Kanban Ceremonies: Strategies to Run Them Successfully

Time is a valuable resource in the workplace of any organization. When time is wasted, it’s also a waste of valuable organizational resources and your teams’ efforts. If not addressed, you could stand to lose 20-30% of your revenue due to workplace inefficiencies. Kanban ceremonies and events are designed to keep that from happening. They are designed to improve your team’s focus on specific tasks and to identify inefficiencies to improve workflow. 

Essentially, Kanban meetings are a form of lean management. Discover what this is about and how you can run Kanban meetings successfully. 

What is the Goal of Kanban Ceremonies?

The goal of Kanban ceremonies is to streamline tasks within your team by keeping track of their progress. During the meeting, certain tasks will be re-categorized based on their status of completion, or the presence of obstacles that need to be addressed. The goal is to improve the workflow so that any areas that need improvement are addressed properly and timely. 

In this activity, any inefficiency in the workflow process will either be replaced or tweaked. The necessary steps taken will be based on the analysis of the obstacles and the rate of progress for the project. 

While it might seem complex, the whole idea of Kanban meetings is to simplify the entire workflow. During the meeting, tasks will be categorized into one of three:

  • To-Do
  • In Progress
  • Completed

With this taken care of, everyone in your team will be on the same page. This will help to minimize any obstacles along the way so that you can progress without any hiccups. 

Types of Kanban Meetings for a Kanban team

Kanban meetings have the sole intent of expediting team workflows and improving efficiency. With this goal in mind, there are several types of Kanban meetings that are designed to address the different needs of your organization. Whether you need to give the team a quick update or you need to discuss a complex issue, there is a meeting format designed for this purpose.

1. Daily Stand-up Meeting

These are held daily and typically last for 15 minutes per session. They are quick and efficient and called such because they are held with everyone standing. The purpose of these meetings is to answer the following questions:

  • How is work flowing?
  • Is something impeding us?
  • How can we improve?

The purpose is to plan ahead for the day’s tasks and to prepare strategies for the immediate future. This meeting pays special attention to stalled projects or potential bottlenecks. 

types of kanban meetings

2. Replenishment Meeting

Replenishment meetings are held weekly for an average of 30 minutes per session. The purpose of these meetings is to single out the backlogs in the Kanban board. The whole idea is to ensure that there is a seamless flow of tasks and no backlogs that can drag the team down on its way to progress. 

A backlog management solution is discussed along with a quick check on small or large tasks that need to be replenished.

3. Service Delivery

This type of Kanban meeting is held twice a week for 30 minutes each session. The sole purpose of this meeting is to check with the team’s progress and to ensure client satisfaction in the delivery of the team output. There is also an added layer of benefit to this: it builds customer trust by directly addressing their concerns. 

For this reason, this meeting typically involves the customer (client) and some representatives of the service delivery team. These meetings are also a great opportunity to assess if team targets are met.

4. Delivery Planning

This meeting is held per delivery cadence and takes roughly 1 to 2 hours per session. Not all tasks or output can be delivered to the client immediately upon completion, hence, this meeting is conducted in order to do final checks before the team output is delivered to the client. Setting a realistic and achievable delivery date is a crucial part of this planning process.

5. Risk Review

The Risk Review is held monthly for 1-2 hours per session. As the name implies, the purpose of this meeting is to assess and mitigate risks within an organization that can impede delivery of work output or completion of projects within the designated delivery date. Past and present failures must be evaluated to plan for the future as well.

6. Operations Review

This is also held monthly for at least 2 hours per session. It specifically looks into the operations and processes in place that can slow the team down, inhibiting its ability to meet delivery dates. By looking at the big picture, it allows the team to analyze the current workflow to figure out where improvements can be made.

7. Strategy Review

This Kanban meeting can be conducted quarterly and typically lasts for half a day. It is one of the most important Kanban ceremonies because it looks at your project management as a whole. It is the perfect opportunity to review current strategies and the accompanying results. If team targets are not met, actionable insights and strategies must be devised to ensure that the goals are satisfied. 

tips to running Kanban ceremonies

Tips to Running Kanban Ceremonies Successfully

Kanban ceremonies and events are designed to increase efficiency with your team workflow. That is why it is equally important to plan how to conduct these ceremonies or meetings for maximum results. 

  • Be on time. Kanban meetings are all about improving time management and maximizing productivity and efficiency. You can start with that by showing up to your meetings on time. Start the meeting at the agreed time to minimize disruptions at work.
  • Keep it short. Kanban meetings should be short and concise. You need to get to the agenda immediately so that you can get up to speed with each project and avoid any disruptions to your team’s productivity. 
  • Focus on backlogs. The primary goal of Kanban meetings is to get the team moving forward with the project completion. Tasks that are taking longer than expected to complete–whether for uncontrollable reasons or not–should be given highest priority in Kanban meetings. The team must collectively come up with solutions to the obstacles that have led to project delays.
  • Come to the meetings prepared. If you are going to present any reports about the project that you are working on, make sure to prepare the documents and other presentation aids that you need to show to the rest of the team. This will facilitate a seamless flow in the meeting and avoid any unnecessary delays while making sure that you stay on-topic.
  • Be specific. Kanban meetings are short because they are designed to focus on one agenda at a time. Stick to that agenda and avoid discussing bigger issues that must be addressed at another time.
  • Discuss not report. All attendees in the Kanban meetings must actively participate in the discussion of the project progress and status. No one should be tasked merely to present information; an open discussion is encouraged.
  • Respect everyone. While you want to keep your Kanban meetings as short as possible, do not rush anyone. Give everyone the time necessary for them to share updates about the project without being interrupted or rushed. 

Kanban ceremonies are a powerful tool that boost your team’s ability to assess current workflows and work out any kinks. Staying focused on each meeting is vital to facilitate speedy completion of projects and to make sure that you stay on track.