Kanban from the Inside

I was home sick, lying in bed with a bad cold. I started to read ”Kanban from the Inside” by Mike Burrows (@asplake on Twitter). The under title of the book is ”Understand the Kanban Method, connect it to what you already know, introduce it with impact”.


The book is divided into three parts:

  • Part I – Kanban Through Its Values
  • Part II – Models
  • Part III – Implementation

Mike kicks off the book with an introduction to Kanban by nine values, rather than starting with the more obvious Kanban Foundational Principles (FP:s) or Kanban Core Practices (CP:s). The nine values are: Transparency, Balance, Collaboration, Customer focus, Flow, Leadership, Understanding, Agreement and Respect. Each value is presented in its own chapter, and are mapped to the FP:s and CP:s.

Kanban – Foundational Principles

  • FP1: Start with what you do know.
  • FP2: Agree to pursue evolutionary change.
  • FP3: Initially, respect current processes, roles, responsibilities, and job titles.
  • FP4: Encourage acts of leadership at every level in your organization – from individual contributor to senior management.

Kanban – Core Practices

  • CP1: Visualize.
  • CP2: Limit Work-in-Progress (WIP).
  • CP3: Manage flow.
  • CP4: Make policies explicit.
  • CP5: Implement feedback loops.
  • CP6: Improve collaboratively, evolve experimentally (using models and the scientific method).

I like this a bit more theoretical introduction as a complement to the more ”hands on”-approaches that are present in other books about Kanban.

The second part gives some taste on Models. The ones being presented are: System Thinking, Theory of Constraints (TOC), Agile, TPS (Toyota Production System) and Lean, together with some smaller models. As it’s not in scope of the book, the models are briefly introduced but with lists of further reading for each and one of them. I find this section very interesting.

Ok, Mike have really saved the best thing for last! In part III – Implementation, STATIK (Systems Thinking Approach to Introducing Kanban) is presented. STATIK consists of six steps, and they are:

  1. Understand sources of dissatisfaction.
  2. Analyze demand and capability.
  3. Model workflow.
  4. Discover classes of service.
  5. Design Kanban systems.
  6. Roll out.

The book ends going back to the values with a check-list to understand (measure) where you are in your Kanban journey.


”Kanban from the Inside” is the most recent book about Kanban (to my knowledge). It was released on September 1, 2014. If you’re into Kanban you should definitely buy this book! I wish I’ve had it (and especially the knowledge from part III) when I implemented my first Kanban system. Not convinced? Listen to this podcast where you can here Mike Burrows talk about the book (the interview is 26:45 minutes long).

P.S. Yes I got rid of the cold, the book must have had a healing effect! 🙂 D.S.

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