New 2014 Kanban Training Roadmap

Recent changes in Kanban training curriculum has enabled Lean Kanban University to publish the first training roadmap for those learning Kanban for use in creative knowledge worker industries. The new roadmap is illustrated by this simple kanban board...

While Introductory training is always optional and often delivered for informational purposes or to managers who simply have to understand, what this is, and why we would care about it, the Foundation class is rightly the starting place for all Kanban education.

Foundation classes are designed to teach the basics of kanban systems and the Kanban Method together with the Systems Thinking Approach to Implementing Kanban. The objective is to create the basic knowledge and skills for participants to know how to design a single service kanban system based on basic principles of balancing demand against capability, understanding work item types, classes of service, source of dissatisfaction in current service levels and capabilities, and sources of variability that disrupt the current service delivery capability. Foundation classes teach people how to get started with a single service in the organization with the intent of delivering a unit step improvement in customer and employee satisfaction from a better capability, balanced appropriately against demand.

It is recommended that practitioners get several months of experience with Kanban following the Foundation class before attending the Advanced Practitioner class. This second 2-day class is designed to teach particpants how to enable an evolutionary capability in their organization, how to enable model-driven improvements and the scientific method to management decision making, and how to scale Kanban within the organization across services in a service-oriented fashion, and up to large projects and across portfolios. There is a greater emphasis on feedback loops and how to facilitate specific feedback mechanisms such as standup meetings, system capability reviews and organization level operations reviews.

Once an experienced practitioner, those who wish to pursue Kanban as a career opportunity can choose to train as a coach or a trainer. Lean Kanban University views coaching and training skills quite separately and there are separate training paths for each. As described recently, the coaching path consists of two 3-day Kanban Coaching Professional Masterclasses in leading change and managing risk that can be taken as a single 5-day class. Together these classes provide the eductional requirement for the Kanban Coaching Professional (KCP) credential. Candidates for KCP must gain coaching experience, write up their experience in an essay and submit it to the program board for review. Those selected will then be invited for a panel interview. After successfully completing this full process they are granted the KCP designation and accepted into the community of practice for Kanban Coaching Professionals. Amonst other benefits, they will be invited to provide consultation at the "Ask a KCP" clinics at Lean Kanban conferences.

Those who prefer to pursue the training path, must complete a 5-day Train-the-trainer class. This class is designed to teach trainers how to train Kanban using the standard Lean Kanban University curriculum and with the values and principles that are inherent to the Lean Kanban University brand. This includes training with experential exercises and simulation games. People learn Kanban by actually doing it. Our training is pragmatic in nature and based on real world examples. Candidate trainers must demonstrate that they can teach sections of the curriculum and they must present a case study and demonstrate that they can illustrate educational points and learning opportunities with the case study. Nothing about Lean Kanban University training should be metaphorical or allegorical in nature. The focus is on real world examples, and pragmatic, actionable training. Candidates should leave a Lean Kanban class knowing what to do and how to do it. Trainers are taught how to teach the material such that the outcome for their students is pragmatic, actionable, learning that can be implemented the week after completing the class.

Trainers who complete the class become provisional Accredited Kanban Trainers (AKTs). During their provisional period they must co-train classes with full AKTs or in some exceptional circumstances (usually language region related) with recognized figures in the Kanban community who are not full AKTs. Once a provisionally trainer has completed at least two co-trainings and shown competence with the curriculum they become full AKTs and are free to offer either of the 2-day Foundation or Advanced Practitioner Level classes as they see fit.

Quality & Commitment

Achieving either of the Lean Kanban University professional credentials - Kanban Coaching Professional (KCP), or Accredited Kanban Trainer (AKT) is not easy. It takes time, dedication, commitment and money to develop the knowledge, experience and skills required. All of this is done to insure the quality and the standard of our training. So far the system is working. We correlate more successful outcomes with Kanban when KCPs and AKTs are involved. Many of the stories of failed to install or aborted Kanban initiatives come from situations where a KCP was not involved and many of the mistakes made were avoidable had a KCP been involved. With Kanban training that isn't from an AKT and isn't based on the Lean Kanban official curriculum, we often find shallow implementations that while appreciated by those involved, they produce only local benefits. These shallow implementations are often internally facing and did not involve forming an understanding of demand versus capability and learning to service that demand with multiple classes of service and shaping it through capacity allocation of service delivery at a given service level.

Kanban implemented properly delivers better, more agile, more adaptive, business that are fitter for purpose and delight customers. Implementing Kanban properly is more likely to happen when a Lean Kanban University professional, KCP or AKT has been involved in leading and educating your organization and its people.