When you first convert people used to tracking their own work, optimized for individual performance, to Lean-Agile, and they have to use a system like Kanban that is optimized for team performance, you may experience some resistance to change.

If your Kanban board is sticky notes with a whiteboard, people are used to dealing with physical objects like sticky notes.

If, however, you use a virtual Kanban board as we do with geographically dispersed teams, then software functionality varies and some people use those difficulties to resist the new method.

We suggest finding a virtual Kanban tool that allows moving an entire batch of work item cards in one action. For example, we have a buffer queue called "Ready for Iteration Demo" where all the work item cards go when "done". Then the next column is "Demo Done," which provides a ready queue for the next WIP column called "Fix CRs/Defects". The first time someone had to move all those virtual sticky notes one-by-one, they started complaining for all to hear. You don’t really need that on a new project that is still trying to build credibility in an organization that is not used to Lean-Agile yet. Even team members supportive of the new move to Lean-Agile will tire of moving one at a time especially if there is latency in the interaction. The transaction costs may drive them to frustration too. It is not much time, but when repeated, it adds up. Psychologically, it is like waiting for an elevator. It may not take long, but it seems longer.

So, find a Kanban tool that allows selecting all the cards in the "Ready for Iteration Demo" column and moving them all at once to the next ready queue, called "Demo Done". This provides time-stamp data for the process metrics and does not impose a high burden on team members.

Our current two favorite tools are SwiftKanban and Trello. Both allow moving all of the cards from column (SwiftKanban) or list(Trello) A to column/list B, reducing transaction waste. This is a Lean principle.


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