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Kanban alphabet soup

4 min read

Tameflow, Scrum with Kanban, the Kanban Method, Kanban – the Flow Strategy, Kanplexity, Enterprise Flow, Flight Levels, Vanguard Method, and Paddy Irish Man walk into a bar. The barwoman says “what do you want?”

Tameflow says “I wonder if your service work is the constraint, but crack on taking our orders and let’s see what the cycle times per process step say. If your work is the constraint then we need your taps to be in full flow and let’s make sure you finished serving the current customer before your take my order; at the same time let’s form a buffer here so you’re kept busy. And don’t mind those other methods at the tables, they make so much noise but they don’t know what they’re talking about”.


Scrum with Kanban says “our goal is to optimize happy hour, so we’ll have six vodka & red bull please, and we might order one or two more if we see capacity before the next round of drinks, as long as we don’t compromise our goal… Who let Tameflow in?”.


The Kanban Method says “two Mohitos and a large proto-beer please, and can you stop doing the orders in batch?; instead, serve one customer at a time, it will be faster that way, but maybe you can expedite my order first as I’m the chosen one.”


Kanban – the Flow Strategy says “still water please -- why don’t you allow people to enter your orders on a machine like in McDonald's, and then you can deal with one order at a time? I don’t like it when people you like get preferential treatment, Paddy Irish Man over there looks like he has been waiting here for ages”. The barwoman raises her eyes, knowing the Agile tables are where the money is.


Kanplexity says “Scotch please -- what’s your service level expectation given it looks like Paddy Irish Man over there has a huge order also. I hope you’re calm and focused with time to chat with clients about what needs to be improved. I’m not all about touch time and wait time you know! You need to figure out a way to discover new customers. As Russell Ackoff said, “if you do the wrong thing righter you’re wronger." "Anyhow, I made add Lean UX in the next release, if Safey can do it, I can."


WIPLimits, the manager of the bar says to the barwoman “you’re not in my team if you limit to processing one drink at a time, there is no value until each order is delivered, collaborate if you need to”.


Enterprise Flow says “tap water is fine please, and can you visualize all the orders on a massive screen so I can see all the other stuff going on also including what’s keeping the lights on, and then I might have an idea when I’ll be served? Have you seen WIPLimits anywhere? What do you mean you’re not looking for customer-micro-niches? Some customers might want to buy one sip at a time. Have you stopped to think for even 20 minutes in the whole year?”


Flight Levels says “Alpine sparkling for me please thank you. But can you visualize the order details, as well as the order summaries per bar-person, and the order summaries for the entire bar? What’s the point in you being fast when the beer kegs aren’t being refreshed on time, we need to optimize the flow of the drinks in the bar, so Paddy Irish Man chills a little and only orders one drink at a time. And tell those Agile folks across the bar they’re so bloody Agile, they can have a round of drinks on me to commiserate for how they’re feeling about their zero impact. And tell them they need air traffic control. And tell KFS that WIP is work in process not work in progress.”


Vanguard Method says “ hey mate, I’ve been studying your bar; you’ve gotta stop serving bad Guinness, the complaining customers are taking up the bar space so people can’t get their 1st orders in. Take the time it takes so it takes less time, whoever is left at the bar when you’re done, ask them what they want next. Don’t mind what Scrum with Kanban says, I say get rid of backlogs as they’re just queues.”


Paddy Irishman says. “five Guinness, five Jagermeister shots, five Captain Morgans cos I heard the bar is closing in an hour, give me the shots now while I’m waiting, and don’t even dream of taking the drinks back after closing time or I’ll send Tameflow over to you to switch the bar to 24 hours with smooth handover between shifts, and zero time for chatting with Kanban nerds. And for goodness sake have the Guinness ready before I even think of ordering next time.”


Later in the night, Tameflow gets her fever chart and starts calling Scrum with Kanban “Scum”. KFS is arguing that the Kanban Method about principles and values, as soul-less KFS doesn’t have any. Flight Levels is behind the bar having a go at keeping everyone happy and no one is happy as the executives aren't fixing problems. The Agile folks start painting the bar with “Scrum”, even Paddy Irishman is getting painted and he wouldn’t know a backlog if it hit it him on the head. Cynefin walks in and says who is right and who is wrong. He doesn’t explain why. Kanplexity is tolerated by Cynefin for today at least, as her work is at least attributed. But no one really knows who Kanplexity is. So Paddy Irish Man and his buddies are happy to get painted. Except the Agile folks seem to have mixed water-based paint and oil-based paint and it doesn’t look good. Vanguard Method says to the Agile guys, I knew it, you’re just making stuff up”.


"Am I the only mature one around here?" aks the Kanban Method rhetorically. - social and podcast links - order training from right here

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