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Kanban in an IT Operations setting

A while back, I participated in a discussion about the application of Kanban in an IT Operations setting. Here are some of my thoughts on the matter:

I strongly believe there are three keywords to keep in mind when thinking about process design:

  • Practicability – What is the learning curve for using the process?
  • Repeatability – How well is the process documented?
  • Measurability – How well are we actually using the process?

The process must be simple enough that you want to use it. It should be documented well enough that someone from the outside can understand it. KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) must be well-defined, and build up under CSFs (Critical Success Factors). Finally, any cumbersome and elaborate process will not be followed, as other ways to work will be chosen and used.

Kanban, Scrum and Lean are all interesting process tools, and can all undoubtedly have a place in IT Operations, as well as in IT Development. Like Ole Kirk Christiansen, I believe that the best will do. That said, we must not let the search for perfection become the enemy of that which is good enough. If you find a tool that might work in the here and now; start using it. If it turns out not to be expedient, find something else. Above all; do not be afraid to try something out, only to see it fail. Instead; fail quickly!


  1. Good points, and a great blog!
    I believe I started the discussion you are referring to. 🙂
    Sorry to say I have not implemented anything yet – but it is nagging me.. I am a fan of failing fast ( but the fear of demotivating my stressed team by introducing something half baked has gotten the better of me. also, I would like to implement this in a way that leverages our ticket system (Supportpoint) and integrates with a Kanban board. Let me know if you think of/stumble upon anything useful!

    • Indeed you did.

      I think the key is being open about your intentions, your goals, and that it might not succeed. Treat it as a learning opportunity, and go through the lessons learned with the team.

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