Implementing Kanban for Service Teams

Posted by on June 18, 2017

Kanban For Service Teams

Implementing Kanban for Service Teams

Kanban for Service Teams: Kanban is well-known Lean process used in the manufacturing industry and in Agile Software Development. In this post we will see how we can implement the system for different services teams like Operations, IT, Network and Help Desk etc.

Kanban in General

Kanban is a Signal Card used in any pull system. It is about visual flow of value through the system by eliminating waste based on limiting work in progress and improving the flow process continuously. It is based on different Lean principles like delivering Customer Value, Eliminating waste, continuous improvement etc.

It has been very well adapted in manufacturing industry and further in Agile Software development. In this post we will discuss how the same process can be integrated within Services teams.

The Current Working Model

The current working model for most service teams is mostly the Push system. Usually there is some team lead who analyses the requirements and then assign the ticket to individual team members.

Each team member is more or less unaware of the tickets assigned to other team member. Every time the team lead needs to assign the new ticket he needs to analyse the work load on every team member. Every team member needs to wait for the new ticket to be assigned and sometimes they are overloaded with the tickets to be resolved. The whole push system is a lot of waste to every team member. There is no knowledge sharing among the team.

Problems with Push System

Work is assigned by the Team Lead to each individual team member who maintains their own backlog. The whole push system causes lot of waste with the dependency on the Team Lead to get the work assigned. The Team Lead needs to maintain picture of each individual backlog and there is no team collaboration with individual backlogs.

How Kanban can help

Kanban is all about continuous flow in work and putting limit on work in progress with continuous improvements in the process. Some of the high level benefits are, regular flow of work, improved prioritisation and control of flow, improved clarity in terms of work limit, improved team work, shared responsibility with in the team, improved planning of resources and work, improved planning future projects/work.

Continuous Improvement

No process is full proof. Being open to change and improving from the learnings is what differentiate one team from the other. Doing reviews regularly helps teams improve the process incrementally, teams find their strengths and refine work in progress limits.

Do what makes sense

There may be things which may work for one team but not for the other, the idea is to keep an open mind, learn and improve over time.

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Based on a post by Jaibeer Malik, Tech, Security and Fun