Kanban training and what comes with it?

Rita Goodbody
Sep 20 · 4 min read

It was absolutely the best training that I ever had. I didn’t have many, but usually, it would last months and you finish and you feel like wow, ok, so what did I learn again? This was DIFFERENT. It was Kanban training #KMP1 and #KMP2. When I saw the venue and I was walking through the building I was already feeling — wow! Are they expecting queen?! I entered the room and it was usual set up — monitor, some boards to draw on, but the table was covered in sharpies and sticky notes and extra papers where you can capture the information you need. Everything was provided what possibly you could imagine when you go for a course. Well, actually this time it was beyond my imagination!

I thought it will be dry course with some info to take, a book to read and slides to look at. I probably could count how many times we actually looked at slides and it was the best thing possible. The course was so interactive and everyone was involved. Absolutely every single person. It was more valuable to listen and share your thoughts than any other books or slides. We all came with similar experience and we all came with similar questions so we had a shared understanding of what do we need to take away from this.

First day in the afternoon we started to play this Kanban simulation game where we acted as a development team, accepted work, planned a little and tried to deliver. I was very pleased it was a simulation and not real life! We get lost in the day to day tasks and needs. We hear people screaming and wanting for more without thinking about how this can be achieved. I was coming with a little experience what Kanban is and still slipped into a trap to take on MORE! We ended up with bottlenecks and problems and soon after starting we been blocked and lost. It was good fun, but in reality that would cost us a lot of money.. LESS is MORE — it was so easy to understand after applying Kanban practices. The work FLOWS when you let it flow. When you become predictable. That does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of effort and understanding across all organization to become aligned and understand where you are heading. It was POWERFUL and all I could think off was how come this wasn’t/isn’t obvious in our day to day lives? How come we resist to change and try something new?

Well. The very simple answer to this is — we are afraid/uncomfortable of change. Most of us are working in uncertain and complex situations so adding more change just makes us feel vulnerable. I was again amazed by how much we covered in terms of psychology and people. We are all usually using emotions rather than logical approach even though I thought I was logical enough when you ask those 5 why questions or what about — you realized that at the end of the day, we are all very emotional and resistant in changing anything around us. And it is OK. So instead of trying to get to nirvana yesterday, do small steps and get there slowly, but steady. Get there as a team. You are not alone, and the last thing you want to feel at work is constant stress.

It was interesting to cover flow efficiency and see other companies success or failure and how that evolved. It was really useful to cover metrics and understand so what the hell do we do with that estimation?! It was really good to talk and be surrounded by people who come from different places, but yet you feel you understand each other better than your friends when you talk about work and share your frustrations.

When I came back and people asked so how was it? At first, I had so much that I wanted to say that I said probably less and not very clear how much it was useful and enjoyable. Jose all that time challenged us and asked questions and lead us to answers that deep inside we knew, but needed a little help to find them. It wasn’t a dry Kanban course where you go through main practices and that is it. He was giving his absolute 120% extra to go that hard and difficult way, but the way that will stay with us for a very long time and that hopefully we will be able to take this forward in our organizations. And I can’t stress my point enough to say that if you didn’t yet go on any course, but you are looking to become more agile and have a better understanding on product, leadership, delivery, if you want to put your pieces together — go and have that course now, don’t waste your time anymore.

I am very pleased that @makingnovastone sent me to this and I will be thankful a lot of those guys and especially Sam Lewis. I am looking forward to calming my thoughts down and actually start to plan this and put this in practice. Going SLOW actually makes you much FASTER and that is the approach I want to take. We are not far away and we already to some Proto Kanban so that does make me feel better. There is no need to force anything onto people as it just makes it worse, but instead need to take the opportunity for people to find themselves, find their issues and want to act on them. I am not here to tell people what to do, I am here to find out together as a team what are our flaws and how to overcome them. Exciting!!!

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