“Introducing Kanban through its values”, three years on

Exactly three years ago today I published Introducing Kanban through its values. Not only is it still (and by some considerable margin) the most popular post on this blog, it is no exaggeration to say that January 3rd 2013 was a career-changing moment for me. Suddenly, I was Kanban values guy.

By July 2013 I was pitching what was to become Kanban from the inside. My book came out in September 2014, excerpts of which you can read here in a series that starts with Transparency, the first of the nine values. Now I can add author to my bio!

In one regard, I was a little cautious. In the chapter that pulls together the main reference-able elements of the method (the Foundational Principles, Core Practices, etc), I introduced the values alongside other enabling concepts and tools with these words:

These may or may not be considered first-class components of the Kanban Method (to me they are) but they’re certainly important and helpful enough to be worth identifying here.

Happily, such caveats are no longer necessary. Published a few weeks ago, the Essential Kanban Condensed Guide by David J Anderson and Andy Carmichael gives the values early billing, even describing Kanban as a values-led method. And we’ve come full circle: the principles from which I first abstracted four of the nine values have been updated so that the correspondence is now very much more obvious. I won’t reproduce them here; instead download the guide (it’s free!) and look for understanding and customer focus in the change management and service delivery principles (these replace and augment the foundational principles and are very welcome).

With these and other signs of progress happening, how come Positive Incline been so quiet in recent months? The simple answer is Agendashift, a vehicle for tools and services supporting an opinionated (and very much values-based) framework for Lean-Agile transformation. Add founder too!

Agendashift launched this year with the values-based delivery assessment, an online tool extracted and adapted the final chapter of my book. We used the assessment as the template for a survey, publishing some key findings on InfoQ in November in a Q&A on Agendashift with Mike Burrows (questions by Ben Linders). A ‘mini edition’ of the full assessment is now the template for the 2016 survey, open to all.

Over on the Agendashift blog (more active than this one now) and our LinkedIn group (join us!) I’m still in the process of describing the framework; meanwhile in consulting work and in training workshops the 1-day Values-based change with Agendashift and Kanban and the 2-day Values-based leadership it is already being used to help characterise and properly contextualise a range of Lean-Agile transformation strategies.

In the pipeline: tools for hypothesis-driven (and of course values-based) change management to support what’s already taught in the workshops, and a third training workshop “Not just for startups focusing on user needs and customer outcomes, rounding out coverage of the framework.
That’s a very satisfying three years of work centred on Kanbans values. I hope Agendashift will provide a strong impetus for more!