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Kanban Maturity Model: goals, maturity levels, and benefits

  • Methodologies

The Kanban Maturity Model (KMM) is a guide that connects cultural values ​​and management practices within the company’s current context to direct efforts towards a higher level of performance, aligned with the organization’s business objectives.

Companies that adopt KMM aim to evolve their best practices and production systems, making them better and more fluid. They want to develop their business processes. Through KMM, companies identify their level of maturity and apply appropriate practices for a given scenario. As time and maturity evolve, new practices are adopted.

Based on three pillars – culture, practices and results -KMM suggests approaches after the first analysis, which allow changing the culture and results in an evolutionary way for the company.

The more mature the company is about the three pillars of KMM, the lower its risk to the market and the higher its product or service quality. Consequently, the greater the customer’s satisfaction.

Where did the Kanban Maturity Model come from?

KMM is a compilation of the different experiences of implementing the method in large, medium, and small companies. It was developed by the technical team led by David J. Anderson and Teodora Bozheva of Kanban University.

Based on democratizing the method, this study group analyzed and observed companies. Their characteristics were compared and scored to be later placed in a classification.

The benefit of the Kanban Maturity Model

From the moment it is implemented, the results and quality are visible. In other words, the maturity level of your business will increase, generating value for the customer and adding value to the company.

Implementing the method makes it possible to improve productivity, shorten delivery time, and reduce risks in the market. In other words, it is about being agile in processes, eliminating bottlenecks. Therefore, balanced capacity and smooth operations lead to organic and lasting growth.

Through the Kanban Maturity Model, the company organizes and streamlines the work of teams; reduces the workload due to the new organization. As a result, the customer is satisfied with what he receives, and the company can achieve economic and financial results.

Besides this general benefit of using KMM, the company can get specific advantages and results on each maturity level.

How to apply practices following KMM

Turning KMM from theory into practice is not a straightforward process to perform. Hardly an immature company can identify its level without the help of an expert.

Anyway, the first step is to visualize all the work done in the company.

From this point, the expert responsible for its implementation needs to map the workflow and identify bottlenecks. It is a systemic way of how departments work to optimize their routines.

It is also necessary to position the company and identify at what point of maturity it is. The Kanban Maturity Model is divided into seven maturity levels, going from 0 to 6.

When identifying your company’s level, it is time to define which practices are correct for your scenario, test and implement them, and follow the evolutionary changes.

Kanban Maturity Model Maturity Levels

KMM was influenced by the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI), a process assessment model, and similar ones to reach the seven determining levels that exist today.

In this way, 0 represents companies starting their maturity evolution journey. At this level, the company seeks to improve the quality of products or services.

Level 6, in comparison, shows that the company is in advanced maturity, reaching a strategic level. This company can assess opportunities and risks, for example.

Let’s get into every step of the process:

Level 0 “abstract”

It is necessary to manage the individuals according to their activities. The company is still fragile and does not have a defined working model.

Level 1 “emerging”

Proper management brings benefits to the company, as it generates value, it shows an organizational structure and transparency in activities.

The company is still fragile at this level, but it is already starting to think about process models for its work.

Level 2 “defined”

This level includes the essential work processes implemented by the company, and they establish the organizational form of how it performs the work. However, there are still noticeable flaws in the results.

In other words, the company still has a fragile business model, but it is already evolving.

Level 3 “Management”

There is a better definition of processes, where results are achieved according to customer expectations.

The company points to operational models at this level and becomes resilient in the complex market environment.

Level 4 “Quantitatively Managed”

Processes are consistently used, the company understands its market and acts accordingly. The focus is on financial results based on predictability indicators.

It still has a fragile business model, but it remains with its operating models and is robust in the face of market difficulties.

Level 5 “in optimization”

At this level, the company is fit for purpose from the perspective of all stakeholders.

It is not classified as risky, as it becomes anti-fragile. In other words, it is the market leader. Now, the focuses are multiple:

  1. optimize efficiency;
  2. improve economic outcomes;
  3. increase productivity without sacrificing quality;
  4. raise margins;
  5. prepare premium quotes for service or quality classes in that category;

6. minimize costs;

7. optimize the value of work through superior prioritization and triage.

Level 6 “congruent”

We can say that the company is solid and its growth is sustainable. They are, in fact, consolidated companies, as their businesses have changed according to the evolution of the market.

These are companies that reinvented themselves and delivered what was needed. They ask strategic questions and the answers are part of planning a lasting business. At this level, the company can manage risks, assess the market, mitigate and resolve.

Objective and the Kanban Maturity Model

Objective is a reference in Kanban Maturity Model, as some great experts cite it. One of them is Rodrigo Yoshima, who in his course classifies Objective as level 4 in maturity in the Kanban Maturity Model.

We believe in this model so much that it is part of the Agile Transformation process we deliver to companies. We apply the model here in Objective as well, turning us into a giant lab for improvements of the model and its implementation.

When we start the consulting process, the first step is the Agile Assessment, in which we use some tools and practices, for example, KMM, DevOps, Lean, software valves, among other mappable models. The set of company characteristics, aligned with the maturity models, result in the Objective’s assessment.

Companies are clustered by similarity, and the observation of companies at a certain level provides predictability of how the results obtained will be. Nothing is created in advance; results are always delivered by observation.

After the evaluation and survey of practices to improve processes, the characteristics of the organizational culture are reassessed to analyze expected gains, aiming to raise the bar and prove the effectiveness of the consultancy’s work.

Another point worth noting is that the KMM is a pragmatic model; the practices it proposes are very focused on data-based decision-making. This approach results in a measurement practice, which gradually deepens the metrics as we progress through the levels.

We separate a case in which we used KMM applications in the company and achieved good results.

Objective success case with KMM application

With Objective’s agile consulting and squads, a company’s communication application reaches a more significant number of customers.

The challenge was to evolve the digital transformation and, through the application, provide its customers with a more friendly and intuitive experience. It was expected to generate greater engagement in digital channels and savings in traditional service channels, without forgetting the main focus: integration between systems and process improvement for more incredible speed in time to market.

With the application already under development, the company found a partner in Objective that would continue this work, ensuring the ideal interface and design for users and integration with legacy systems and greater speed in future releases.

Objective works with multidisciplinary teams, with agile consultants, developers (back and front-end), and UX designers, from discovery to application development, focusing on delivering value, other than delivering tasks.

In less than a year, the application reached about 5 million downloads, tripling the number of users, with high acceptance for usability and greater productivity for technical teams with quality in the development and increased application availability.

When to use the Kanban Maturity Model

Finally, a question that many companies have: When to apply KMM?

Each company has its own culture, so you will hardly have a ready-made cake recipe with the steps to follow and when to make each decision, whether with KMM or any other evaluation method.

Contact our experts to understand your company’s context and how applying the method will help. Take the opportunity to learn more about Objective’s success stories in different companies and segments. Then you will have a broader view of the impacts of the Kanban Maturity Model and Objective’s personalized consulting on your company.

Want to know more about what Kanban is? Keep an eye on our blog!

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