Kanban, Meeting Facilitation

A Kanban Team Retrospective Activity

ticket-kanban

Although Kanban does not prescribe retrospectives (nor any other mandatory meeting) all our Kanban teams are doing retrospectives on a regular basis. As a facilitator of a retrospective you should try to create an awareness of why things went well or not so well and let the team discuss issues that hopefully lead to improvement (“Kaizen”). The following approach describes how to review finished tasks or User Stories of the last Kanban cadence and at the same time making the Spectral Analysis Chart (SAC) more vivid (especially if a team is at war with (Kanban) metrics anyway). 🙂

The team I’m working with at the moment agreed on a 2 weeks cadence: Every other Monday we meet for a retrospective to look for improvements. We collect all items from the “Done” column before the retrospective. I write the lead time (in days) on the ticket and order them according to their lead time ascending on a board (or the wall of the conference room).

Spectral-Analysis-Chart-Retrospective-1

Then visualize where the team’s average lead time is.

Spectral-Analysis-Chart-Retrospective-2

Concentrate in the retrospective on the tasks that are above/beyond the average:

– What are the reasons for the high lead time?
– What can we do to prevent that this will happened with future tasks? Can we do something about it?

Point out to the team members that the visualization on the board (or wall) is actually a SAC, only upside down. With this approach the team members create a better understanding of a SAC (as they connect it to “real” tasks) compared to just showing them an generated chart.

Spectral-Analysis-Chart-Retrospective-3

What do you think?

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2 thoughts on “A Kanban Team Retrospective Activity

  1. Seems like a great approach to increase the awareness on the lead time in a team – I’ll definitely give it a shot later. My only concern might be if the same people are responsible for the highest lead times every time. If so, this will become very visible within the team, and it could affect the team spirit negatively. Have you experienced that?
    Btw, I wrote about a different approach to retrospectives in Kanban a while ago:
    http://hunskaar.com/using-kanban-in-retrospectives/

    1. Thanks for pointing out that there could be some blaming going on, Jørn.
      I haven’t experienced anything like that so far. But I experienced a rising responsibility of team members concerning lead time, especially in “caring” about “pending” tasks.

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