Indulgences. In the Middle Ages there was the practice of indulgences, which provoked criticism of independent minds of that time, and in general has been the subject of intense debate inside the Catholic Church. The very idea that it was possible to receive absolution by paying some money for it. This discredited the church and was one of the causes of the Reformation. Indulgences became a vicious practice that gave people the right to keep their old habits without any reasons for changing.
Kanban Central Europe. Last year I attended the conference "Kanban Central Europe" in Hamburg. It was interesting to observe the participants. I concluded that the public is very different from typical public that you see at a typical Agile or Scrum conference. It was attended by representatives of big businesses, in particular the banking sector.
Why are they here? Have they truly accepted Agile values? The answer is obvious. Here, they are heartedly welcomed. Here, they find quite a comfortable atmosphere. Here, they don’t require a painful change of mindset, a paradigm shift. Their heads are not being brainwashed by Agile Values and Principles that often cause rejection and misunderstanding from the conservative part of the management. If you are an old school top manager and live with the old industrial paradigm, considering people interchangeable resources and possess a habit to control and give out orders - welcome to Kanban because it's a license to maintain the status quo. It’s an indulgence for the reason not to change.
Evolutionary method. David Anderson positions the Kanban Method as an evolutionary method that causes minimal resistance from people in the company and is self-motivating. It is people's resistance that, according to David, is a major obstacle to a successful organizational transformation. One of the basic principles of Kanban is to start with a current process regardless of what it is actually.
Kanban includes a mechanism for incremental changes with low political risk and weak resistance to change . (David Anderson, Kanban)
What does this mean in practice? Very simple. If the organizational development process is the "good old" Waterfall process, then after the introduction of Kanban nothing really changes. Waterfall remains Waterfall with one tiny change - at each of its steps Kanban is implemented. All of this looks like a system of suboptimization and also self-deception. "Now we are Agile. Yes, we do Kanban " - many will say and sigh with relief . Indeed, it was not painful . Escaped with only colored stickers and a few boards on the walls. Managers still tell people what to do and sit in their offices with expensive leather chairs.
We want revolution. Agile - a deep system of Values and Principles. It’s a mindset style. Frameworks like Scrum only implement what was laid down in the Agile Manifesto. I do not understand how you can change the mindset using the evolutionary approach. Suppose today I consider my employees resources, cogs in a well -oiled mechanism of the company. Tomorrow I introduce Kanban. So the day after tomorrow the people will be considered resources just for a bit less?
For Agile adoption you need to accept different Values and Principles. It’s a revolutionary turn. What you believed yesterday turns upside down. You have to change dramatically.
Different paradigms by their nature consist of fundamentally different concepts and ideas, often even mutually exclusive. In general, no meaningful comparison between the industrial and the Agile paradigms is possible. It requires the honesty to accept the serious flaws of the old ways. (Scrum Pocket Guide, Gunther Verheyen)
Bible and Agile. I do not like being called "Agile evangelist" and I try to avoid parallels with the Bible, but I can not give a better example. The Bible for me, first of all, is a Values Framework. Let us remember the Ten Commandments , which Moses received from God. One of them says "You shall not murder."
Now let's imagine a murderer who comes to two priests. The first the priest uses the Scrum approach, the second - the Kanban approach. I wonder what they say to the killer? Let's listen.
First priest ( Scrum ): "You know that murder is a mortal sin. Do not kill."
Second priest ( Kanban ): "Murder is bad, but I understand you and I know how much
a man is weak, how it’s hard to change, and get rid of old habits. Let’s take an evolutionary approach. Come on, starting from next week you will try to kill fewer people."
In conclusion. My mind is overwhelmed with intrusive questions. Want to see them?
- Don’t you think that the Kanban method described by David Anderson allows to maintain the status quo and gives managers the indulgence for the right not to change?
- In order to become really Agile, is it really enough to implement evolutionary change without any revolutionary steps?
- Can we say that The Kanban Method is Agile?
- Do we show our weaknesses by implementing The Kanban Method as we accept that there's nothing we can radically change for the better now?
I would be glad if you share your thoughts in the comments.