STATEOF KANBAN2021LAUNNATFIRSTROPREannbaKe#YesWPRESENTED BY
STATE OF KANBAN REPORTKey MessagesThis year's inaugural survey was a joint effort by Kanban University, Kanbanize, andSwiftKanban. The survey was sent to numerous mailing lists and promoted on socialmedia and through partner channels. Overall, we received 1,069 responses. From thesurvey we have summarized 5 key messages:1Kanban is global and across many industries.2Kanban scales, both to multiple teams and to multiple functional areas.3Kanban works, with 76% reporting Kanban to be more or much more effectivethan other methods.4Tooling matters. Tools designed for Kanban are highly recommended, whilegeneral agile tools claiming to have Kanban support fall short.5Training works. Those respondents that took training reported significantlyhigher utilization of key Kanban practices.SUMMARYSurvey Demographics (p. 5-6)Kanban Is Global. And Not Just in ITKanban is not just a North America or Europe thing; it isgrowing throughout the world. We had responses from 64countries with the largest number of responses from Brazil.Kanban is also not just for Information Technology (IT). Certainly, Software Developmentand IT represented the largest number of responses, but many other functional areas wererepresented as well.2STATE OFKANBANREPORT 2021
SUMMARYKanban Scale and Maturity (p. 7-11)Organizations of All Sizes Are Using Kanban.Kanban is used in organizations small and large. The largest groupof respondents were from organizations larger than 10,000employees. 41% of organizations were applying Kanban across 10 teams or to the whole company. This is a clear indication thatKanban is being used at scale.Usage of Kanban Practices is Maturing.Respondents are using many Kanban practices andcontinuing to mature. 42% indicated 1-3 years of Kanbanexperience, while another 42% had more than 4 yearsexperience.N ISKANBATHANMOREIES ONKCITSALLTHE WWhy Kanban? (p. 12-14)Evolutionary Change - Kanban the Great UnifierKanban is an approach to evolutionary change which “starts with what you do now.” Thestarting point for the largest number of respondents was either Scrum (44%) or Waterfall(25%). Kanban can start anywhere in an organization including areas where Scrum,Waterfall, or no clear way of working is defined and use evolutionary change principlesto improve service delivery.Reasons for Adopting KanbanThe top reasons for adopting Kanban were improved visibility, continuous improvement,and increased throughput. Not surprisingly, reported results from Kanban initiatives weresimilar, but also many saw improved alignment with business objectives.SLIFE IRBETTEWITHNKANBA3STATE OFKANBANREPORT 2021Value Proposition: Life Is Better With Kanban76% of respondents reported that Kanban was "MoreEffective" or "Much More Effective" than othermethods/frameworks that they have used. Only 1% saidit was less effective.
SUMMARYKanban Tools (p. 15-16)Tooling: Using the Right Tool Makes Kanban EasierWhile Jira was the most common tool being usedby respondents, it was not highly recommended bythose using it.SwiftKanban, Kanbanize, Kaiten, and Nave allearned high marks for their support of Kanbanimplementations and correspondingly had a highlikelihood for users to recommend the tool.Kanban Training (p. 17-18)Training Increases the Adoption and Use of Kanban PracticesA little over half of the respondents had taken a least one class from Kanban University.We checked to see if there was a correlation between taking a Kanban class and the usageof the core Kanban practices. For all of the practices there was a significantly higherusage score from the respondents that had taken training from Kanban University.STATIK(Systems ThinkingApproach toIntroducingKanban)4STATE OFKANBANREPORT gram
Survey DemographicsCOUNTRY OF ORIGIN AND SIZE OF ORGANIZATIONTop 10 Countries of OriginKanban is a global movementwith many countries 1%SOUTHAMERICAOCEANIA3%23%Size of OrganizationPercentage of Submissions30%20%10%5STATE OFKANBANREPORT 2021-1,000010,000Se lfemployed5,000-5,0001,000-1,000500-500100-10020 200%Number of EmployeesKanban is being usedby small, medium,and large businesses.This year’s surveyfound that a majorityof submissions camefrom medium andlarge businesses,with largebusinessesrepresenting morethan 25% of thesubmissions. Kanbanworks at scale.
1Survey DemographicsINDUSTRY AND FUNCTIONAL AREATop 10 Industries20%Software & ial Services5%13%18%OtherConsulting andProfessional Services(Telecommunications,Energy, Non-profit,Media.)7%Industrial 2% Education2% GovernmentKanban is well represented in many industries and not just within software and internet services.This year we saw representation from industries that included healthcare and pharmaceutical,industrial or manufacturing, insurance, government, education, and more.Likewise, Kanban has grown well beyond the IT functional area to support other knowledge workfunctions that include general operations, marketing, human resources, research anddevelopment, sales, finance and accounting, recruitment, and procurement.Top 10 Functional Areas in the Company Using KanbanSoftware DevelopmentITProduct DevelopmentEngineeringSupportGeneral OperationsMarketingHuman ResourcesR&DSales06STATE OFKANBANREPORT 20212040Percentage of Submissions*60*Respondents could choose more than one option.
Kanban Scale and MaturityMATURITY, SCALE ANDORGANIZATIONAL USAGE OF KANBANNKANBASSCALEHow Many Teams In Your Organization Practice Kanban?None3%One team10%Between 2 and 533%Between 6 and 1013% 1033%Entire company8%0%10%20%30%40%Percentage of SubmissionsPracticing the Kanban Method within an organization commonly starts at the team leveland evolves outward or upward. A majority of our respondents indicated that multipleteams were using Kanban. It is not uncommon to see an organization pilot the usage ofKanban practices within a small subset of their overall teams prior to a larger adoptioninitiative throughout the rest of the organization at scale.What Is the Level of Competency with Kanban Practices in Your Organization?Using Kanbanpracticesbut stillmaturingConsidering tostart a Kanbanimplementationinitiative4%Some pocketsof highcompetency,but theorganizationstill maturingTeams areexperimentingwith Kanbanpracticesindependently23%39%23%Percentage of Submissions74STATE OF STATE OFKANBAN KANBANREPORT 2021REPORT 2021*1% of respondents don't have plansto use Kanban.More MatureHigh level ofcompetencywithKanbanpracticesacross theorganization6%We aremasteringKanban, and itis enablingorganizationalagility andresilience4%
Kanban Scale and MaturityKANBAN TRAINING AND EXPERIENCEWhich Courses from Kanban University Have You taken?*A majority of submissions came from individuals who have taken training from KanbanUniversity on how to use the Kanban Method. A total of 569 people had taken a classfrom Kanban University compared to 500 that had not. 463 had taken the Kanban SystemDesign course and of those 372 had completed Kanban Systems Improvement course inorder to recieve the Kanban Management Professional credential.43%KSD35%KMP9%AKT16%KCPAKCPercentage of Submissions16%TKP4%*Respondents could choose more than one option.Years of Experience Using Kanban PracticesThere was a gooddistribution of experience.The largest group ofrespondents having between1 and 3 years of experienceusing the Kanban Method.41%28%17%STATE OFKANBANREPORT 202184STATE OFKANBANREPORT 20211%ISimplehave not used Kanban yet"to do-doingdone" board 1 year13%1-3 yearsPercentage of Submissions4-8 years 8 years
Kanban Scale and MaturityMATURITY, SCALE ANDORGANIZATIONAL USAGE OF KANBANWhich of the Following Boards Are the Most Similarto the Types of Boards at Your Organization?10%Percentage of SubmissionsMore Mature37%17%24%10%STATE OFKANBANREPORT 202194STATE OFKANBANREPORT 2021*2% responded "I am not sure".Simple"to do-doingdone" n boards2-tiered kanbanboardA networkof servicesOPYCT'NDORDA BOAA majority ofrespondents indicatedthat they were usingeither a 2-tiered Kanbanboard or IntermediateKanban board withswimlanes and subcolumns. 2-tieredKanban boards arecommonly found inscenarios that involve aproject managementorganization thatutilizes a portfolioKanban board incombination withupstream or deliveryKanban boards.Intermediate Kanbanboards are used byorganizations that likelyseparate their deliveryusing types of work orclasses of service.
Kanban Scale and MaturityMATURITY, SCALE ANDORGANIZATIONAL USAGEOF KANBANKANBAN IS MORE THANSTICKIES ON THE WALL.CLICK AND DISCOVER MOREApplication of Kanban PracticesMany of the Kanban practices are used regularly. The vast majority reported using adigital tool. This is not too surprising given that the survey was given during COVIDtimes. In general, there is good emphasis on flow and reducing work in progress.Respondents indicate high utilization of the following practices.ManageblockingissuesMap theworkflowWork inProgress(WIP) limitMeasureLead TimeAverage Score by PracticeImplement Service Request Manager (SRM) roleImplement Service Delivery Manager (SDM) roleEstablish service level expectations (SLEs)STATIK (Systems Thinking Approach to Introducing Kanban)Manage upstream Kanban boardKanban CadencesDefer CommitmentCumulative flow diagramsUse a physical board to visualize work itemsMeasure Lead TimeWork in Progress (WIP) limitsManage blocking issuesMap the workflowUse a digital tool to manage work items010STATE OFKANBANREPORT 20211234Scores range from 1 (never) to 5 (always)5
Kanban Scale and MaturityMATURITY, SCALE AND ORGANIZATIONALUSAGE OF KANBANHow Would You Compare Kanban to Other Methods/Frameworks that You've Used?42%More effective76%of res p onind icd e ntsa te dtha tKa nbtheanm ore M e t h od waor mu ch m seffecotive trha n p ew a ysriof worm a n a o r k in g a ndgin gw ork.34%Much more effective13%10%Somewhat the sameI am not sure1 % Less effectiveWhat Was Your Starting Point When You Began Implementing Kanban?Kanban is an approach to evolutionary change. A key message that resonates from ourbody of knowledge is “Start with what you do now” enabling Kanban to be the "greatunifier." Contrary to "frameworks" or "methodologies," Kanban is not "installed" via a"transformation." Rather it is a method for evolutionary change that occurs in smallsteps that can bring about significant, sustainable results. 44%, the largest group,started with Scrum. Kanban is an excellent approach to improving your Scrum. It shouldnever be a question of Kanban versus Scrum, but likewise Scrum is not a requiredstarting point for Kanban.44%ITHSTART WUWHAT YODO NOW25%11STATE OFKANBANREPORT 2021SCRUM21%WATERFALL UNKNOWN2%2%1%SAFeXPCMMiPercentage of Submissions*5% responded "Other".
1Why Kanban?KANBANADOPTIONWhat Were Your Main Reasons for Adopting Kanban?Improve Visibility of WorkContinuous ImprovementIncrease Delivery Speed / ThroughputImprove Lead TimeImprove Responsiveness to Business NeedsWHATTHEYDWANTEImprove Predictability or Reduce RiskReduce WasteImprove QualityManage at ScaleReduce CostOthers020406080Percentage of Submissions*What Have You Seen as a Result of Your Kanban Initiative? Main Benefits of Adopting KanbanIncreased Visibility of FlowImproved Delivery Speed / ThroughputAlignment between Business Objectives,Key Results, and Delivery WorkImproved PredictabilityImproved Ability to ManageScale and DependenciesWHATTHEYGOTImproved QualityIncreased Customer SatisfactionImproved Risk ManagementDecreased Project Management CostOther012STATE OFKANBANREPORT 202120406080Percentage of Submissions**Respondents could choose more than one option.
1Why Kanban?KANBAN IMPLEMENTATION WITHIN COMPANIESWhere Have Your Kanban Implementation Initiatives Seen the StrongestOrganizational Support?IndividualTeamMembersManager /LeadProject /ProgramManagers52%45%ProductManager /Owner35%29%Executive(CEO /Owner)InternalKanbanTrainers /PractitionersBusinessAnalysts22%21%8%Percentage of Submissions*What Are the Challenges You Have Experienced with Adopting Kanban?Lack of Skills / Experience with KanbanOrganizational Resistance to ChangeInconsistent Processes and Practices AcrossTeamsTeam ResistanceFragmented Tooling and MeasurementsLack of InvolvementLack of Management SupportDifficulties of Mapping the Natureof our Work to a Kanban SystemMinimal Collaboration and Knowledge SharingRegulatory Compliance or Government IssuesNoneOther013STATE OFKANBANREPORT 20211020304050Percentage of Submissions**Respondents could choose more than one option.
1Why Kanban?KANBAN ADOPTIONDo You Plan to Expand Your KanbanImplementation in the Next 12 Months?49%YES, within thesame and otherfunctional areas36%Adoption and use of the KanbanMethod practices is growingwithin organizations. More than85% of respondents indicated thattheir organizations intend toexpand their adoption within thenext 12 months.YES, within thesame functionalareas15%NOIn Which Functional Areas Do You Plan to Expand Your Kanban Implementation?Product DevelopmentSoftware DevelopmentGeneral OperationsMarketingNKANBAS THESORCAPRISEENTERHuman ResourcesITSalesEngineeringFinance / AccountingRecruitmentR&DProcurementOther014STATE OFKANBANREPORT 20211020Percentage of Submissions3040*Respondents could choose more than one option.
Kanban ToolsTOOLINGThe three most used tools included AtlassianJira, Kanbanize, and Digité SwiftKanban. WhileJira was the most used tool, it is not highlyrecommended by respondents, likely as it isnot considered to have very good support forKanban. The tools recommended by KanbanUniversity (Digité SwiftKanban, Kanbanize,Kaiten, and Nave) are all highly recommendedand considered to have good support forKanban practices.Kanban Tooling and Likelihood to RecommendJira SoftwareKanbanizeSwiftKanbanAzure Dev.OpsTrelloRally SoftwarePlanview LeankitNaveKaitenDigital .ai0100200300400Number of SubmissionsI don't recommend it15STATE OFKANBANREPORT 2021I am less likely torecommend itI am likelyto recommend itI am very likely torecommend it
Kanban ToolsTOOLINGHow Well do You Think this Tool Supports Kanban?Jira SoftwareKanbanizeSwiftKanbanAzure Dev.OpsTrelloRally SoftwarePlanview LeankitNaveKaitenDigital .ai0100200300400Number of SubmissionsSupports very basicKanbanimplementationSupports us KanbanpracticesVery good supportfor all KanbanpracticesNot surprisingly, there is a strong correlation between a user's perception of how wella tool supports Kanban and their likelihood to recommend the tool. The two mainoutliers to this correlation are Azure DevOps and Trello, which are both moderatelylikely to be recommended, but acknowledged to have limited support for Kanbanpractices.16STATE OFKANBANREPORT 2021
Kanban TrainingPRACTICE, USAGE, AND TRAININGDoes Training Have an Impact on Adoption of the Kanban Method Practices?Earlier we saw which Kanban practices are most frequently used. We wanted to see iftraining has an impact on the usage of Kanban practices and if so, which ones areimpacted the most.Respondents that had taken any training class from Kanban University reported thattheir usage of practices was higher for every practice that we queried. The practicesthat showed the largest gap compared to respondents that had not taken KanbanUniversity training were:STATIK(Systems ThinkingApproach toIntroducingKanban)MeasureLead TimeKanbanCadencesCumulativeflow diagramsThis data affirms Kanban University’s understanding that organizational maturity andadoption of the Kanban Method practices are reflected in the relationship betweenoutcomes, practices, and culture. The information gathered from this analysis alsoindicates that when employees are formally trained using the Kanban Universitycurriculum, the company will likely benefit much more as they are more likely to adoptand make use of the Kanban Method practices. The adoption of such practices locallywithin an employee’s working environment will greatly improve the chances of theorganization’s potential to mature towards greater outcomes as described in theKanban Maturity Model.174STATE OF STATE OFKANBAN KANBANREPORT 2021REPORT 2021
NKANBAINGTRAINTS THEIMPACFION OADOPTICESPRACTKanban TrainingPRACTICE, USAGE, AND TRAININGDoes Training Have an Impact on Adoption of the KanbanMethod Practices? (continued)Yes. In particular, training improves the chances that individuals will adopt Kanban within theirorganizations and utilize more mature practices such as metrics and cadences. Thoserespondents that had taken Kanban training showed significantly higher usage of each andevery kanban practice compared to those who had not taken trainingWhich of These Practices do You Use?1Scores range from 1 (never) to 5 (always)2345STATIK (Systems Thinking Approach to Introducing Kanban)Measure Lead TimeKanban CadencesCumulative Flow DiagramsImplement Service Delivery Manager (SDM) roleManage Upstream Kanban BoardDefer CommitmentMap the WorkflowWork in Progress (WIP) LimitsManage Blocking IssuesImplement Service Request Manager (SRM) RoleEstablish Service Level Expectations (SLEs)Use a Digital Tool to Manage Work ItemsUse a Physical Board to Visualize Work Items1CONSIDER KANBANTRAINING234Scores range from 1 (never) to 5 (always)Have You taken any Kanban University Training?Yes184STATE OF STATE OFKANBAN KANBANREPORT 2021REPORT 2021No5
1ADDITIONAL DEMOGRAPHICSRespondents: Gender and Age60 years5%22%50 - 59 years18%Female77%Male 30 years8%30 - 39 years32%1%Other40 - 49 years37%Top 10 Job TitlesInternal IT Consultant/ CoachManager/ LeadProject/ Program ManagerTeam MemberInternal Kanban Consultant/ CoachExecutive CEO/ VP/ DirectorScrum MasterExternal Lean Agile CoachKanban is being used byleaders, middle managers,consultants, and executives.Owner /CO FounderExternal0510152025Percentage of Submissions*19STATE OFKANBANREPORT 2021*Respondents could choose more than one option.
1ADDITIONAL DEMOGRAPHICSRespondents: Country of OriginEconomic RegionsEUROPE32%EASTERNEUROPE& CEANIA3%26%All CountriesBrazilUnited States of AmericaUnited ortugalPeruSouth AfricaTurkeyUkraineNew Zealand20STATE OFKANBANREPORT nEgyptAfghanistanChinaGuatemalaSlovakiaUnited Arab EmiratesGreece886544443333322222222LuxembourgSouth oatiaKuwaitEstoniaIranQatarThailandSaudi ArabiaMalaysiaSingaporeSri LankaArmeniaCzech RepublicPanama221111111111111111111
STATEOF KANBAN2021!UOYKNAHTFOREREESK H OURCCICLRESERMOPRESENTED BY
Kanban works, with 76% reporting Kanban to be more or much more effective. than other methods. Tooling matters. Tools designed for Kanban are highly recommended, while. general agile tools claiming to have Kanban support fall short. Training works. Those respondents that took training reported significantly. higher utilization of key Kanban .