8 Techniques to Visualize Policies in LeanKit

One of the core practices of the Kanban Method is to make process policies explicit. This helps team members and stakeholders understand what’s expected, thereby reducing confusion and enabling greater process consistency. Until the mechanism of a process is made explicit, it can be difficult to engage in meaningful discussion about how to improve it.

Without a common understanding of how the work should be done, discussions about problems tend to be emotional, anecdotal, and subjective. Making your policies explicit facilitates a more rational, empirical, and objective discussion of issues and how to increase the team’s effectiveness.
How to Make Process Policies Explicit in LeanKit
LeanKit provides a number of ways to help you capture, preserve, and share your team’s policy decisions, right within your kanban board:

Provide a board description to communicate the purpose of your work.
Design your board layout to reflect decision-making and workflow policies.
Define explicit lane policies to establish when work is ready to be moved.
Create legend cards to communicate additional information and instructions.
Set WIP limits to constrain the amount of work flowing through the system.
Establish class of service policies according to business risk and impact.
Create board templates for consistent, repeatable processes.
Use pre-defined taskcards to ensure consistent implementation.

Using these techniques, LeanKit empowers team members to determine the most effective way to keep work flowing through the system.

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How Kanban Enables Continuous Delivery: LeanKit’s Perspective

Kanban and continuous delivery are technical practices that go hand in hand.

The goal of continuous delivery is to rapidly, reliably and repeatedly deliver new features and bug fixes at low risk and with minimal overhead. The goal of Kanban is to optimize the flow of work through incremental change. Both approaches share the common objective of delivering value to the customer faster.

Kanban and continuous delivery also complement each other with their shared objective of process improvement. Continuous delivery, which can be delayed by manual effort and human error, often uses automation to make processes more efficient.

Ideally, automation will make a good process better; but, automating a bad process can have disastrous effects. Kanban steps in by helping you mirror your process, allowing you to instantly see where work flows and where work gets stuck. This, in turn, can show you which steps to automate and which steps to improve before they’re automated.

The combination of Kanban and continuous delivery causes a fundamental shift in how work is planned and managed. Instead of batching features in big releases, continuous delivery favors frequent, small releases. Kanban, as a continuous flow methodology, associates value with finishing. As a result, software development teams are encouraged to develop, test and release new features and fixes in a continuous manner, completing work in progress before starting new work.

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How to Modify Your Board Layout

See how to modify the layout of your LeanKit board to accurately reflect your team's process. In this short video you'll learn how to:

Add new lanes, reposition them and increase lane width to show your process
Create sub-lanes for stages of work within your process
Use horizontal swimlanes for parallel processes

LeanKit is designed to let you build out any work process -- regardless of complexity -- without restricting the way you work. It also gives you the flexibility to change your process as it evolves over time.

Modeling your board’s layout to closely match your process helps your team effectively collaborate on shared work and provides more insight into areas for future process improvement.

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Vertafore Case Study: Balancing Standardization and Flexibility

Vertafore’s reporting dashboard

When establishing workflow processes, many enterprise organizations wrestle with balancing their approach between one that’s standardized and one that’s more flexible.

It’s a tough choice: too much standardization can impede innovation and agility, but too much flexibility leads to inconsistency across teams.
The standardization-or-flexibility dilemma also extends to enterprise tooling selection:

A standard tool reinforces process consistency, provides the means to gather conforming information and is easier to implement.
A more flexible tooling approach recognizes that often one tool doesn’t suit all, allowing each team to choose the tool that’s right for them.

As our interview with Vertafore reveals, adopting the right approach with the right tool can deliver both standardization and flexibility.

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Changing the Way REA Group Works

REA Group Team Collaboration

REA Group has experienced impressive growth since it was founded in 1995. A startup that began in a suburban garage, it now employs more than 900 people worldwide and is a top 100 Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) company valued at $6.78 billion.

As REA Group continues to grow, the enterprise has embraced Agile and Lean practices to ensure the delivery of business value to its customers, using LeanKit to support the initiative.

We interviewed Damian Fasciani, Technology Services Manager at REA Group, to understand how LeanKit is changing the way REA works.

What started in the technology services group as a way to visually manage work using “digital card walls” has now spread across the organization to include HR, legal, procurement, sales and marketing teams.

Today, LeanKit has become an integral part of how teams work at REA Group, providing better work visibility and enabling cross-functional teams to collaborate more effectively.
Read the full success story.

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Why and How to Limit Your WIP

In this webinar, we explain why setting work-in-progress limits is necessary if you want to establish and improve your flow of work.
Simply put, you can't do more work than you can handle. It makes sense, but with all the competing demands on our time, it's too easy to bite off more than we can chew - and that's when things can go awry. Our attention to detail suffers, tasks are left unfinished and the quality of our work is compromised. As a result, we're wasting time, effort and resources.
While limiting your work-in-progress may seem difficult at first, you'll discover that prioritizing some tasks over others ultimately results in ALL of the tasks being completed sooner than they would have if you'd started them all at the same time.
If you’d like a copy of the presentation, please click on the link below:
Why and How To Limit Your WIP

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