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Coaching questions for a kanban team

Kanban is easy to set up,  maintaining and improving is harder!

When I visit a kanban team, I use these questions to check they know what they are doing. They are helpful since they are not tool focused, rather verifies that there is a  tactic being used. After each question I add “please show it to me” to check it’s a working practice not a paper practice.

  • How do you prioritize?

To work on prioritized content is a human right.

  • How do you ensure you don’t work on too much?

This is what WIP limits in kanban are for. But you might have evolved to other techniques. This verified that you have a deliberate tactic how how to handle this. Maybe you simply par program every task!

  • How do you share knowledge?

Building skill quickly is the way we build capability. If there is no deliberate thought here we cannot scale.

  • How do you improve?

How do we learn about our capability over time? How do you act when if it drops? Typically lead time measurements, queue size in front of team and quality metrics are helpful here. I look to see they are fact based. Simply doing team retrospectives is not enough, we need external and capability feedback too.

  • What should be improved next?

What and why? How do we track progress of improvement activities?

Mattias Skarin

Kanban, Lean and Agile mysteries.

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