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Kanban Maturity Assessment (audit)

The Kanban Method and System are currently one of the most commonly used methods to increase the competitiveness of workflow and value management companies. Despite its undoubted huge popularity in the world, many organizations still experience problems with its successful implementation (often briefly treating Kanban as an array).

One of the reasons for this is undoubtedly the difficulty in properly measuring its degree of maturity and efficiency. Without defining the measures and their proper control, we are not able to consciously increase business efficiency. This knowledge helps in deciding how to customize Kanban to show measurably the progress in achieving key business goals.

Kanban Maturity Model (KMM)

Better descriptions of the maturity levels (ML) show how organizations evolve to develop their fitness-for-purpose. More precisely, how they improve in the following aspects:

  • new habits and cultural values
  • deeper Kanban management practices
  • relief from overburdening
  • coherent decision-making al all levels, taking into account tactical, operational and strategic concerns
  • consistent and efficient work process
  • alignment and unity around a shared purpose
  • better business outcomes
  • capabilities to anticipate and address changes in the business environment

Why we need the Kanban Maturity Model?

Decade of experience

The Kanban Maturity Model (KMM) collects and summarizes a decade of experience applying Kanban across different organizations. The model can be a useful tool for organizations interested in developing their business agility.

It will provide you with a framework for scaling Kanban and evolving your process to achieve robustness and agility, ensuring your company’s long-time survivability.

The Kanban Maturity Model was developed at Kanban University by David Anderson and Teodora Bozheva. With the help of KMM, you can see how your organization is doing in Kanban adoption (how mature is your Kanban adoption) and start a discussion of what are the most appropriate future improvements. Therefore, KMM is the ultimate Kanban coaching tool.

The model emerged from the experience gathered by the whole community after years of coaching Kanban adoptions and relating those to organizational maturity and leadership maturity.

Over 15 years of experience in scaling Agile organization-wide

We have over 20 years of active, non-linear, and versatile experience in IT, broadly defined management, leadership, coaching (ICF), personal development, mentoring, and training. We work with both management teams and agile teams (not only in the IT sector), creating modern, value-oriented teams and work environments.

We have supported or led agile/digital transformation initiatives in more than 10 organizations, encompassing not only IT or PMO departments but also business, HR, legal, finance, marketing, sales, and support departments.

We have mentored and coached management teams, C-level representatives, directors, and shareholders.

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15 Years of Agile Experience Badge
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(framework agnostic) Agile Coaches and Change Leaders

We view ourselves as individuals not restricted to any particular framework (framework agnostic).

However, to meet diverse market demands, we stand out as the sole entity in Poland featuring certified coaches and mentors experienced in various agile transformations. We cover all major agile frameworks and methodologies, including Scrum, Kanban, S@S, NEXUS, Large Scaled Scrum (LeSS), Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD), Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM), Agile Project Management (AgilePM), PRINCE2 Agile, alongside lightweight approaches like Team of Teams Design and Team Topologies.

In essence, these tools serve as our "toolbox" for scaling Agile and spearheading significant organizational change initiatives, employing methodologies such as PROSCI.

Our offer

As part of the Kanban implementation/maturity audit service, we check the current level of effectiveness of the Kanban System and Kanban Method (both upstream and downstream Kanban) at teams and organisational levels. We compare and confront empirically collected evidence with our experience and examples of Kanban’s “implementations” in organizations of similar complexity.

The below list is only a fraction of the areas we study. It is the observation mechanism, the opportunity to look from the expert eye, a fresh eye from a distance allows you to observe what is happening daily. Culture, habits, process maturity, metrics, and continuous improvement process have many areas to observe and check. A significant part of these things requires experience and the ability to impartial, non-judgmental and non-critical observation of people and their behaviour.

An example of initial list of metrics:

  • Individual Lead Time -> Team Lead Time
  • System Lead Stime -> Customer Lead Time
  • Individual WIP -> Team WIP -> CONWIP
  • Cumulative Flow Diagrams (CFD)
  • Work Item Age (WIA)
  • On-Time Delivery
  • Due Date Performance
    • On-Time Delivery Ratio
  • Defects and Rework
  • Abandoned Work

Areas of interest

Below are examples, not a complete list

As part of our work, we pay special attention to:

  • Are the teams working in Kanban able to consistently achieve a stable or increasing flow of value through the system?
    • Unfortunately, practice often shows the opposite.
  • Does the team and business environment have a clearly defined class of services and policies attached to them for issues being resolved by the engineering teams?
    • Unfortunately, practice often shows that everything is important or everything has to be done ASAP.
  • Does the team work together like a mature team? A team can consciously use the unique competencies of each of its members and (if needed or if possible) exchange tasks when necessary. A team that can manage conflicts within a team in a mature way, even in the case of significant differences in people’s personalities? … and many others,
    • Unfortunately, practice often shows low awareness and level of cooperation and cohesion within and between teams as well as frequent conflicts at the personnel level (open or non-open).
  • How does the team make difficult decisions and whether and if so, on what terms does it assume obligations and responsibility?
    • Unfortunately, practice often shows the authoritarian, autocratic attitudes of someone who is a Business Leader (i.e. Service Owner, Product Owner).
  • Does the product/service is built upon good software craftsmanship practices (both business and non-functional requirements, resulting from, among others, good software engineering practices)?
    • Unfortunately, practice often shows a tendency to “bend” reality, postpone difficult, boring or uncomfortable tasks for later and generate (aware or not) technical debt.

Audit lifecycle

The more work put into the planning and preparation phases of an audit, the smoother the conduct of the audit. In this step, it’s very important on how audit people will be introduced. Definitely not as Auditors, since in most organizations this word has a negative connotation. Rather as Coaches or Consultants who will observe, give feedback and mentor lessons. We estimate that up to 10% of the total project time is required for both the Plan and Prepare phases.

Using our unique methodology, maturity model, experience, and deep-dive checklists, a further 75% of the project time is required to perform the audit. This phase involves observation, interviews, cross-checking, verification and validation steps. The key aspect here is trust, building relationships and gaining the trust of the people being audited. Only this way any empirically gained information will we valuable for further refinement.

Understand the underlying causes

The maturity assessment/audit process is carried out using comparative methods, quantified (qualitatively and quantitatively), as well as through interviews, observations, surveys, and, if necessary, short workshops. Naturally, the results of this activity are presented along with recommendations/suggestions.

The results of the Audit are documented formally and presented to the organisation in a standard report with formalised findings. This is part of the concluding stages in this Report phase. If the audit determines areas for quick wins and improvement, further Follow-Up actions may be necessary to close out these issues.

Audit length

The length of the audit and how it is conducted depends on the characteristics of the client’s organization. However, the minimum period is work for a period of two Sprints / Iterations. After the audit, the client receives a report and recommendations for further development.

Supporting resources for Kanban

The Official Kanban Guide V2 by Kanban University [2022.12]

The Official Kanban Guide V2
by Kanban University [12.2022]

The Official Kanban Guide V1 by Kanban University [2021.02]

The Official Kanban Guide V1
by Kanban University [02.2021]

The Kanban Guide for Scrum Teams by [2021.01]

The Kanban Guide for Scrum Teams
by [01.2021]

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