Service orientation

[First, previous, next in series]

This is the third of nine articles in a series exploring the matrix below (introduced here):

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 19.16.55

Previously we looked at Outcomes; today we’re finishing the left-hand column (Values-based Delivery) with Service orientation.

Service orientation might seem a rather abstract concept to place in a row labelled “Action”, but to the Kanban community (if not more widely) it means something quite specific, teachable and actionable.

Take this (from Kanban from the Inside, tweaked a little):

Know what you’re delivering, to whom, and why it matters


  • How you deliver (from the team’s perspective)
  • How well (from the customer’s)
  • How to sustain it (from the organisation’s)

Kanban has here a very good model for adopting and scaling Agile. Instead of a process-centric approach, teams begin with an external perspective as the motivation for realignment and the context into which the “how” is improved through the deliberate introduction of new tools and techniques (from Agile and Lean, from Kanban itself, and from further afield). The customer’s experience improves (as it does internally) as understanding and motivation develops not just within teams but between them and ultimately across whole product lines. Indeed, bolder implementations will have it mind to achieve end-to-end results quickly.

The “to whom, and why it matters” and the “how well” echo the Needs and Outcomes of the preceding two posts in this series. Much of the remaining six will speak to the question of how to sustain it.

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