Kanban Service Maturity Assessment

Kanban method by LeanKanban describes an organization as an ecosystem of interconnected services. For instance, an HR department could be implementing several services: payroll, recruitment, onboarding, etc.

A service could be implemented by one team or several. For instance, if your service is to deliver software and you are not fully cross-functional end-to-end, you can have several teams working together in order to deliver a product.

I’m not going to discuss here if that’s agile or not. I’m not going there. Two of the foundational principles of Kanban are start with what you do now and agree to pursue improvement through evolutionary change. So, if you need to have several teams in order to deliver a piece of working software, let it be.

When you have several services running on Kanban you’d like to know how well they are doing. If you are doing real Kanban or you just have some stickers on the wall or proto-Kanban. You might also be interested in knowing if your Kanban adoption is producing changes at an organizational level.

I’m sharing with you version 2.0 of the Kanban Service Maturity Assessment, which serves as a true north for services to assess how far they are from the Kanban Nirvana as well as to create a shared understanding of current situation and agree on next steps.

This assessment is already an evolution and you can use it for free. What I’d like is that you provide me with any feedback, comments or recommendations, so we can evolve it to version 3.0.

Description of the assessment

The assessment consists of 9 sections:

  1. Section 1 – You select your service name. You will have to edit it to include your own teams or services
  2. Sections 2 to 6 represent the six core Kanban practices: visualize, limit wip, manage flow, explicit policies, feedback loops and improvement
  3. Section 8 – service and organizational effects of Kanban adoption, which is an adaptation of Kanban Litmus Test
  4. Section 9 – Fitness for Purpose. To what extent the Service is servicing customer expectations

Usage recommendations

  • Please, create a copy on your own Google Drive. Don’t modify the original. Although comments on the original are very welcome.
  • This assessment is not for you as manager or coach to do on your own. I’d recommend that you go through it with the services and use it as an improvement mechanism. You can think of it as an Improvement Kata without naming it. You understand your final destination, you grasp your current condition and evolve forward.
  • Although most of the questions are explained, first session will take one or two hours in order to complete the assessment with the service.
  • I’d run it monthly and analyze patterns. Specially those organizational patterns that are hindering agility

I hope you find it useful.

Please, share any comments or feedback.


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