Setting-up a Kanban system: the picture

I would like to share a picture that I have beeing using a lot when helping a team setup a Kanban system.

I just love good pictures. They are so direct and can help you grasp a whole context and how to act on it. Actually, a dream improvement of the A3 thinking would be to produce a A3 reports that only are big pictures, where you see and understand the background, current condition, goals, coutermeasures, etc.

The core of the picture is to support the fundamental questions a team must ask itself in order to setup a Kanban system that will ‘stick‘. In other words, to avoid waste (of time and effort for everyone involved) a team should have answer these questions before starting the setup, else it is best to delay until the questions can be answered. By the way, here you have your first target condition towards Kanban: “What is hindering us from answering these questions?“.

The picture also illustrate different basic policies that are possible to set and where/who they affect (there are certainly more possible policies depending on the team’s context).

I deliberately pictured a rather complex scenario with several customers/providers to illustrate that the replenishment of the ‘Next’ queue can be complex and require many policies. Actually, some teams require a whole workshop dedicated to setting these replenishment policies with the customers.

Fundamental Questions and Policies around a Kanban System

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