Finding Flow – What are you Waiting for ?
One of the first questions I ask when I am standing at a new visualisation is, “What or who are you waiting for ? ” Because I often can’t tell, especially where teams have adopted a generic Kanban that shows ‘To Do’, ‘Busy’ and ‘Done’. The teams often fall into the trap of relaxing as they are ‘doing Kanban’, only they aren’t showing where they are in the ‘Done’ and that is part of the point – to be able to see where and why flow is sluggish and or blocked.
To get flow to flow teams need to be able to quickly see if individuals are able to work on the item today and if not, to show quickly where and what they are waiting. I like to see this as a separate column in the visualisation (either generic saying waiting or specific if there are specific places/ process or roles that work gets sent to in order to be complete).
Another option for teams who may not have shifted to a columnar, Kanban type view is to create a specific ‘waiting’, ‘blocked’ space where the work moves to and where the time spent can be monitored.
When the teams start to add columns into their Kanban that show what they are waiting for the conversations start to change and we can start to explore how to shift the work that is waiting and so shorten completion times.
How do you show the ‘waiting’ in your flow ?