In the few previous article we asked whether agile is for lawyers. Today let’s look at question whether Kanban is applicable to legal/compliance/tax operations world.
When assessing application of Kanban into any area it is good to start with small reminder what it is. It is methodology of managing, visualizing and improving work in progress. It originated from Japanese production companies after World War II. It’s main principles are: start where you are, implement incremental change, respect current people’s responsibilities, engage leaders. Practically basic practices of Kanban are: focus on work in progress, use visualization, actively manage workflow, insert feedback into process, make procedures and guidance clear and explicit, use scientific methods for improvement.
But is it applicable to legal / tx / compliance operations world?
In my opinion truly YES, and I will try to explain why I think so.
First of all it is project or production methodology agnostic and can help in any environment – what makes it extremely versatile. Second it encourages to start where you are, implement incremental change and initially do not force change in people responsibilities – what makes it attractive to businesses (like legal) which are late comers to lean / agile / process improvement world. Stressing the mentioned factors makes it extremely low barriered to start using. Through focus on visualization it can help to understand and map the service production process. And through flow improvement it can help to improve service production.
Having said the above it is mandatory to mention that Kanban have also pitfalls and risks. First time, dates and time frame is not of basic interest of Kanban principles, this needs to be managed carefully in legal or tax operations world where dates and time are of substance. Second visualization tools must be lean, easy and frequently updated – other ways they become over complex, obsolete and stop adding value.
Hope you liked the read!