Kanban; Evolutionary Change
value noun 1. A fair return or equivalent of something. 2. A numerical amount that determines the necessity, importance of something. In this part of our series, as it can be understood from the definition above, we will talk about Kanban’s values.
In this part of our series, as it can be understood from the definition above, we will talk about Kanban’s values.
The Kanban method proceeds in light of determined values. Since Kanban was born in the Far East, it also contains the most important value of the Far Eastern philosophy; respect. We can even summarize all Kanban values that we will mention in this article with only this value.
Let’s take a look at Kanban’s 9 values. While writing these values, I tried to refer to the book Essential Kanban Condensed (Anderson and Carmichael, 2016, goo.gl/ZbtDIk). You can also see the effects of Mike Burrows’ Kanban From the Inside.
Our first value: Transparency. The more accurate and clear the information flow is within the system, the more accurate and valuable the values produced by the system will be. In order to advance/improve within the system, people will take initiative and make fast and accurate decisions. Transparency will also help create an environment of trust and respect.
Our second value: Balance. In the absence of a balanced expectation, perception and competence distribution within the system, effective operation of the system will be compromised. Something will always be focused on more than others and will trigger local improvements by focusing on a single point. In Systems Thinking, it is emphasized that every local improvement in the system causes the efficiency/effect of the whole system to decrease.
Our third value: Collaboration. It will not be easy to move towards a common goal without collaboration within the system. Collaboration is an important value that needs to be gained as Kanban is built on the harmony of the components that make up the system and people’s working in harmony.
Our fourth value: Customer focus. Respect for the customer. This is the point that I think every system wants to reach or aim at first; the point where the customer gets his/her request or service. The flow goes toward the point where the value is reached/implemented in each Kanban system. When we do not consider this value within the system, we can say that we produce very high-quality garbage, unless we offer a customer-oriented or customer-focused solution no matter how fast and high-quality our outputs are.
Our fifth value: Flow. Every job in the system must flow from one value to another in order to be realized. This value flow is required to reach the desired product or service at the end, whether without a pause or in parts. The ability to see/visualize this value flow at the beginning plays a major role in understanding the system and seeing the points of improvement (kaizen). Visualization of this flow in Kanban systems is an essential starting point.
Our sixth value: Leadership. To ensure that one’s team/community moves towards a common goal by inspiring or encouraging other members with exemplary behavior, acts, and words. In general, this leadership concept is perceived as the person or authority assigned by a higher authority to take the initiative in most organizations. Leadership does not have a hierarchical structure and it cannot be assigned by another higher authority.
Leadership in Kanban is essential at all levels, and anyone who respects the team should take the initiative, so that value production and improvements can be made properly.
Our seventh value: Understanding. In order to advance, both the individual and the organization should know themselves and what needs to be done; respect to change. Kanban is a method of improvement, knowing the starting point will reinforce the foundation. Necessary competencies and information should be acquired for that. Starting a change without knowing what needs to be done will keep the pace and impact of improvements down. It’s like having an idea without knowledge.
Our eighth value: Agreement. It is almost impossible to go in the same direction without finding a middle ground. Finding a middle ground does not mean to be against different ideas. In Kanban, different ideas are always respected and valued so that improvement (kaizen) can be achieved. Otherwise, there would be nothing but a dogmatic approach.
Our ninth and final value: Respect. A feeling that makes us value people, approach them insightfully and in a thoughtful manner. Although it is at the end of the list, respect is the value underlying all the values mentioned above.
I don’t think any organization can survive without respect. It is not a coincidence that respect is essential for Kanban values. No matter what kind of transformation you go through, a transformation that doesn’t have respect is always doomed to fail even from the beginning.
A community, group, organization will always survive by renewing itself as long as everyone understands that improvements are necessary for the good of the whole system and therefore some sacrifices must be made.
End of the third chapter.
Written by Alper Tonga (linkd.in/NAp6Ro)