There are many misconceptions about Kanban which may have come from outdated references online, stories from predecessors in the workplace, or from competing methods.
The Kanban Method is a non-disruptive method for managing evolutionary change and used in conjunction with the Kanban Maturity Model the most successful way to evolve organizational maturity.
This article started as a Kanban infographic and in the future, we are likely to update it as there are many more myths that we’d like to bust. If you have experienced misconceptions about using Kanban in the workplace then please share with us in the comments below.
You can also find out more about the Kanban Method from the Kanban University in this article, 10 things to know about the Kanban Method.
1. Kanban is just a board
Kanban is a method that allows you to manage knowledge work. It uses principles and practices that guide you in managing and improving work with the help of Kanban boards that allow you to visualize your work and its flow, and Kanban Systems that control the work in progress to ensure work flows smoothly.
2. Kanban is just for co-located teams
Large organizations are using Kanban with thousands of employees, enterprise wide, including many remote offices. Kanban University offers a roadmap for improving enterprise agility based on the Kanban Maturity Model.
Unlike early agile methods Kanban does not require teams to be co-located it is focused on connecting organisational services rather than teams.
3. Kanban is only for IT or Software Development
Kanban works for all professional services, which are organizations that produce work that is NOT a physical item. The delivered work might be digital or it might be a service. Organizations using Kanban include: education, legal, sales, marketing, HR, design, media, film production, military, customer support, financial, research, insurance, government agencies, and many more.
4. Kanban relies on wishful thinking
Kanban is big on measurement, validation, and facts about actual performance. The Kanban Method incorporates the scientific method. When a problem or deficiency is detected, an experiment can be tried through a deliberate process. Most importantly, with Kanban we acknowledge the current reality (including problems) without finger-pointing and instead focus on how the entire system can improve.
5. Implementing Kanban requires abrupt or disruptive change
Kanban is a non-disruptive method for managing evolutionary change. Fundamental to the method is the ability to make incremental changes starting with what you are doing now. Making smaller incremental changes protects the overall system from risk and ensures improvements are actually being made by analyzing the results in isolation with each change. It also gives the possibility to easily rollback to where an organization was without any additional cost or disruption that is inherent in other change methods.