On Monday of last week, our network and desktop support team (what we call our “IT Team” as distinct from our software development teams) began experimenting with Kanban as our project management framework.  Heretofore, we’d simply been handling our project management and priorities in a sort of ad-hoc fashion.  We knew we wanted to ratchet it down, but didn’t want to use Scrum since the IT team is more of a support organization that would not operate well using time boxes.  We decided to experiment with Kanban for multiple reasons, including its suitability for support organizations and its focus on lean principles.

Our first week of experimenting with Kanban went quite well.  The major benefit we saw was the visualization of our work and workflow.  On Monday, we held our first retrospective and identified the first major process issue we want to address: widening the ownership of the backlog to the entire team.  Up until now, I had generally been the one ultimately responsible for what we worked on and in what order.  Obviously, there was input from the rest of the team and other stakeholders but there was a sense that I was the gatekeeper for priorities.

Kanban has highlighted the inefficiencies in that arrangement and we’re now trying to actively discuss the backlog and new issues at least once a day in our daily meeting – if not more often throughout the day.  This is definitely going to be an ongoing improvement effort so I expect we’ll keep this as an action item for at least several weeks until we get to a point where we think the entire team has full ownership of the backlog.

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