Identifying Services for "kanbanization" #1 - Shared Resources

Posted on October 20, 2013 by David Anderson

This is the 3rd in my series of blog posts on Kanban and service delivery. I'd now like to talk about how you find services within your organization. In the first post on discovering services, I will take a look at the enterprise services that are often referred to as "shared resources."

In the picture below, the small orange tickets are avatars for people. They have names of individuals written on the tickets. The people associated with orange tickets can help with work on any lane on the board. We refer to these people as "floating" because they aren't assigned to any one lane. In this case, the lanes show the work for specific development teams within a large project. Some of these orange avatar tickets belong to people from enterprise shared services such as the architecture department, specifically the enterprise architect and the database architect. These two individuals actually support all the projects in the IT portfolio. So the avatars on this board only show their current commitments to help on this one project.

The architects provide services such as "database schema change review and approval."

If it was perceived that architecture services were a bottleneck or a source of delay through non-instant availability - they service other projects in the portfolio and can't be everywhere at once - then it would make sense to introduce a kanban system for the architecture department and make the services they offer explicit and the customers they serve such as this project, or the teams within this project, explicit. Once we've exposed the service properly only then can we start to have a discussion about how to improve it and how to ensure fairness of allocation of architecture service capacity across the many customers served by the enterprise architects.

If you are interested in how Kanban helps with improved service delivery in creative knowledge work organizations, and how it helps to switch managers to understanding the true business they are in, then I will be talking about this at the Modern Management Methods conference in London on 31st October. Register now!