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What Is a Case Study?
When you’re performing research as part of your job or for a school assignment, you’ll probably come across case studies that help you to learn more about the topic at hand. But what is a case study and why are they helpful? Read on to learn all about case studies.
Deep Dive into a Topic
At face value, a case study is a deep dive into a topic. Case studies can be found in many fields, particularly across the social sciences and medicine. When you conduct a case study, you create a body of research based on an inquiry and related data from analysis of a group, individual or controlled research environment.
As a researcher, you can benefit from the analysis of case studies similar to inquiries you’re currently studying. Researchers often rely on case studies to answer questions that basic information and standard diagnostics cannot address.
Study a Pattern
One of the main objectives of a case study is to find a pattern that answers whatever the initial inquiry seeks to find. This might be a question about why college students are prone to certain eating habits or what mental health problems afflict house fire survivors. The researcher then collects data, either through observation or data research, and starts connecting the dots to find underlying behaviors or impacts of the sample group’s behavior.
During the study period, the researcher gathers evidence to back the observed patterns and future claims that’ll be derived from the data. Since case studies are usually presented in the professional environment, it’s not enough to simply have a theory and observational notes to back up a claim. Instead, the researcher must provide evidence to support the body of study and the resulting conclusions.
As the study progresses, the researcher develops a solid case to present to peers or a governing body. Case study presentation is important because it legitimizes the body of research and opens the findings to a broader analysis that may end up drawing a conclusion that’s more true to the data than what one or two researchers might establish. The presentation might be formal or casual, depending on the case study itself.
Once the body of research is established, it’s time to draw conclusions from the case study. As with all social sciences studies, conclusions from one researcher shouldn’t necessarily be taken as gospel, but they’re helpful for advancing the body of knowledge in a given field. For that purpose, they’re an invaluable way of gathering new material and presenting ideas that others in the field can learn from and expand upon.
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Kanban Case Study
By Gerard Chiva
September 20, 2020
In this Kanban Case Study we explain one of our success stories with Kanban adoption.
We’d like to show you how we achieved significant improvements with just a few interventions from our expert Kanban consultants .
This Kanban Case Study is just a small part of a full scale Kanban adoption for a telecommunications organization.
We’d like to show the results for one of the teams after just three months of implementing our Kanban Team Kickstart program.
Note: in the charts that you will see from Kanbanize analytics there is an elapsed time of five months, however bear in mind that between mid March 2020 until end of May 2020 we were in lock-down in Spain due to COVID-19 pandemia and the client halted the kanban rollout until they could adapt to remote work. The project was resumed in June, so in reality we achieved these outcomes in only three months!.
So, let’s get started.
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- Client: Telecommunications infrastructure and service provider
- The client contacts Aktia Solutions so that we can help them improve their service quality and capability, as well as change their mindset and culture
- Initial 6-month project to roll out Kanban in six teams and at the project portfolio level
We typically start our interventions with a discovery process in order to understand the context, to meet all the people involved and to make sure we don’t miss something important.
If you want more details on how to get started with Kanban you can check this article .
They main action lines of this project were:
- Initial Assessment
- Lean and Kanban Fundamentals Training for everybody involved, including all senior and middle management
- Kanban Team Kickstart program which begins with a Kanban System Design workshop for every team
- Lean Portfolio Management : we tend to believe that the bottleneck is usually at the top of the bottle . That’s the reason we always introduce and coach the organization into Lean Portfolio Management principles and practices
- Lean Change Management : Supporting the organization in managing the change. To ensure the success of the initiative and the necessary change of mentality, it is essential to create a leadership team.
For this setup we just needed one of our expert Kanban Consultants partially involved with all the teams, supporting the overall change process and coaching at the portfolio level.
We don’t deploy full-time Scrum Masters or Agile Coaches as our approach is always to help leadership and coaching emerge within the organization.
This client was not a software company, so they didn’t have previous experience with Agile or Kanban .
The situation we found was a typical one: overburdening, unclear direction, poor demand management, frequent change of priorities, multitasking, unpredictability, low productivity, low quality and long lead times.
So, the opportunity for improvement was great.
We agreed to begin the project with six teams: four network administration teams, one architecture team and a systems team.
Following one of the principles of Kanban , we agreed to start from where teams were and promote sustainable, incremental and iterative change.
The first team we started working with right before COVID lock down was one of the network administration teams.
The team was composed by a Project Manager and four network administrators.
If we have the opportunity during the initial assessment we gather some baseline metrics in order to demonstrate improvement thanks to our intervention. However, in this case there weren’t any.
We got started by designing a basic kanban system and implementing it on our favorite tool: Kanbanize .
As this organization was already partially distributed we needed a proper tool like Kanbanize. We couldn’t rely on physical boards or JIRA.
We also introduced a basic Daily Kanban Meeting and Replenishment Meeting . And we performed a continuous improvement meeting every two weeks.
For those of you already wondering, we don’t typically introduce Service Delivery Review meetings until 4th or 5th month working with a team.
After the initial Kanban System Design workshop, participating in a few Daily Kanban Meetings and six two-hour improvement sessions we delivered the following improvements:
- 25% reduction of Delivery Time (Cycle Time)
- 33% WIP reduction, which means less overload, less multitasking and better quality
- Duplication of Productivity (Throughput)
Those are just the results for 5 days of full dedication to one team distributed across three months.
In, essence what we want to show you with this Kanban Case Study is that with a few expert interventions you can make huge improvement and save lots of money.
Let’s take a look at the results in more detail.
The dashboard shows the overall metrics from the day we started working with Kanbanize.
This is just a summary and we must read it carefully as it could be misleading because the first screenshoot includes the whole period of 5 months whilst the second includes only the work started after 1st of July, which is when the improvement started to be noticed.
Take a look at the percentile 85% of Cycle Time (Top Left Corner) and the improvement on WIP Age.
Cycle Time Improvement
In the following Cycle Time Scatterplot we can see both an improvement in Throughput and a reduction in Cycle Time dispersion, which also means and improvement in predictability.
From beginning of July you can see the trend in the cycle time to accumulate below 40 days, and as we enter August the trend is consistent.
In the following chart we can see the reduction in percentile 85% of Cycle Time from 47 days to 35 days, which represents 25%.
In the second chart the tail is longer, but that’s due to the old items which had been aging in the system for a long time. We can consider those outliers as we can see the distribution getting more packed to the left.
What this Kanban Case Study shows is that we can quickly improve predictability in a system and begin to provide more accurate answers to the question “By when will it be done?”
As a consequence of reduced cycle time and WIP we experience also significant improvement in productivity (Throughput).
This actually means a duplication of productivity. In case you can’t believe that, we ran a Montecarlo Simulation taking the initial period as input and another simulation taking the second period as input.
This Kanban Case Study demonstrates that duplicating productivity can be achieved in as little as three months, with just a few interventions of our expert Kanban Consultants.
We started to introduce WIP Limits slowly as system liquidity was low, due to specialization.
Besides, there were some team members partially working for other teams. We can see an evolution of WIP going from 30-40 to 20-30.
Cumulative Flow Diagram
In the following chart we can appreciate a significant improvement in the Cumulative Flow Diagram from beginning of July.
Summary of Kanban Case Study
With just a few days and little disruption our Kanban Consultants can achieve significant improvement for your organization.
This Kanban Case Study demonstrates that in order to achieve improved business agility you don’t need a battalion of full-time Agile Coaches and Scrum Masters in your organization.
We can achieve more with less.
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What is the Kanban Method?
The kanban method infographic, frequently asked questions.
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What is the kanban method.
Team Kanban Practitioner (TKP) – 1 day class The basics of Kanban to enable a team to get started.
Kanban System Design (KSD) – 2 day class* The core Kanban practices to design and evolve a Kanban system.
Kanban Systems Improvement (KSI) – 2 day class* Manage and evolve a Kanban initiative. Scale beyond the team level.
*The KMP credential is granted upon completion of both Kanban System Design and Kanban Systems Improvement courses.
Since its inception, the Kanban Method developed and matured as an effective approach for organizations to achieve greater business agility. It has been applied across a spectrum of sectors in organizations ranging from startups to large multinational corporations.
The Kanban Method can be applied at 3 levels: with Teams to develop sustainable practices, by Managers to improve their ability to provide products and services, and by entire Organizations to develop responsive enterprises that can navigate an increasingly changing market. While the Kanban Method is appropriate in all 3 areas, its biggest benefits are realized
at and beyond Management. For this reason it is appropriately referred to as a Management Method .
The Kanban Method is not a replacement for a current framework or process. Rather it works with any existing process or framework and takes an evolutionary approach to improving what is already in place.
The Kanban Method seeks to achieve balance between (customer) Demands and (business) Capabilities. In organizations where this balance is off, it is typical to see examples of an overworked and unproductive workforce, poor quality, unpredictable results, late deliveries, no time for innovation, and missed opportunities.
The Kanban Method gives you the ability to re-balance the equation by leveraging numerous techniques to help shape demand and improve capability. It doesn’t prescribe any mandatory practices, but has greater results in companies where leadership is encouraged and employees across the organization are motivated to solve problems and put in the work to do so.
THE KANBAN METHOD IN 5 KEY CONCEPTS
Agility is the ability to match the pace demanded by your market. The more frequently your market changes, the more agile you may need to be. The Kanban Method helps you maximize your agility by offering approaches to:
- Starting work
- Speed of delivery
- Consistency of delivery
- Frequency of delivery
Improved Predictability through Flow
There are many ways in which our work can get stuck: dependencies on others, rework, unclear needs, interruptions, and bottlenecks to name a few. These delays introduce risk to your ability to provide predictable and reliable products and services. The Kanban Method provides techniques to manage flow, remove delays, and get risks under control.
Service Delivery Commitment
The Kanban Method allows you to manage your capabilities so that you can make promises that you can keep.
With Kanban you can effectively measure your service, judge the impact of changes you introduce, and use data to effectively predict your delivery capabilities.
Knowledge Work is largely intangible. Kanban uses visual models such as boards and metrics to “unhide” work in progress.
This creates visibility into status and a single point of truth for collaboration.
A Culture of Respect & Leadership
In many companies, the structure of the organization prevents people from reaching their full potential; the Kanban Method effectively reveals these pain points. Armed with greater appreciation of your organization’s challenges and the means to do something about it, the Kanban Method encourages participation throughout your workforce to lead change. It is done in an evolutionary way, starting with what you do now, to avoid change resistance and introducing unmanaged risks to your organization.
THE KANBAN METHOD
1. START WITH WHAT YOU DO NOW
- Understanding current processes, as actually practiced
- Respecting existing roles, responsibilities & job titles
2. GAIN AGREEMENT to pursue improvement through evolutionary change
3. ENCOURAGE ACTS OF LEADERSHIP at all levels
SERVICE DELIVERY PRINCIPLES
1. UNDERSTAND AND FOCUS
on the customer’s needs and expectations
2. MANAGE THE WORK
let workers self-organize around it
3. REGULARLY REVIEW THE NETWORK
and its policies to improve outcomes
LIMIT WORK IN PROGRESS
Show work and its flow. Visualize risks. Build a visual model that reflects how you work.
Stop starting, start finishing! Left yields to right. Limit work in the system to available capacity. Data-driven.
Flow is the movement of work. Manage flow to be smooth and predictable. Use data.
MAKE POLICIES EXPLICIT
ESTABLISH FEEDBACK LOOPS
Have agreed policies, visible to everyone involved.
- Pull Criteria
- Classes of Service
- And others as appropriate
Establish feedback loops at an appropriate cadence. Foster collaboration, learning, and improvements. Data-driven.
EVOLVE EXPERIMENTALLY Using the scientific method. Hypothesis-driven change. Run safe-to-fail experiments.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
We currently use an Agile framework, such as Scrum. Do we need to stop?
No. The Kanban Method is not a framework, and so it does not compete with Scrum or any other Agile framework or process. One of its principles is “Start With What You Do Now”, whether that is Scrum, Waterfall, or something else entirely. It respects your current process and simply gives you additional tools to evolve your existing process to improve over time.
We don’t need continuous delivery – we release every 2 weeks / 2 months / 2 years. Is Kanban right for us?
The Kanban Method does not prescribe that you deliver continuously – you can batch your deliveries at whatever cadence is appropriate for your business. The Kanban Method will, however, help reveal what delivery cadence is appropriate for your business and allow you to make adjustments to support it.
Do I need to go through a big Agile or Digital transformation to use Kanban?
The principle “Start With What You Do Now” is intended to avoid installing large forced changes. The Kanban Method respects how you work today, and helps organizations evolve at a pace compatible with their goals and risk tolerance. In many instances it can begin with one manager introducing the method in one service and expanding from there.
Do we need a “Kanban Board” in order to apply the Kanban Method?
The Kanban Method is used primarily in Knowledge Work where the work is intangible or “invisible”. The Kanban Method introduces the concept of a model to make this work visible and, in doing so, creates a platform to manage it. A “traditional board” is not always required and, in some cases, is inappropriate. For instance: a help desk service with thousands of requests a day may be better off implementing their model through their service management application of choice.
Do I have to apply all the practices to do Kanban correctly?
There is no minimum set of practices to be doing Kanban; rather the Kanban Method considers this to be a maturity continuum. You are doing Kanban as soon as you’ve built a model with the intent to apply the method! Over time, your Kanban implementation should evolve to further maturity, solving for more of your business challenges.
Is there certified training on the Kanban Method?
Kanban University develops high-quality certified Kanban classes taught by Accredited Kanban Trainers (AKT) across the globe. Training is available for Team Members, Coaches, Managers, and Executives.
Is the Kanban Method most effective within teams?
The Kanban Method can help teams with their practices, allowing for more sustainability and reliability. The method however, provides much broader benefits when applied to entire services, products, divisions or even entire organizations.
I’ve heard Kanban being referred to as a Framework or a Process; is this correct?
Frameworks are descriptions of a new process for you to follow. Frameworks might be appealing in that they can take the guess work out of designing a new process. However, they may also lead to significant organization disruption, risks, and costs without necessarily solving your business problems. The Kanban Method does not dictate to you a specific process for you to follow and so is not a framework. Rather it is a Management Method which gives you the tools needed to evolve your existing process to solve business problems specific to your capabilities and market needs.
Does Kanban work at scaling Agility across an entire organization?
The Kanban Method very elegantly scales across an entire organization by introducing Kanban in one service or product line at a time. Because the Kanban Method is not a framework, it doesn’t run into the challenges with having a canned process to deal with unknowable challenges at scale.
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Over the last couple of years Kanban has been widely adopted by software development teams. Find out what have they learned by applying Kanban to their processes, what do they see as an advantage and what are they advising against doing. Learn from their experience before you jump in.
BBC Case Study of Lean Software Development
This is an insightful case study, analyzing the intricate details of initial applying of a Kanban system to a software development. The case study was focused on a 9-people team, working for BBC Worldwide, over a 12 month period. The study encompasses every aspect of the Kanban-associated change, analyzing the boards, the daily meetings and the accompanying analysis. There is also a look at the importance of the office set-up, the display of information radiators, the right approach to work and of cooperation.
Applying Kanban to IT Processes 2: Support Team
This is a great example of applying Kanban for typical service work - a fictional helpdesk environment, where the team was staring to do Kanban from scratch. Find out how easy it was to get started and how big productivity increase was achieved through very little change and effort.
Designing a Kanban Board – Not as Simple as you Might Think
A Kanban board is not necessarily the most complicated thing under the sun, but if you’ve thought that it’s impossible to fail at creating a good one, you may have been wrong. Here is a great example of what not to do and what to keep in mind in order for the board to stay true to the actual process.
Applying Kanban to IT Processes 3: Short Term Project
In the third article in the series, Eli presents us a situation, in which Kanban is used to track the progress of a short term project while staying on top of the equipment being the project’s subject. The goal here is to manage the project and refrain from generating additional costs associated with software tracking, equipment deploying, training or doubling up the effort.
Applying Kanban to IT Processes 1: Introduction
Kanban can be applicable to many areas of IT, such as software development, technical support and development. This article opens a series on implementing Kanban and improving IT processes by using this method. Here, we’re being shown the historical and new approaches to Kanban, with special applications to many areas of IT in the later parts.
Applying Kanban to IT Processes 4: Software Development
In this Kanban example you will learn how a small development company working in a B2B and B2C sectors modified their current processes and started making significant improvements. Their aims were to provide better visibility and measurement. Learn why establishing valuable measurements, regular revisions and constant improvement is crucial for achieving your business goals.
Our First Kanban Board for IT Operations and Support
This case study showed the implementation of Kanban method at a web development company, that provides wide range of services for large academic publishers. Kanban was adapted by a three-people support team, that was facing numerous problems, particularly tasks sizes varied from couple minutes to several weeks. The team created a blank magnetic Kanban board with cards and set a WIP limit. After a short time, the team members observed significant improvements in task orientation and process visibility.
Applying Kanban to IT Processes 5: Kaizen
In the last article of this series, Eli Weinstock-Herman discusses some of the most popular issues with Kanban implementation and brings the concept of continuous improvement closer to our understanding.
Kanban in Software Development 1: Introduction
Whether you’re a Scrum, XP, Waterfall or any other Agile method’s fan – you’ll be sure to agree, that the one goal of using a visual board is radiating the information onto the team. Meaning – making sure that each team member knows where exactly in the process a task is, how much work is still left to be done, what’s in progress and what has been completed. What makes Kanban different though?
Kanban in Software Development 2: Queues & Limits
Software development teams usually have multiple stages to complete before the software is ready, from requirement analysis and planning, design, implementation and finally testing and maintenance. In this, second, part of Derick’s journey of Kanban introduction to his team, he brings us closer to the splitting up of a process to make it represent the actual work better.
Kanban in Software Development 3: Stage Notifications
Have you ever heard of a software development pipeline? Did you experience problems with communicating to your team members the status of your current tasks in the middle of the process? This article answers your questions about how will you know when work in one column is done and ready to be pulled into the next one. Simple and helpful.
Lean and Kanban for Game Developers
It’s common for game development teams to start the process with Scrum and in later stages switch to Waterfall, ending up with a combination of the two. Clinton Keith wants to introduce the ideas of Lean and Kanban to this situation. There is the possibility to improve such processes with Lean, without abandoning Agile practices.
Why Kanban Suits DevOps so Well?
If you’re running a relatively small team, but your process is built of many steps, it’s clearly impossible to assign one person to one type of work only. Your team is forced to divide their time into different types of work, and this in turn puts an additional strain on the workflow. Find out how Kanban can provide help in such situations and learn of the two basic steps required for its implementation.
3 years of Kanban at Sandvik IT: The Story of an Improvement Journey
This is probably one of the most inspiring stories of Kanban implementation you have ever read. It has all started at Sandvik AB in 2009, with three people who wanted to increase their delivery capability. Today, Kanban method is present in more than 60 of Sandvik’s teams.
How We Mixed Scrum & Kanban to Get the Job Done
After reading Henrik Kniberg’s book “Lean from the Trenches”, Bart Vermijlen and his team decided to test the combination of Scrum and Kanban method for managing a new project for an international customer. In this article he describes how they got started and what they achieved by implementing Kanban board, also what were the problems along the way.
Kanban from a Trench
Kanban is a project management technique used, among others, in software development, known for facilitating good quality deliveries. Matt introduces us into some of the practices he has been using as part of Kanban, while working on the BBC Worldwide team in 2013.
Kanban at Scale – A Siemens Success Story
This case study describes Siemens HS’ switch from Scrum and XP to Kanban. As it turns out, having Agile experience and appreciation can be crucial in a company’s transition to Kanban. Through a highly dedicated, all-in approach, one Siemens group identified the problems they were having with Scrum, concluding that Kanban with WIP limits, Cumulative Flow Diagrams, and scatter plots were the answer they needed.
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Kanban Tool is a visual management solution that helps companies visualize workflow, track project progress, and analyze and significantly improve business processes. Kanban Tool provides powerful online Kanban boards with seamless time tracking and insightful analytics. Our Kanban software works perfectly in any business process and is designed for teams that want to visualize work on a Kanban board .
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Lean manufacturing case study with kanban system implementation ☆.
Lean manufacturing has been the buzzword in the area of manufacturing for past few years especially in Japan. The Kanban system is one of the manufacturing strategies for lean production with minimal inventory and reduced costs. However, the Kanban system is not being implemented widely by manufacturing companies in Malaysia. Thus, the objectives of this case study are 1) to determine how does the Kanban system works effectively in multinational organization; and 2) to identify factors hindering Malaysian small and medium enterprises (SME) from implementing Kanban. Findings of the study suggest that top management commitment, vendor participation, inventory management and quality improvement are important for Kanban deployment and towards lean manufacturing.
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Kanban case study: How leveraging Lean levelled up a team
By Nick Butler
15 June 2022
Tags : Agile
This Kanban case study shares what Boost developer Izzi Anastasiadis learnt about leveraging Lean to get more out of the Kanban framework.
In the case study, Izzi shows:
- how Kanban and Lean fit together and where they differ
- how going back to Lean first principles transformed her team’s practice
- the insights this approach triggered
- the benefits her team gained
- practical tips for getting these benefits.
The genesis of Izzi’s Kanban case study
Before joining us at Boost, Izzi was working in a Kanban team developing software. They’d been doing Kanban for a while, but it wasn’t really working. Izzi had stepped into the squad master role, so was looking for ways to improve.
She talked to an Agile guru at the company and the guidance she got was the trigger for change.
To strengthen their Kanban practice, they went back to Lean basics. As the case study shows, the results were exciting. To share what she’d learned, Izzi presented this Kanban case study to her wider team. When she shared it with us at Boost, we found it really useful, so we thought we’d put it out there for the wider world.
Kanban case study presentation
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A Kanban System Case Study
Reducing finished goods 96% with a kanban system.
A kanban system schedules the production of six people assembling industrial air cleaners from sheet metal and purchased parts. They build 15 basic units and many variations. Ten assembly cells have fixtures, tools and parts ready at all times. Each cell produces one or two basic models. One to three people can staff any cell. An adjacent warehouse holds a small finished stock of each standard model.
The charts show the data which formed the design basis. P-V analysis displays relative volume. The order analysis shows volatility and the order size profile.
The Team Leader scans incoming orders. He prepares one-time cards for large orders and customized items. The Leader sorts cards coming from the warehouse. All cards then go on a board arranged by assembly cell. Cells with cards in the red zone have priority. If necessary, additional people work an overloaded cell.
The warehouse picks standard orders from stock and sends cards to production. They combine standard items with any customized items arriving from production and ship the orders.
Inbound Kanban System
In a second phase of this project, sheet metal and welding operations moved directly adjacent to the assembly cells. They have dedicated people and equipment. The welding Team Leader examines each assembly cell for stocks of welded cabinets. He also checks the Board.
This daily checking constitutes the signal for replacement. Operators weld the necessary replacement cabinets and place them on a paint line. This replenishment is normally 24 hours. It may be as little as four hours.
The welding department stocks sheet metal components in large wiretainers. Each wiretainer has special shelves and brackets. It holds a fixed number of each item on a particular cabinet. A minimum quantity signals operators or the Team Leader to send the basket to Sheet Metal for replenishment. The sheet metal Team sets up and builds components to replenish the basket and returns it to the Welding. This normally occurs within 24 hours. Higher volume cabinets may have several identical baskets to maintain welding production during replenishment.
This complete system uses Kanban, Direct Link and Re-Order Point. A Broadcast system overlays the other systems since all team leaders have access to the final assembly Kanban board.
This kanban system eliminated 96% of finished goods inventory, simplified scheduling and eliminated losses from obsolescent product.
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