Kanban from the Inside: Mike Burrows has written my favorite introductory Kanban book. It introduces Kanban through the values (which we didn’t talk about, but they’re still very important) and shows how the principles and practices work together build a human-centric organization. KftI also describes some of the other models, like Lean and Theory of Constraints, that work with Kanban to provide even greater capabilities. Mike Burrows is an engaging writer and is one of the few people whose work I can recommend without reservation.
Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for your Technology Business: This is the original book written by David J. Anderson, the creator of Kanban. It is a little dated — there’s a 2nd edition coming out in spring 2021 — but it still is relevant and provides a thorough overview of the theory behind Kanban. David J. Anderson is a deep thinker and, while his writing tends to be on the dry and academic side, I appreciate his insights.
Practical Kanban: The title of this book is a perfect for what you’ll find inside. Klaus Leopold distills his considerable experience as an Accredited Kanban Consultant into a very readable guide to using Kanban professionally. The book targets KMPs — people who are practitioners and want good advice — but it is intelligible by anyone with a basic understanding of Kanban. I don’t recommend it as a first book, but certainly as a second or third.
Kanban Maturity Model: A Map to Organizational Agility, Resilience, and Reinvention: (Make sure you get the 2nd edition) There are two main failure modes of Kanban. The first occurs when some Kanban is implemented and there are some benefits — the team becomes less burdened or the amount of rework is lowered — and then improvement plateaus because things have improved. The other failure mode is when an organization tries to go too fast and implements practices that require a higher maturity level in order to be successful. The Kanban Maturity Model (KMM) helps navigate between these failure modes by showing a roadmap for continual improvement along with the characteristics of organizations at the various levels of maturity. This helps teams and organizations know that the road is long, but also shows how to add practices where appropriate.
The best, in my opinion, is David J. Anderson’s. He writes often and he’s very candid with his thoughts about Kanban, agile, and the industry.
Kanban University has a YouTube channel where many of the talks from Kanban conferences are posted. (Note, Kanban University used to be called “Lean Kanban University” so you may see references to Lean Kanban around).
Good hashtags to follow are #kanban, #kmm, #fitforpurpose.
Also, please feel free to connect with me! I’m always interested to hear about people’s experience with Kanban/agile and to help out where I can. (Link at top of document)
Kanban University, which is headed by David J. Anderson, the creator of the Kanban Method, offers a training path for people interested in using Kanban professionally. All classes are taught by Accredited Kanban Trainers (AKTs) and Kanban University makes the accreditation process rigorous, to keep quality levels high.
* Team Kanban Practitioner (TKP): This is a one day class intended to introduce people to the basic practices and principles of Kanban. This Smart Talk was thematically similar to TKP, but the class goes into much greater depth.
* Kanban System Design (KSD): This is a two day class which teaches the students how to build Kanban systems using the Systems Thinking Approach to Implementing Kanban (STATIK). The focus is on understanding customer needs, analyzing demand and capabilities, eliciting work types, and building a system that balances demand with capabilities to prevent overburdening and improve customer satisfaction. This class is one of two required classes for the Kanban Management Professional (KMP) certification.
* Kanban Systems Improvement (KSI): This is also a two day class that focuses on evolutionary change, scaling Kanban through the organization, upstream/discovery Kanban, using metrics for system improvements, and categorizing and mitigating risk. This is the second of two classes for the KMP credential. Upon completing these classes, the KMP is able to work with teams to build Kanban systems and help them implement a process for systematic improvement.
There are additional advanced classes that can be found at the Kanban University web site.