6 Most Common Kanban Myths

In this post I am going to bust the 6 Most Common Kanban Myths. There are many misconceptions if we talk about Kanban and these might come from old references online, stories from dinosaurs in the workplace or all other Agile Frameworks being promoted.

Kanban Method is a non-disruptive method for managing Evolutionary Change and used with the Kanban Maturity Model it is the most successful way to evolve organizational maturity.

Myth 1: Isn’t Kanban Just a Board?

Kanban is a method that allows you to manage knowledge work. It uses principles and practices that guide you in managing and improving work with the help of Kanban boards that allow you to visualize your work and its flow, and Kanban Systems that control the work in progress to ensure work flows smoothly.

Kanban Board

Myth 2: Kanban is just for co-located teams

Large organizations are using Kanban with thousands of employees, enterprise wide, including many remote offices. Kanban University offers a roadmap for improving enterprise agility based on the Kanban Maturity Model. Unlike early agile methods Kanban does not require teams to be co-located it is focused on connecting organizational services rather than teams. 

Myth 3: Kanban is only for IT or Software Development

Kanban works for all professional services, which are organizations that produce work that is NOT a physical item. The delivered work might be digital or it might be a service. Organizations using Kanban include: education, legal, sales, marketing, HR, design, media, film production, military, customer support, financial, research, insurance, government agencies, and many more.

Kanban in Business

Myth 4: Kanban relies on wishful thinking

Kanban is big on measurement, validation, and facts about actual performance. The Kanban Method incorporates the scientific method. When a problem or deficiency is detected, an experiment can be tried through a deliberate process. Most importantly, with Kanban we acknowledge the current reality (including problems) without finger-pointing and instead focus on how the entire system can improve.

Kanban is big on measurement, validation and facts

Myth 5: Implementing Kanban requires abrupt or disruptive change

Kanban is a non-disruptive method for managing evolutionary change. Fundamental to the method is the ability to make incremental changes starting with what you are doing now. Making smaller incremental changes protects the overall system from risk and ensures improvements are actually being made by analyzing the results in isolation with each change. It also gives the possibility to easily rollback to where an organization was without any additional costs or disruption that is inherent in other change methodes.

Evolutionary Change

Myth 6: You have to choose between Kanban and Scrum

The most common misconception I’ve found is that people think you have to choose between Kanban and Scrum. This questions is being asked and answered all over the internet right now. Of course, it is a misconception, because the two are not incompatible.

Kanban can be applied to a Waterfall project. If there is work flowing through a system, Kanban can be applied. There’s nothing that says it has to be “Agile” or “Scrum” – or not!

From my experience as both a PST-Candidate for Scrum.org and Accredited Kanban Trainer for Kanban University, helping a lot of teams and individuals in both the Scrum Framework and the Kanban Method you don’t need to choose both are complimentary towards each other in a great way!

Scrum and Kanban

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