Aug 1st, 2023

A-Z Guide On Program Management With Kanban Service Delivery

Jerry Rajamoney
Jerry Rajamoney

He is one of the top 5 in the Agile community to have achieved the dual credential of Professional ... Read more

In today's fast-paced business landscape, effective program management is crucial for organizations to achieve their desired outcomes. With numerous tasks, dependencies, and teams involved, managing programs can quickly become overwhelming.

That's where the Kanban service delivery model comes in. Originally developed for Lean manufacturing, Kanban has proven to be a valuable approach in various industries, including software development and program management.

Visualizing the workflow is the first step in Kanban program management. By creating a Kanban board with different stages of work, teams can easily track and understand the progress of tasks.

By adopting the Kanban service delivery model, program managers can gain better visibility into their programs, optimize workflows, and facilitate the efficient delivery of program outcomes. This approach not only enhances efficiency but also nurtures a culture of continuous learning and adaptation, making it a valuable tool in the arsenal of program management professionals.

In this blog, we will explore the key elements of the Kanban Service Delivery Model and how they contribute to enhancing productivity and delivering value to customers.

What Is Kanban Service Delivery Model?

The Kanban service delivery model is a project management approach that originated from Lean manufacturing principles but has since been adapted for various industries, including software development and program management. It emphasizes visualizing work, limiting work in progress (WIP), and continuously improving the flow of work to deliver value more effectively.

Elements of the Kanban Service Delivery Model

The Kanban service delivery model offers a powerful framework for organizations to optimize their workflows, enhance collaboration, and deliver value to customers. In the context of program delivery, the Kanban service delivery model involves the following key elements:

Visualize The Workflow

The first step is to visualize the program's workflow by creating a Kanban board. The board typically consists of columns representing different stages of work, such as backlog, analysis, development, testing, and deployment. Each column contains cards or sticky notes that represent individual program tasks or user stories.

Limit Work In Progress (WIP)

Kanban encourages setting explicit limits on the number of tasks that can be in progress at any given time. This helps prevent overloading the team and ensures focus on completing work before taking up new tasks. WIP limits are set for each column on the Kanban board, and new tasks are pulled into a column only when there is available capacity.

Flow Management

The goal of the Kanban service delivery model is to achieve a smooth flow of work through the program. This involves actively managing and optimizing the flow by removing bottlenecks, identifying and addressing blockers, and ensuring a steady pace of work. Teams can monitor the flow using metrics like lead time (time taken for a task to move from start to completion) and cycle time (time taken to complete a task once actively worked on).

Continuous Improvement

Kanban encourages a culture of continuous improvement. Teams regularly reflect on their workflow, identify areas for improvement, and implement changes to enhance productivity, quality, and predictability. This can involve experimenting with different practices, tools, or process adjustments to achieve better outcomes.

Tips to Use Kanban Service Delivery Model Effectively

Now we will share some essential tips to help you harness the full potential of the Kanban service delivery model. Whether you are new to Kanban or looking to fine-tune your existing practices, these tips will provide you with valuable insights and practical strategies to maximize the benefits of Kanban and drive success.

To use the Kanban service delivery model effectively in program delivery, consider the following tips:

1. Define Program-Level Workflow

Create a Kanban board that represents the end-to-end workflow of the program, incorporating multiple teams and their respective tasks. This enables visibility and coordination across the program.

To ensure a smooth flow of work from one team to another, define the entry and exit criteria for each task. Assign tasks to specific team members or teams and ensure their visibility on the Kanban board. Regularly review and refine the workflow as needed, incorporating feedback from teams and stakeholders.

2. Collaborate And Communicate

Encourage cross-functional collaboration and open communication among teams to ensure a shared understanding of work priorities and dependencies. Regular stand-up meetings or Kanban cadences can help synchronize efforts and address any blockers.

Use the Kanban board as a visual aid during meetings to ensure everyone has a shared understanding of the current state of work. Establish channels for quick communication and issue resolution, such as chat platforms or dedicated communication tools.

3. Prioritize And Sequence Work

Establish clear criteria for prioritizing program tasks, considering factors such as business value, dependencies, and risks. Use techniques like WSJF (Weighted Shortest Job First) to determine the order in which work should be tackled.

Collaborate with stakeholders to gain a shared understanding of priorities and make informed decisions. Continuously reassess and reprioritize tasks as new information or dependencies arise

4. Monitor And Adapt

Continuously monitor the flow of work, analyze metrics, and identify areas where improvements can be made. Adapt the program's workflow, WIP limits, or other aspects based on insights gained from data and team feedback.

5. Foster A Learning Culture

Encourage teams to learn from their experiences and share knowledge. Conduct retrospectives to reflect on successes and challenges, and use the insights to refine processes and practices. Create a safe and supportive environment for teams to share their experiences and insights.

Document and share best practices, lessons learned, and improvement ideas with the broader program team. Encourage continuous learning and professional development, both individually and as a team, to enhance skills and knowledge.

By following these actionable steps, you can effectively implement the Kanban service delivery model in program delivery and improve collaboration, productivity, and overall program outcomes.

The Bottom Line

By leveraging the Kanban service delivery model, program managers can gain better visibility, optimize workflow, and facilitate the efficient delivery of program outcomes while fostering continuous improvement and adaptability.

Embracing Kanban as a program management approach can lead to more successful and streamlined program deliveries in today's dynamic business environment.

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Jerry Rajamoney

He is one of the top 5 in the Agile community to have achieved the dual credential of Professional Coach (PCC) & Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC). A software technologist and an SME in Agile Software Development with 20+ years of experience, Jerry is passionate about building hyper-productive teams which help organizations in their quest for Agility and Digital Transformation in today’s VUCA world.

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