Kanban Training: Essential for Success?


When teams are getting started with Kanban, they often ask us: Is Kanban training essential to “do” Kanban? Although LeanKit’s Customer Success team provides some of the best Kanban training available, our honest answer is no — you can be incredibly successful with Kanban without Kanban training. That is, if you can apply concepts well, think critically, and commit to creating an environment of continuous improvement.

That being said: Kanban training can be a launching pad, especially for teams new to Kanban, that can help you avoid common mistakes and get on the fast track to success.

Kanban and LeanKit: Simple by Design

At its core, Kanban is very simple. With a whiteboard and some sticky notes (and a great resource like our Kanban Roadmap) your team has everything it needs to transform the way it works.

LeanKit was designed to make Kanban even easier, with the ability to evolve board designs to mirror your workflow, capture valuable metrics, collaborate through card comments, manage work across distributed teams, and more. In LeanKit, it’s easy to design a board that mirrors your workflow and begin representing work on cards.

Benefits of Kanban Training

This initial board design is a great starting point — but having a simple board and truly practicing Kanban are not the same. Continuous improvement of your Kanban board is essential for success as your team grows and your process matures, and that improvement relies on the insightful use of data.

If you’re using LeanKit, you’ll have valuable insights into your WIP limits, capacity, and resource allocation; lead time, cycle time, and other flow metrics; recurring bottlenecks and blockers, and more. The question becomes: Will you know how to use this data to improve your process?

Valuable Experience

This is where Kanban training can be invaluable: Although each team is unique, many teams face similar challenges when implementing Kanban. Kanban coaches have seen it all — and they can give you valuable insight into how to approach solving your team’s problems in a constructive way.

Accelerated Education

Since you’re reading this post, we can assume that you’re passionate about implementing Kanban across your team. You might have read some or many of these great resources on Kanban. This might not be true, however, for other members of your team — Kanban training can give those team members a crash course in all things Kanban, so they can actively participate in your team’s implementation.

Unbiased Perspective

Kanban training also allows you to gain perspective from an unbiased third party: Your coach can observe your team from the outside, and notice things you might miss in the hustle of your daily work. They can observe how your team is implementing Kanban, and help you see opportunities for improvement that you may not know are there.

Vision for Scaling

Bringing a Kanban coach into your organization can also help others in the organization see your vision for Kanban implementation. A Kanban coach can help explain the benefits of Kanban to executives, help you overcome organizational objections by sharing case studies, and, at the right time, help you scale Kanban to more teams.

LeanKit Kanban Training

Our Customer Success team offers a variety of courses for Kanban and Lean practitioners at every level. Whether you’ve just built your first board or you’ve been practicing Kanban and would like to learn how to expand your team’s practice, our coaches will help further you along your journey of continuous improvement.

If you’re using LeanKit, or would like to start using LeanKit, there’s an obvious benefit of receiving Kanban training from us: Our coaches are not only Kanban experts, they’re also experts on our product — so whether you need help understanding a Kanban concept, or you have a technical question about setting up board analytics in LeanKit — our coaches can set your team up for success. Learn more about our Kanban training opportunities on our Training Page.

Final Thoughts

So is Kanban training essential to success? No. Success in Kanban is determined by a team’s commitment to continuous improvement and learning. But is there value in seeking the guidance of a seasoned expert? Of course. An experienced Kanban expert can help your team avoid common pitfalls and set you on the fast track to success. Whether your team decides to participate in Kanban training or learn Kanban by doing, there’s no right or wrong process — as long as your team is willing to embrace the process.

Maja Majewski

Maja has always been interested in the intersection of psychology and business. After studying Human and Organizational Development and Corporate Strategy at Vanderbilt University, Maja joined the LeanKit team as a content writer, where she was able to dive deeper into her exploration of how people, processes, and technology interact. She has authored over 200 articles and ebooks for several high-growth B2B companies, including LeanKit, Planview, Customer.io, and Clearbit. She served as the lead writer and researcher on LeanKit's Lean Business Report in 2016.

When not writing about process improvement, Maja practices it in her personal life - finding applications for her mantra "Better than before!" in everything from cooking to exercising. She enjoys spending time at home and going on adventurous vacations with her boyfriend and their German Shorthaired Pointer, Wrigley. Connect with Maja.