Kanban Predictions for 2019

The end of 2018 approaches and we can’t help but think about what awaits us in 2019. Recently, we published an infographic showing the trends for Scrum and Kanban in numbers. Now, we decided to gather some expert opinions on what shall we expect to happen for Kanban during the next year.

Let’s go briefly to the important things that happened in 2018, so we can base our expectations on solid ground. As part of the Kanban overview, we have listed four main events:

  1. Firstly, beyond doubt, there is the birth of the Kanban Maturity Model. The meaning of this event has affected the whole future of Kanban in various ways. It combines all the practices and defines 7 levels of organizational maturity that help companies and consultants assess the situation and draw a path for further improvement. Developed by David Anderson and Teodora Bozheva, this concept will yet transform the Kanban world and expand its implications.
  2. In the very end of 2017, another meaningful work was published – “Fit for Purpose: How Modern Businesses Find, Satisfy, & Keep Customers” by David Anderson and Alexei Zheglov. We surely felt its impact throughout 2018, as there was a strong emphasis on customer-centric approaches and the F4P framework in the community.
  3. We have also witnessed an increase in numbers of people using only Kanban vs those preferring Scrum only. According to a report by Scrum Alliance, State of Scrum 2018 – only 16% do pure Scrum and 60% do only Kanban. 78% do a mixture of methods to manage their work. This trend is proof of an assumption that teams starting with Scrum, on a later stage discover that Kanban allows them to do more with less.
  4. Last but not least, one small step of Kanbanize, one big step for the Kanban world – we have witnessed more customers who are transitioning from a physical board to a digital tool. This means that more teams are ready to advance further in their Kanban journey, that they have more requirements and are more knowledgeable.

Now, let’s see how some of the Kanban experts would comment on the development of Kanban during the next year. Let’s read their predictions and see which will turn out to be true!

We’re starting with David J Anderson – the pioneer of the Kanban Method for software development. As one of the most influential figures in the community, he outlines the main turning points according to him in 2019:

  • The opening of the new David J Anderson School of Management Europe in Bilbao in February 2019
  • The launch of KMM 1.0 in May 2019 along with the KMMX Leadership Practices and KMMX Coaching Practices extensions as well as the accompanying 2nd edition of the KMM book
  • January 2019 Launch of the new Advanced-Kanban Management Professional (A-KMP) credential for existing KMPs completing the 3-day KMM training focused on the KMMX Coaching Practices
  • February 2019 launch of the new 2-day Fit For Purpose training focused on strategic planning, marketing, product management, and service design.

Moreover, besides the training related news, he shares insights on the future strategy of Lean Kanban University and the development of the Kanban Maturity Model and Fit for Purpose.

  • Throughout 2019 continued growth of the LKU network of training partners, and a broader set of translations of our publications including translations of Fit For Purpose and Kanban Maturity Model.
  • You can also expect to see a new website and some changes to our branding during the first half of 2019.
  • More traction with analyst firms such as Gartner and Forrester increasing their coverage and mentions of Kanban and Fit For Purpose.
  • We also hope to announce some significant partnerships to bring KMM and Kanban training to a much broader corporate audience globally.

Klaus Leopold, Managing Partner at LEANability, Accredited Kanban Trainer, Author, and Keynote Speaker, sees two major topics coming up for us in 2019:

1) I am fully convinced that agility will continue to expand in the direction of business. By this I don’t mean that business teams become agile – that would be local suboptimization and that should be avoided as far as possible. I believe that the value chain from the idea to the impact is closed more and more and that the work is managed across teams and disciplines with boards. So agile interactions between teams are established instead of building cross-functional team silos. A classic application for Flight Level 2 systems.

2) I am also convinced that a lot will happen when it comes to portfolio and strategy. I assume that “strategy silo” will be further reduced and that strategy and execution will grow together much further.

Colleen Johnson is a Director Adaptive Agile Practice at ImagineX Consulting and an active member of the Lean/Agile community.

“In 2019, we will see Kanban embraced as the simple, adaptive alternative to Scrum. Kanban will offer organizations a way to pull together orphaned agile practices to provide visibility, predictably and flexibility without the overhead of slow, prescriptive scaling frameworks.

The Kanban Method will be adopted at team, portfolio and enterprise levels to remedy the growing disdain for unrealistic pace, false estimations, and constantly changing priorities that cause stress and frustration for our teams. Kanban will be sought out as an elegant way to introduce lean/agile practices to non-software delivery teams. Kanban will provide organizations the ability to leverage agile practices that fit their needs and adapt over time to the changing demands of their business. And lastly, we will stop referring to Trello as a Kanban system :)”

Jerónimo Palacios is one of the most influential figures in the Lean/Agile community in Spain. He’s a Professional Scrum Trainer, Accredited Kanban Trainer,  an Agile Coach, speaker, and founder of Jeronimo Palacios and Associates S.L. 

“It is difficult to actually predict how a method, a framework or a way of work is going to impact the world of work. Over the last few years, the Kanban Method has been gaining traction, especially among those disappointed with the stiffness of other alternatives. Flowing around the work and provoking changes gradually is deeply embedded in the heart of Kanban. That’s a good thing. However, most implementations I see in organizations are still at the team level or protokanban.

Being realistic, I believe that in 2019, Kanban will keep gaining traction and evolving those protokanban and team initiatives into real service-oriented pull systems. We’ll start seeing more enterprise adoptions of Kanban, KMM and Enterprise Services Planning in leading organizations. And finally, we’ll probably evolve the old conversation Scrum vs Kanban and instead see more joint adoptions of flow systems on Scrum Teams, which fits great on the Kanban principles.”

In addition, here are some insightful forecasts from our very own team at Kanbanize as Kanban software provider. Let’s see how our experts see Kanban in action during the next year!

Dimitar Karaivanov, CEO of Kanbanize, shares his forecast regarding the innovation expected in Kanban tools for 2019:

“Ten years back it was innovation to just visualize your work, today its table stakes. It won’t take long for the current trends to go mainstream (linking work across the hierarchy, using Kanban on the portfolio level, flow metrics, automation).

2019 will mark the beginning of the next-generation Kanban software. It will be based on machine learning algorithms that will help managers to forecast more accurately with less effort. On top of that, the next-generation software will give instant feedback to the teams, so that they know how each everyday decision affects flow on the local and the global levels.

Another area where software will develop is to support more and more of the KMM practices. Kanbanize, in particular, will cover all practices, so that professional implementation is guaranteed.”

Looking from his perspective of a Chief Customer Operative for Kanbanize, Biser Ivanov shares:

“The trend of our new customers over the past year hitting toward 2019 confirms a shift in the needs of the end users. They changed from a simple Kanban Visual layer that everyone has now, to a more sophisticated approach with a focus on 2 major areas:

1) The Kanban applied for Teams has a more and more in-depth understanding of the flow and how to be better applied. We talk now about the efficiency of the flow, min WIP Limits, Capacity Allocation, Up-stream Kanban and so on.

2) As the ESP emerged in 2016-2017, the KMM being defined in 2018, I would expect in 2019 and probably 2020, to further develop the Kanban Method, so it could be applied for whole organizations covering not just the most Agile ready units like Manufacturing, Construction, Software Engineering and IT, but get more verticals and scale across Marketing, Admin, Procurement, Sales and more.”

Alexander Novkov, Content Lead at Kanbanize:

“I believe that the Kanban method will become even more widely-adopted by remote teams. I see a couple of reasons for this to happen.

1) Kanban technology is advancing rapidly. Remote teams are no longer limited to simple actions like creating and moving cards across a digital board. This allows a far more advanced interaction between team members spread across the globe.

2) There is far more clarity how to scale Kanban from a personal to a company-wide implementation. Since the arrival of the Kanban Maturity Model, it is very easy to see the steps ahead of you and how you need to grow in order to make the most of Kanban.”

To wrap up …

It seems that during 2019 we will see more and more mature Kanban implementations, more educated Kanban practitioners and hopefully as Jeronimo states, we will see a productive collaboration between Scrum and Kanban instead of continuing the rivalry. We hope that all these wonderful predictions come true and even exceed our expectations.

With the opening of the new EU headquarters of David Anderson School of Management in Bilbao this January, there will be more opportunities for coaches and managers to get trained and certified. We’re also expecting the new book by Mike Burrows – Left to Right: The digital leader’s guide to Lean and Agile. We can’t wait to add the new work by Klaus Leopold to our library – Rethinking Agile, which will be available in just a few weeks. 

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