I was on the phone recently with Stacy, a dev team manager. During our conversation, I shared the concept of using relative card positioning, or stack ranking, to show the priority of items of a queue on a kanban board. Personally, I have used this tactic very successfully in the past as it provides visual cues to both the doers that need to know what’s next, as well as to the requestors of work who want to know when we’ll get to their item. When I finished explaining, Stacy said, “Yes, we’ve tried that in the past but we don’t do it anymore. The problem was that requestors got upset that their item was number five in our queue.”
This year at DevOps Days Seattle, I spoke about how often people get stuck in a very shallow implementation of Kanban. In fact, in many things, we often implement a very thin layer of something good but don’t know how to take improvement to a deeper level. First I introduce the audience to a team that has started an improvement initiative, specifically a Kanban implementation, and they’ve seen results, but still aren’t where they want to be. This story progresses throughout the talk in which I share four common indicators of a shallow Kanban implementation and how you can start to wade a little deeper with your process improvements. I give three areas to address, with (hopefully) tactical tips that you can start immediately when you’re back at the office.