[VIDEO] What is Kanban? From Coffee Shop to Kanban Card

What is Kanban? From Coffee Shop to Kanban Card

Episode 142 - 12 Feb 2020

Can we take what we learned in the coffee shop and apply it to our Agile/Kanban boards? Yes, we can!

At the beginning of the previous episode Our hero - the barista - was doing it all:

Taking orders, making coffee… and delivering it to the customer.

Let’s get that up on a board!

Hmmm. a bit minimal minimal.

Is there anything we can do to flesh it out a bit?

We could add a “Done” column.

And to balance things out, we could add a “To Do” column.

Which actually makes a lot of sense, especially if we consider that our coffee shop “process” extends to the front door.

The coffee shop’s “to do” list is this queue - I’ll say more about that in a second.

Three columns:Two - I’m going to make them grey- where things kinda hang around.

And one where we - we of the coffee shop OR development team - get things done. Where we ADD VALUE.

Did Dr Who feature in the first episode.?

Or was that a different Time and Relative Dimension in Space?

Strangely he did feature. In the role of an assistant of sorts.

He arrived… of the blue at the point where we chose to SPECIALISE.

Dr Who taking Orders; the barista making and delivering the coffee.

Lets get that reflected on the board:

Hmm. Now I look at this, I’m not sure that “Deliver Coffee” deserves a separate column.

But I do think it’s constitutes a rather lovely DoD for Make Coffee.

The Make Coffee step is complete, when the coffee is delivered to the customer

We tend not to put people and coffee cups on our boards so I’m going to swap them for PostIt notes.

Did I just pull a fast one?

The coffee cups - with their checkboxes - are definitely kanbans.

But what about the people in the queue?

One way we could square the circle would be to change the coffee shop: to have people pick up a cofee cup as they arrive. (are there coffee shops that work this way? Problably a hygene issue,.)

But I don’t think we need to:

All we need to do is realise that the people in the queue... are kanbans.

Think about it: they carry information about coffee selections… even though we can’t see it yet.

It’s also worth saying that the queue - or rather this To DO column - Is not only a product backlog. It’s probably the best backlog in the world. A backlog that Heiniken might have made.

Here’s why:


It’s self-limiting - when the queue extends out of the door, no one will join it

And it’s dynamic - it will respond (by either growing or shrinking) to our (speed of) actions. Even the coffee selections are dynamic!

It’s always up to date… never stale. And all without any effort on our part.