Kanban Communication

I know what you’re thinking – another meeting? There is nothing though that improves communication in a project: A meeting even more so then a Kanban board. Any team working toward a common goal will benefit because this practice will improve your communications.

The biggest resistance in meetings are because they’re poorly run. Daily scrum meetings are an integral part of the scrum methodology. The meetings last for 15 minutes, occasionally longer, but provide just enough time to address problems and allow time to define solutions. Important part of having an effective meeting is to realize that maybe you’re not look at solving and offering a solution to the problem, it is about raising them.

Daily scrum meeting effectively answers these three questions:

  1. What have you done since the last meeting?
  2. What will you do between now and the next meeting?
  3. What got in your way of doing work?

The daily meeting is not a design session and should not turn into a working session. Don’t discuss design or start to solve a problem. The meeting informs the team leader giving them direct information on what they can do to improve the productivity of the team. Meetings are for creating awareness, and if you want to solve the problem immediately suggest, anyone who’s interested should hang around afterward.

Patrick Lencioni is one of my favorite authors. One of his books, Death by Meeting: A Leadership Fable…About Solving the Most Painful Problem in Business (J-B Lencioni Series)advocates the structure of a daily check in. He says the keys to make it successful are don’t sit down, keep it administrative and don’t cancel when someone can’t be there. It is important to share the news. I highly recommend the book and the outline of the four different types of meetings he discusses: Daily, Weekly Tactical, Monthly Strategic, and Quarterly Review.

Having frequent short meetings simply keeps everyone on track. Sharing daily activities and schedules allows you to not operate in a vacuum and the knowledge of a team is always more powerful than the knowledge of an individual. .

BTW: Short Meetings are easier to manage and make interesting. Improve your communications – Start holding meeting but do it front of the Team Kanban Board.

Listen to a tip from Patrick about improving team communication:

P.S. Patrick’s book is great in audio: Death by Meeting: A Leadership Fable

Being on the Kanban path took me back to thinking about the 4 Disciplines of Execution by Franklin Covey. This training is one of the best workshops I have ever attended and overall some of the best training I have ever received. It is staggering some of the numbers that they quote such as:

What is happening in your organization?

    1. How many people on your work team know the organization’s most important goals? 58%
    2. How many people on your team know how they’re doing on those goals? 35%
    3. How many people know exactly what they are supposed to do to help achieve the organization’s most important goals? 54%
    4. Does your team consistently plan together to achieve their most important goals? 47%

This is a video preview of Store 334, a video featured in FranklinCovey’s Leadership and Execution workshops. Grocery Store 334 had its share of troubles. When manager Jim Dixon got everyone clear on the store goal, he thought his work was done. But only when everyone was accountable for the goal and empowered to make decisions did things start to change. To learn more please visit: http://www.franklincovey.com/.

The premise of the 4 Disciplines of Execution are…

    1. Discipline 1: Focus on the Wildly Important – Human beings are wired to do only one thing at a time with excellence. The more we narrow our focus, the greater the chance of achieving our goals with excellence. Discuss what must be done or nothing else will matter. Using a tool called the Importance Screen, learn how so identity and narrow all of the possible goals down to 2 or 3 critical things that must be done with excellence. Learn how to create a ” line of sight” from your goals to the company goals.
    2. Discipline 2: Create a Compelling Scoreboard – People play differently when they’re keeping score. Work through a process of identifying specific measures for those goals that have been identified in Discipline 1. Understand the difference between “leading” and “lagging” indicators. Using a tool called the Measurement Builder, create a team “scoreboard” that informs and motivates everyone contributing to the achievement of the goal(s}.
    3. Discipline 3: Translate Lofty Goals into Specific Actions – To achieve goals you’ve never achieved before, you need to start doing things you’ve never done before. Using an entrepreneurial model, challenge the group to identify new behaviors that will result in new (better) outcomes. Learn the methods for finding the best behaviors by identifying where they might already exist in your or other’s organizations, or by brainstorming and then creating the best behaviors that don’t currently exist anywhere. These new behaviors are then translated in to very specific activities on a weekly basis which, when completed, will help to achieve the larger team goals.
    4. Discipline 4: Hold Each Other Accountable – All of the Time – Knowing others are counting on you raises your level of commitment. Understand where you and your team are on the “scale of commitment” regarding the goal, and what you can do to increase the level of commitment to the goal. Address the actual practice to be used (WIG Session) in keeping the team engaged and focused on the top goals. Focus on four critical elements of this process; 1. Meeting is about the WIG’s, 2. “Triage” Reporting. 3. Finding 3rd Alternatives, 4. Clearing the Path for each other.

My reason for reviewing these principles is it simply made a great outline for creating a Kanban and the daily meeting. The team scoreboard became the Kanban board, the daily meeting focused on the WIG and held everyone accountable and the Goals were the Stories broken down into story points and further into the specific actions. This outline for me provided clarity when taking a marketing function or campaign and converting to a Value Stream and eventually to a Kanban or maybe even a Scrumban.

Bottom line is start with the CD, The 4 Disciplines of Execution (Revised Edition): The Secret to Getting Things Done, On Time, With Excellence.

And as Jim Benson would say of Personal Kanban:

There are only two real rules with Personal Kanban:

  1. Visualize your work
  2. Limit your work-in-progress

Many organizations would say not at all. Others believe they do, but really don’t know. A few will say very well, but I would believe these really, really don’t know. Why since they are so intertwined do they not work well? A few reasons:

  1. Marketers are typically introverts and Sales are extroverts.
  2. Marketers deal with the future, Sales with the present.
  3. Marketers think about the big picture, Sales close a sale.
  4. Marketers seldom get credit, Sales gets all the credit.
  5. Marketers really don’t do anything, Sales work their tail off.
  6. Marketers wonder why Sales don’t work the leads.
  7. Sales wonder why Marketers give them such crap leads.
  8. Marketers wonder why they have to do everything to get a sale.
  9. Sales wonder why they have no support.

No wonder they don’t like each other. However, I think I have an answer. In Lean Product development Eric Reiss believes that you need both a programming and customer development team. My idea is to make the marketers like the programmers and sales like the customer development team. My post on the subject, Receiving Better Response Rates thru Agile displays the diagram of the interrelationship that must be developed and elaborates on their roles.

But the bottom line is that they have to start building trust. They have to break down the dysfunctional aspect that exist between the two. They have to build Trust. Who better to explain this than one of my favorite authors Patrick Lencioni? In this short video, Patrick pinpoints the issue of group behavior in the final book of his popular corporate fables trilogy. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable tells a story and teaches lessons about using leadership to inspire real teamwork.

Patrick has a complete Five Dysfunctions of a Team Workshop Deluxe Facilitator’s Guide Package that is outstanding and can be a great start for not only sales and marketing but your entire organization.