A Kanban Team and Their Contracts with Partners

One very important property in Kanban is called “make process policies explicit”. This includes well-defined interfaces to upstream as well as downstream partners. Kanban tries to define these interfaces on a very abstract level, because Kanban is a change management approach that wants to integrate with several possible project management approaches without making assumptions about them.

From software development, we know that it is good to describe the behavior of an interface as a form of contract between client and service, using example scenarios and assertions, deliberate discovery, Behavior-Driven-Development (BDD), Test-Driven Development TDD, Design by Contract, whatever. Can this be done with process policies in Kanban, too?

In this session, I’d like to discuss questions like these:
* How does the business know which services the team can offer – especially if they know them only recently or if the team has just formed?
* How does the team know what they have to offer? Are people conscious of their own skills and are they determined to offer them to partners?
* It is possible to quantify the services mentioned in the contract? Which metrics are useful, and which will only lead to confusion?

What the session is like and what you can take away: In a short presentation, I will challenge the usual expectations on a team, as described in literature or on the Net. I also ask whether teams typically agree to think about their interfaces. My proposition is that thinking in terms of contracts can help to improve a team’s services over an extended period of time. Both business and team can earn value from this:
* Business knows what to expect so that they can develop trust in the team.
* Team gets a clear understanding which services they want to offer. They can become proud of their skills and can thrive to improve their services further.
* Team becomes aware that they are not alone but that they depend on further contracts (e.g. with domain experts or operations personnel).
* Team and their partners can learn to understand themselves as a system where everyone shares responsibility for success.

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