During my talk at AgileCE I mentioned three things as biggest Kanban boosters in our case:
One of comments I heard about this part was: “Pawel, these things aren’t Kanban-related – they would work in any environment.”
Well, I’ve never said they’re exclusive for Kanban. My point is: Kanban is pretty simple approach – it really tells you to do just a few simple things leaving most of other aspects open. This means you may (and should) use some help from other techniques/practices which set additional constraints or organize other areas of your process. And boosters I mentioned work exactly this way.
Co-location allows you to keep your Kanban process as simple as possible. You don’t need to use any software to visualize current state of the project – old-school, hardware whiteboard is enough. It also helps to exchange information between team members which is always important but with minimal formal information exchange in place it plays even more crucial role.
No-meeting culture brings us “do it now” attitude and saves a lot of time usually wasted on meetings. And we discuss different things more often than we would otherwise because launching a discussion is totally easy: you just start talking.
Best engineering practices help us to keep the code quality under control. That’s a thing which is basically omitted by Kanban itself so you need other tools to deal with it.
Now, you can perfectly take your Scrum (or whatever kind of) team and use the same techniques and it would most likely work. Oh, it would as long as your team isn’t too big (co-location and no-meeting culture don’t scale up very well) and you don’t have a list of engineering practices enforced by your approach anyway (like in XP).
So no, these concepts aren’t exclusive to Kanban. They just work in specific environments. Yours either fit or not. It doesn’t really matter if your process name starts with S or K or X or P or whichever letter sponsors your day.
After all when I think about Kanban I don’t isolate the method from the rest of our environment – that would be stupid. If Kanban works for us it is because the whole setup is good enough, not just its Kanban part. And these boosters are a part of the story.
Read the whole Kanban Story.