Just a thought experiment: What do you get when reversing Kanban? Obviously the name of reversed Kanban would be Nabnak – at least it has a fancy name.
Kanban has two key properties:
- Limit work in progress to an upper limit with a preference for lower limits.
- Pull from upstream processes.
Therefore in Nabnak you would
- Ensure that work in progress never falls below a bottom limit with a preference for higher limits.
- Push work to downstream processes.
OK, that sounds completely ridiculous. But when would you possibly do such a thing. Perhaps when two conditions hold true:
- Developers are so expensive that a high utilization outperforms all other metrics.
- At the same time developers are too dumb to pull work. Somebody has to push the work to them.
These two conditions seem mutually exclusive. Therefore Nabnak is in fact complete nonesense. But guess what: I am not the inventor of Nabnak – I just gave it a fancy new name. Nabnak was formerly known as waterfall.
You may not like Kanban but it is not a new name for waterfall. If there is a new name for waterfall it is reversed Kanban: Nabnak.
P.S.: In fact there may be useful applications of a minimum work in progress limit for certain columns of a Kanban board. I may blog about that in another article.