Agile Kanban in Ministry

In this article, author is talking about the Agile Kanban practice which can be applied in Ministry and improve the deliverable of the Ministries.


Kanban is a new technique for managing the process in a highly efficient way. Kanban underpins Toyota's "just-in-time" (JIT) production system. Although managing ministerial work is a creative and sometime complicated activity and therefore different to mass-producing so creating a pipeline cars, the underlying mechanism for managing the production line can still be applied.

    When I look at Kanban with open mind I simply understand one thing that it provides a pipeline where requests entering at one end and completed requests getting delivered at other end. The pipeline internally have different kind of processes to make sure that requests gets delivered in a better way.

    PipeLine Effect:
        It simply restricts the flow, wider the pipeline bigger the throughput.
    Working of Ministry:
        As per my analysis I found that every ministry have set of tasks, task may have some dependency, new task get added, priority of tasks get changed, task may be declared void, task implementer (minister) may get changed, etc. so in general task may or may not be complex in nature but due to current process it looks pretty complicated and not visible to public.


How Kanban fits in Ministry?

        creating Kanban board:
            We can create a kanban board (soft copy) to helps people visualize and optimize workload, work time, and constant improvement. Below columns can be placed on board:
                | ToDo | Analysis (10) | Budgeting (10) | Approval (10) | Tender (20) | Implementation (20) | Acceptance (10) | Done (n) | Hurdle (10) |
            Now each column will have WIP (work in progress) and Done except ToDo and Done column. we can limit the number for each column so creating a pipeline.

        Applying kanban principals:
            we are limiting the WIP which reveals the bottlenecks so we can address them.
            Stop Starting and Start Finishing:
                It may sound simple but it need more attention and value of flow. Pipeline make sure that we cant't violate the limit before pushing the current tasks ahead, i.e. towards finishing the task. So ministries will start delivering faster and visible to public, as many of the works are getting started but status of the work is unknown to ministry.                

            i) Start with what you know:
                    No need to waste resources for setup, simply start where you stand, since miinistries follow pretty much planned works but if anything new which is truly urgent we can start with known facts and as learned can be improved.

            ii) Agree to pursue incremental, evolutionary change:
                    Baby steps are always recommended as it gives confidence to a baby that he/she can walk and will be hurt less. Ministries are following the old trend so evolutonary changes must be in slow speed and incremental.

            iii) Respect the current process, roles, responsibilities & titles:
                    Many of existing processes, roles, responsibilities & titles must get respect if they are adding value and worth preserving. Ministries are having so many existing process, roles, responsibilities & titles which may remain with proven statement.

            iv) Encourage acts of leadership at all levels:
                    Kanban advocates that no one should be leader and ministries there are several roles but it must be avoided and they should understand the public-servant philosphy. They are altogether responsible to deliver the works to public.
        Kanban properties:       
            i) Visualize the workflow
            ii) Limit WIP
            iii) Manage flow
            iv) Make Process Policies Explicit
            v)  Improve Collaboratively (using models & the scientific method)