Two-row Kanban board for measuring VSM waste
Problem to solve
Issue boards are great. But people want rows, not just columns. But before diving into arbitrary number of rows, or rose, some kind of arbitrary maze of different sized boxes, let's consider the simple two-row Kanban board, and specifically how that kind of board can help us measure the value stream in terms of time spent delivering value and time spent on waste.
In Kanban boards, there's columns representing various stages of the workflow, but there's often also two rows, one for doing the work, and the other for when work in a stage is done, and it's waiting to be picked up in the next stage of the workflow. It's actually ambiguous whether "value" work should be on the top and "done and waiting for next stage" goes on the bottom, or the opposite way where the input queue is on the top, and the bottom is for when work is actually happening. Both have their benefits. At any rate, on top of the increased granularity such visuals provide, this ties in with value stream management in a couple ways. First off, by explicitly modeling waiting time you can more easily measure wasted time, report on it, and ultimately optimize against it. Of course, these wait times could just be additional columns in between work columns, and they'd fit fine on existing issue boards. But then there's another principle of VSM which is that value moves from left to right, and waste is visualized as offshoots from that golden path. This seems to fit well with the traditional Kanban board then, where the waste is explicitly "down".
- Optionally support two rows on issue boards, one for value and one for waiting (or waste).
- Somehow make that work with labels...
What does success look like, and how can we measure that?
- People use Kanban boards with VSM to get increased insights into their workflow, resulting in optimizations that wouldn't be possible or easy otherwise.