Collaborative Aid: Element #10 of the Kanban

Jim BensonExpert, Primers1 Comment

collaboration kanban“Hey Tonianne, I see you’ve pulled the ‘Strike sheet for Kaizen Camp’ ticket. I took some notes from our meeting the other day, they are in the ‘Kaizen Clean Up’ mind map. Just take a look at that, it should be almost everything you need.”

“Thank you Jim, it is such a pleasure to work with a helpful, conscientious, and wickedly funny man as yourself.”

We seldom work alone.

Our best work is done through collaboration.

The kanban’s strength here is unprecedented. Since the board is broadcasting in real-time, help also arrives in real-time.

Of course, while it would be great if I were all those things the not-so-realistic reply from Tonianne states, we all naturally tend to provide simple assistance when it is easy to do so. The assistance I provided to Toni in the above exchange took me only seconds to provide – so it was very easy.

However, the results are stunning. I leveraged my previous work, she saved a few hours of re-inventing the wheel. In the end, the ticket moved much faster.

Only because I knew what she had pulled when she pulled it.

When I talk about collaboration, people like to bring up the recent book “Quiet” which talks about how we should make room for introverts. A prominent point in the book is that society tends to focus on collaboration, while introverts like to work alone.

After 25 years of working on projects of all sizes, I can safely say that introverts make the best collaborators.

And here’s why.

Collaboration does not mean working together as a group 100% of the time while talking non-stop and demanding constant feedback and decision making.

Webster’s definition is simply this: to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor

You cannot work for a company and work alone. Everything we do in an organization is in concert with others. If we are doing something and someone else is doing something and we know about it and we put those pieces together later to make a whole – that is collaboration.

I built my initial mind-map, Toni is writing a document, we had a very brief – but universally beneficial – exchange where I shared some information with her. We are collaborating.

To be sure, there are more intense forms of collaboration. We can also see on the image above that Toni and I are both working on the AAR for a client. In that project, we are pair writing. We will both be in the document writing at the same time and talking or otherwise communicating while doing it.

But for this post, I want to focus on that simple, human courtesy. I notice you have pulled work, I have helpful information, I give you that information, and we both move on.

If a team understands in real-time what the other team members are doing, these exchanges become common, rapid, and even anticipated. The time savings is enormous.

This is #10 in a 13 part series on the elements of kanban, read them all!

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Jim BensonCollaborative Aid: Element #10 of the Kanban

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