If the customer does not have their own way of tracking defects to resolution, invite them to your virtual Kanban board and let them see the way your team tracks it.

Less often, the customer has their own defect reporting system and that they require you to use. In these circumstances, it can help to create a Kanban defect card for each of the customer’s change requests or defects reported so your team can still visually track the defect resolution to closure.

Even if you have used your own defect tracking software before, you may still want to put a Kanban card for each defect on the visual board.

This puts all the data the team needs on the Kanban board for their daily standup resource allocation decisions about who will pull which cards to work them. If the team sees a large queue of defect cards, they can start fixing them and moving the cards to the customer validation queue.

Even if you retain your original defect tracker app, the visual card helps keep the workload visible. Our experience is that the customer notices when we fix an issue from the prior iteration, and they don’t have to continue to worry if we’ll fix that for them. It builds the customer’s trust in your development team.

Some training development team members initially complain about having to create so many Kanban defect cards/sticky notes. It provides a good opportunity to discuss why so many defects were reported by the customer at the last iteration demo and how can we do better going forward. It also provides a teaching moment to coach the team on why we track defect demand, a lean waste, separately from value demand.

Again, alternatively consider using 25%, 50% and 75% columns for defect progress with a single defect card per iteration traveling through them. As long as your solution makes defect demand visible, use what works best in your context.

Jeff Sutherland talks about one car company being compared to Toyota. He said the other car company made so much defect rework that Toyota could build another car in the time it took the other car company to fix the rework they made. His example points out the competitive impact of Lean-Agile on your team. Even if you don’t compete for business, you compete for annual budget, perhaps as a cost center. Be able to help your boss tell a good story to the executive team.


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