Shipping KMM 1.2 – FOB, Left on the Dock, & Still in the Warehouse

Oct 01, 2020 8 min read
Shipping KMM 1.2 – FOB, Left on the Dock, & Still in the Warehouse

The Kanban Maturity Model release 1.2 is a new updated model incorporating organizational culture and managed evolution is far more extensive than its predecessors. The accompanying second edition book is 3 times the size of its predecessor based on the original beta release in April 2018.

There comes a day in the life of any product development when the  decision is made to freeze the source code, fix only critical defects,  and ship it! For the Kanban Maturity Model release 1.2, that day came in early September – there would be no more  changes; the cost of change to the already indexed and laid out book and  accompanying infographic posters was all too expensive. The cost of  further delay to a product that was already 4 months  overdue was unacceptable. It was time to ¨ship it”!

The Kanban Maturity Model release 1.2 is a career-defining piece of  work that both me and Teodora Bozheva are rightly proud of. The new  updated model incorporating organizational culture and managed evolution  is far more extensive than its predecessors. The accompanying second  edition book is 3 times the size of its predecessor based on the  original beta release in April 2018. The new material covers our entire  catalog of coaching practices and becomes the consultant’s playbook for a  decade or more of enterprise scale improvement initiatives yet to come.  I have no doubt that the KMM 1.2 is a game changer in the world of  enterprise scale organizational agility and improved economic  performance of professional services, intangible goods, knowledge worker  professions and industries. Looking back five years, I would never have  imagined it possible that we could codify the roadmap, identify the  barriers to adoption and institutionalization, and provide pragmatic,  actionable and evidence-based guidance at each step on the journey to  large-scale organizational agility.

So, the KMM 1.2 ship has sailed, and inevitably some things were left  on the dockside, to wait for the next release. What are those things,  and do I have any regrets?

FOB (Freight-on-board)

The 1.2 release is extremely stable. After a two-year long beta  program involving companies very large, and quite small, across several  continents, the model has been validated and the positioning of the specific practices is  now secure, consistent, and internally congruent. We don’t expect  much, if any, change in the specific practice descriptions, numbering or  location, in future releases.

The outcomes and benefits section has been enhanced  and improved. Some naming has been changed. Readers of the first  edition based on the first beta release will notice that the naming of  the organizational maturity levels has been changed to be more  outcome-oriented and business-focused.

In addition to the first two pillars of the KMM since its inception,  we have added a third; organizational culture. There is now extensive  coverage of the values that define organizational culture at each level  of organizational maturity as well as our coaching guidance on  understanding and mapping culture and advice on how to coach leaders to  hack the culture to make change and improvements easier to implement and  more certain to stick. Guidance on culture hacking is one of the two significant elements in the new release.

These three pillars of outcomes, practices, and culture are woven together and improved and developed through managed evolution.  The new release contains deeply researched coverage of our coaching  guidance on evolutionary change and how to understand the human  condition and create greater empathy with those in organizations  undergoing change. There is extensive and well-researched coverage of  sociology, social psychology, and how these relate to the architecture  and chemistry of the brain. For those already familiar with my material  on these topics, you are likely to find new and extended models that  provide deeper and more actionable insights than before. If you haven’t  taken the Kanban Coaching Practices class in the past year, then you’ll  notice a lot of useful changes. I am extremely proud of this new  material which synthesizes work from Francis Fukuyama, Jared Diamond,  Nassim Taleb, Ray Immelman, and a number of academic sources on social  psychology and neuroscience integrating ideas from Plato, Maslow,  Nietzche, and the Gestalt school of psychology.

We have also included in the book an extensive set of appendices  containing previously unpublished work on enterprise services planning,  product management, and the problems of selecting, scheduling,  sequencing work and determining class of service (or priority). This  material is essential for achieving effective enterprise-scale agility  and provides a solid mathematical underpinning for selection, scheduling  and prioritization decisions. Over time, this material will appear in  other publications and in other formats but for now, it was essential to make it accessible to a broad audience. Much, if not almost, everything  previously published on the topic of selecting, scheduling,  sequencing and prioritizing knowledge work is of dubious provenance,  based on false premises, and invalid mathematically. The field of  planning and prioritization for intangible goods industries has been in  the dark ages filled with superstitious beliefs and methods that should  be ascribed to witchdoctors and soothsayers. With KMM 1.2, we bring  product management and scheduling decisions into the light of the  scientific revolution with a mathematically robust model delivered in an  actionable, pragmatic manner that is accessible without a need to  understand the math or quantitative data – an approach that will work  for organizations at ML 2.

The KMM 1.2 release brings together around eighteen years of  experimentation, research, implementation, and case study evidence. With  it, I believe that Teodora and I have delivered the book I wish I´d had  and read 20 years ago. I look back at so many fumbling mistakes and  misadventures with half-baked concepts and ideas with some embarrassment  and humility. I hope that it might help you avoid many of my  mistakes and help you make a meaningful impact for your business, your  community, and your economy.

Left on the dock

If I have one regret, one box of wisdom, that was left on the  dockside as the KMM 1.2 ship sailed away, it is that I wasn’t able to  elaborate and explore the ideas of Aristotle, Plato’s prodigy, working  twenty years later.  KMM 1.2 contains the ideas of Plato on the human  psyche and the human soul from his Republic Books 1 and 4. This provides  the foundation for an understanding of human identity and the core  concepts in empathy and understanding why people resist change as a  threat to their identity, their self-image, self-esteem, recognition,  respect, status, and dignity. In the Republic Book 4, Plato defined the  human soul as containing nous (reason), epithymos (desire or appetite),  and thymos (spirit or passion). Aristotle took Plato’s ideas further.  For Aristotle, writing in De Anima, the soul was not a separate thing  that could occupy the inner being of a human (an entity made up  of ´stuff´) – the soul was not separable. For Aristotle there was no  concept of souls, only soul. To have soul, someone had to be more than  alive, to be more than animate, rather they must have a function, a  purpose to their life. For Aristotle, without purpose there is no soul.

Around a decade ago, I found it necessary to communicate the purpose  of the Kanban Method – to improve service delivery, and to drive  evolutionary changes in organizations, for improved service delivery.  This reportedly caused Stefan Roock, one of our  business partner it-agile in Hamburg, Germany, to respond, ¨now Kanban  has a soul! ¨ Without a defined and understood purpose, Kanban was  without soul.

Aristotle went further again building on ideas from Plato that to  have virtue a soul must fufill its purpose adequately – to be virtuous,  something must be fit for its purpose. It must fulfill its reason for  being. Failure to do so, is to be lacking in virtue.

There is much in the Kanban Maturity Model about purpose;  the organizational maturity level 3 is named Fit-for-Purpose. By  definition, an organization must have a purpose in order to achieve  maturity level 3. The corollary might be that without a purpose, an  organization is without a soul.

A person without a purpose, a business without a purpose,  a kanban workflow without a purpose, is without soul. While living and  animate, it is a zombie. And a service, a kanban workflow that fails to  meet its customers´ expectations and meet the fitness threshold for  satisfactory performance, is without virtue.

In my recent blog post, the New Recipe for Success, I observed that organizational improvement requires that you…

  • Lead with purpose
  • Create customer-centric (purpose-driven) metrics
  • Implement feedback loops
  • Hold people accountable

It will be interesting to explore Aristotle’s ideas further  in the future. His concept of soul suggests that lower maturity  organizations, those at organizational maturity levels 0 through 2, are  without purpose, and hence, without soul, or at the very least without  virtue, as they fail to adequately fulfill their purpose. Leaders inject  soul into their organizations by defining and communicating its  purpose. They define virtue by articulating the adequate fulfillment of  purpose. Leading with purpose, therefore, is to lead with soul!

Still in the warehouse

A couple of major pillars for the Kanban Maturity Model have been  left in the warehouse still under development to be included a future  release in 2022. Likely, these will appear in community preview and beta  test form for enthusiasts and members of the official beta program.

The new KMM 1.2 contains rudimentary coverage of leadership,  leadership maturity, and leadership development. Pragmatic, actionable,  and evidence-based guidance for complete coverage on leadership is under  way – some of it has appeared in my keynote speeches at conferences as  long ago as 2018. However, it is not ready for the mainstream nor  sufficiently well-developed for a formal training curriculum. KMM 1.3  will contain a leadership pillar with a full curriculum for leadership  development through to senior level in large-scale enterprises.

The other major element still in development is a formal appraisal  model. The need for organizational, corporate recognition of progress  and the status that might derive from that progress which is core to the  human condition; social groups of humans, have psyches, very similar to  individuals. There is also a need to provide a solid basis for action  and advice from consultants and coaches using the Kanban Maturity Model  as means to guide improvements. Development of the appraisal method is  underway. Teodora has a rudimentary prototype in use with her clients  and a few members of the beta program who are trialing the community  preview edition. The formal appraisal method and accompanying appraisal  program is therefore expected to debut in KMM 1.3 in 2022.


We made a hard decision to offload specific practices related to  projects, programs, and portfolio management. These have been removed in  release 1.2. Those familiar with earlier releases may miss them. We  decided to scope the main Kanban Maturity Model to Kanban’s core purpose  – to improve service delivery in intangible goods, service industry  organizations. Intangible goods, professional services, is such a huge  part of the modern economy and management guidance specifically designed  for this sector is in short supply. The Kanban Method and its related  concepts of Service-oriented Organization Design (SOO), Enterprise  Services Planning (ESP), and the Fit-for-Purpose Framework (F4P) define  the core management, organizational, and leadership paradigm for the  future of the enterprise. Projects, programs, and to some extent  portfolios are artifacts of the old paradigm. They represent legacy  approaches to organization and management. Consequently, we’ve decided  to bundle the specific Kanban practices for projects, programs and  portfolios into a separate extension KMMX for Projects, Programs and  Portfolio Management (PPPM) to be published early in 2021. We fully  appreciate that Kanban can help improve outcomes in such  circumstances, but Kanban applied inside a project to help the flow of  work and improve predictability of the planning is really Kanban used as  a pill to treat the symptoms without addressing the core root causes of  dysfunction. So, we made a tough decision to separate out Kanban used  as an ointment, pain relief from the symptoms of dysfunction, from  Kanban used intended as a humane approach to improving services  businesses using a fundamentally service-oriented approach. When you  understand the true soul of Kanban, you cannot fail to accept the logic  in this decision.

Want to learn the latest material available?

Join us for our Change Leadership Masterclass. Our Masterclass is a  unique opportunity to learn from material that isn’t readily accessible  in any other form. This course is always evolving and goes beyond the  content of our books. Spaces for this course are limited to ensure  maximum opportunity for discussion, so make sure to book in advance.

Great! Next, complete checkout for full access to Kanban Maturity Model Blog.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
You've successfully subscribed to Kanban Maturity Model Blog.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.
Success! Your billing info has been updated.
Your billing was not updated.