Analog tools in a digital world

One of my clients performed a huge improvement initiative for change management in the spring. The aim was to increase the throughput of completed change requests from the business to align with the higher frequency of new business demands.

To make a long story short, they made a value stream of the processes; Business relationship management, Change management, Service design and Release management. The stream consisted of twelve workstations with defined input, output and policies for each step.

When they reached the empowerment part in the project we got the idea to do an old school analog Kanban board to show progress of all changes going through the IT-department. And WOW! The effect that brought to the project. The board become the center of attention, everyone could get a quick overview in a second, and bottlenecks were easy identified and fixed.

I realized that it wasn’t the actual board that did the trick, it was the visibility. Digital Kanban boards is easy to use and have lots of advantages, but to get that direct visibility and daily attention, I don´t think we would have got that with a digital one.

The result were three big advantages from using a analog board:

  1. Everyone become interested, and by that learned the stream.
  2. The overview, so easy to meet in from of the board, and prioritize your resources where it makes the most value right now.
  3. And the basic rule for automation, we got to try the flow before automating it in some advanced tool.

So, don´t underestimate the power of a simple whiteboard with some tape and sticky notes. Analog Kanban boards are not only for developers making sprints. Try it to visualize one of your most congested processes, you will be surprised with the effect.

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  1. Per Liljenberg

    I don´t know if it´s us you´re refering to, but we still use our “analog” kanban for
    visualisation of all activities that demands resources from the organization. It´s a
    great help to monitor the daily activities and planning for what´s to come.