What does Kanban mean for the Project Manager?

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This post is for you Project Managers / Program Managers / PMOs out there, or to be more generic people focused on orchestrating the successful on time delivery of commitments to customers. I will use “Project Manager” in this post just for the sake of simplicity.

If you are a Project Manager, you might have a couple of questions about Kanban:

  • How does Kanban and its Flow-based delivery model help me do my Job?
  • Assuming someone is considering using Kanban how is that going to affect my Job? Namely my ability to make promises I can keep and my ability to know what is going on and act accordingly as well as represent the current delivery picture up and to the customer?
  • Why do I care about this Kanban Method of evolutionary improvement and what does it need from me?

In the last couple of years I worked with several organizations which used Kanban in a project/release delivery environment and had the chance to help Project Managers deal with those questions. While a lot of the Kanban lore focuses on management of capabilities, I think we need to have good answers for those focusing on delivery as the lack of clear answers/knowledge in this area can impede evolution towards Flow while having the delivery/project leadership on board will help accelerate the evolution.

This is why we are creating a Project-Management focused Kanban Training offering in AgileSparks. This LKU accredited training provides the core Kanban knowledge any practitioner should have and goes way beyond it in focus on Project/Delivery management scenarios. In this training we will learn and experience:

  • The benefit of Flow-based delivery towards reduction of Risk, Planning Overhead
  • How to use Flow-based planning approaches to make commitments both for discrete deliveries as well as big projects.
  • How to track projects in a way that will visualize and drive Flow thinking WITHOUT making any change to the project delivery approach or tracking tools.
  • How to deal with scenarios such as new opportunities, changes in resources, dependencies in a Flow environment.
  • How evolutionary improvement using experiments and steady delivery on promises can coexist
  • What capabilities/parameters I as a project manager should focus on to improve my ability to deliver aggressively while honoring my commitments AND surviving healthy for the next round.
  • Sensing what is going on and what counter-measures to try in various situations

We will use scenarios and questions I and real world Project Managers had to deal with while working on Enterprise-level projects/programs, as well as your questions/scenarios!

If you are in one of the following situations, you should consider coming to one of our upcoming training workshops:

  • Your organization is considering Agile/Kanban and you want to understand what it means for you and how you can continue to deliver on your responsibilities or even do a better job at them.
  • Your organization has gone Agile/Kanban and you feel there are no real answers about Making Promises and Delivering, Planning and Tracking the Big Picture Project.
  • You feel you have a steady delivery mechanism but you are not maximizing the potential of the organization’s capabilities and want to see how to take a step forward without sacrificing the predictability and stability that you now have.

If you have questions or want to learn more you can either leave me a comment or contact us at AgileSparks.