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Jumping off the Hamster Wheel with Kanban

Jumping off the Hamster Wheel with Kanban

You’re running and running and running but the scenery never changes. You never actually get to your destination. So, you run faster and faster thinking that if you just try harder then you’ll get there. Do you feel like you’re living your life in a hamster wheel? You’re not alone. Many teams face conditions that keep them feeling exactly the same way.

This session walks through solutions to a variety of unfortunate problems teams commonly face, such as:

* unsustainable amounts of work, with pressure to start yet more work
* constant barrage of emergencies that push everything else to the side
* splitting peoples’ focus into percentages: 20% here, 40% there…
* a level of specialization across the team that creates a lot of wait time for requests
* inability to show others why you aren’t making progress on your deliverables


Julia Wester

July 27, 2016


  1. Julia Wester @everydaykanban everydaykanban.com Anna Kovats @anna_kovats Jumping off the

    hamster wheel with Kanban Agile 2016
  2. Who are we? @everydaykanban @anna_kovats Julia Wester Consultant, Trainer, Blogger,

    Learner Anna Kovats Efficiency Afficionado, Mgr, Internal Consultant
  3. Our story begins @everydaykanban @anna_kovats

  4. @everydaykanban @anna_kovats Perceptions

  5. Common challenges @everydaykanban @anna_kovats

  6. Searching for help @everydaykanban @anna_kovats

  7. Searching for help @everydaykanban @anna_kovats

  8. @everydaykanban @anna_kovats We had learned to value starting over finishing.

    Could this be our problem?
  9. Four Core Principles @everydaykanban @anna_kovats 1 3 2 4

  10. @everydaykanban @anna_kovats

  11. 1: Visualize your work (in your workflow) @everydaykanban @anna_kovats

  12. @everydaykanban @anna_kovats Expedite Intangible Fixed Date Standard Visualize info that

    gives you info about your problem
  13. 2: Limit your WIP (aka Work-in-process) @everydaykanban @anna_kovats 5 12

    5 2
  14. The cost of not limiting your WIP 5 interruptions x

    10 minutes = 50m lost work time [pp/ per day] 50 minutes x 5 days per week = ~ ½ work day lost [pp/per week] 8 people x ½ day per week = 4 working days lost in a week @everydaykanban @anna_kovats
  15. Let’s test how well you multitask! @everydaykanban @anna_kovats A B

    C D … J 1 2 3 4 … 10 I II III IV … X An exercise in two parts
  16. @everydaykanban @anna_kovats AK JW start Focus / commitment end Whether

    it is a standalone piece of work… or an entire project. WIP limits put a focus on focus
  17. @everydaykanban @anna_kovats Enable focus at a higher level Quit the

    percentage game
  18. Quick break for questions @everydaykanban @anna_kovats

  19. 3: Manage Flow of Work @everydaykanban @anna_kovats

  20. My job: facilitate this process

  21. 4: Make Process Policies Explicit @everydaykanban @anna_kovats

  22. Goal: Know what work is most important @everydaykanban @anna_kovats 5

    3 3 A C B C D C On Deck Doing Review Done A B D D B A
  23. 5: Implement Feedback Loops @everydaykanban @anna_kovats http://www.reply-mc.com/

  24. 6: Improve Collaboratively @everydaykanban @anna_kovats Specialization and a small team

    led to a focus on cross-training to remove bottlenecks. Our Cross-Training Experiment
  25. @everydaykanban @anna_kovats Level out specialization to save the experts for

    the big stuff
  26. only way to go higher confidence level better set expectations

    Stacie Buckley, Director of Business Operations, NBA.com, Turner Sports (2012) Changed minds, happier teams @everydaykanban @anna_kovats
  27. Successful journey, key outcomes • More realistic about what we

    could accomplish • Discussions became less emotional • Increased capacity without increasing cost • Saw major increase in revenue @everydaykanban @anna_kovats
  28. @everydaykanban @anna_kovats Want to begin your journey? • Start with

    a problem • Respect the past • Be a scientist • Learn via all outcomes • Repeat the cycle
  29. Have any questions? • Learn the signs of too much

    WIP & why it happens • Learn how to avoid change resistance • Learn ways to visualize your work & it's key attributes • Learn methods for prioritizing work • Learn methods for balancing project & non-project work • Understand why cross-training is key for specialist teams @everydaykanban @anna_kovats Want to dive deeper into any learning outcomes?
  30. Anna Kovats Carry  on  the  conversation… EverydayKanban.com @everydaykanban /in/juliawester Julia

    Wester /in/anna-kovats-36438810