Kanban is Like an Oreo Cookie

Kanban is like an Oreo Cookie: Dark Crunchy Control on the outside, but Sweet White Goodness (collaboration, cultivation and craftsmanship) on the inside!

Dark Crunchy Control

In an earlier post, I wrote about how Kanban aligns with Control Culture and argued that for companies with Control Culture it will likely be a better approach than Scrum or XP. (Of course there are alternatives described in Ways to Make Progress with Culture Gaps.)

Needless to say I got a lot of flak over this. No one in our community wants to be associated with Control Culture. Agile has been pushing so hard against this for so long that people have an emotional response akin to when a Jedi Knight goes over to the Dark Side of the Force.

Nobody wants their baby called ugly. And linking to Control culture feels like just that.

OREO COOKIE to the rescue!

Yes, on the outside Kanban aligns with Control culture. It is made of dark, rigid, structured material. Looks like Control, tastes like control. Fits in with local culture and practices.

Sweet White Goodness

But wait! What’s this inside the cookie? The inside is a bright, soft, flexible material. Why this is all the Agile/Systems Thinking/Lean goodness!

These cookies are not just crunchy, they can filled with collaboration, cultivation and craftsmanship. OMG, Kanban is a Gateway Drug to Agile.

There are many documented cases of teams spontaneously collaborating, of learning, and of noticing problems and investing in technical practices. This has been my experience as well.

There is nothing wrong with starting from control as long as we never loose sight of our mission of helping companies and bringing joy to work.

Rejoice in the Differences!

So, from my perspective, calling Kanban Control on the outside is a huge complement and competitive advantage. Kanban allows many companies that could never undertake Scrum to use Kanban to make a positive difference.

Many thanks to various commentators (Paul Boos, Paul Beckford, Michael Spayd, and Sabine Canditt) and to Jeff Anderson for sparking this concept over lunch.

Michael K Sahota guides and teaches leaders how to create high-performance organizations. He is the creator of a proven system for leading change through a practical playbook. His model for Consciously Approaching Agile guides the creation of a cultural and leadership context where Agile creates lasting organizational results. Michael has taught over 1000 leaders worldwide through his highly acclaimed “Agile” Culture & Leadership Training. His company, Agilitrix, delivers “Agile Transformation- Redefined” with an elite team of consultants who specialize in unlocking Culture.

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