7th March 2019. For more recent materials for the exercise, drop me a line. And see also Going full circle on values for thoughts on a more Agendashift-style exercise.]
I’ve added an exercise on Kanban’s values to the foundational and advanced practitioner training decks. This has become a fixture even at train-the-trainer events and I ran it twice(!) at the recent Kanban Leadership Retreat in Monterey.
From the perspective of a Kanban trainer there are some obvious things to like about it:
- It’s a gentle reminder of the foundational principles and core practices of the Kanban Method
- It generates lots of high quality discussion (no group has yet got as far as the visual representation part at the end)
- It prompts thoughtful reflection
Less obviously, I am integrating it into my teaching of the systems thinking approach to introducing Kanban (see David’s LSSC12 talk if you don’t know what this is). Part of the power of values is that they can represent both benefits and practices; this means that we can use them to connect the rollout approach (the last step of the process) to the needs of the organization (captured in the first step).
By popular demand we are releasing it separately under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license. You can download the PDF from Slideshare, and I will provide the pptx on request (drop me an email).
Tips to the facilitator:
- This is best done on paper (don’t hand out the later slides that have the model answers)
- Complete and check the principles before attempting the practices
- Do the principles in reverse order (it’s just easier that way) and cross off the answers you have used
- There are no trick questions (“We aren’t evil!”) – if there seems to be an obvious correspondence of words, it’s safe to go with it
- Groups of 5-8 people if possible; multiple groups can report back afterwards
- Allow 45 minutes. It’s possible to do it quicker than that but groups do seem to appreciate the time to think and discuss.