Diwali is a famous multiday festival celebrated in many parts of India, when people eat sweets and burn firecrackers. On this occasion, people want to buy enough firecrackers to cover the time period of the celebrations. They plan carefully in order to be able to buy a variety (some varieties being available in limited quantity), so that the celebration does not feel monotonous -- but neither do they want to end up with leftover, unused firecrackers at the end.
This year I was particularly struck by the various Kanban practices at work. Using Kanban, we visualize the workflow, limit the work in progress, and manage the flow. In the Diwali scenario, people followed similar practices:
- Visualize the celebrations, including exploding firecrackers
- Manage the inflow for sufficiency (buy enough crackers) while reducing waste (avoid ending up with unused crackers)
- Celebrate the festival (focus on continuous delivery)
- Formulate policies to explode the crackers without causing disturbance to others, and before neighbors want to go to sleep
- Continuously learn and consider feedback (from family members engaged in celebrations, as a team), based on the experience (which crackers are good to buy, considering celebrants' age, the time, situation, etc.), so that the feedback can be implemented as improvements in following celebrations
This is one specific example illustrating my strong feeling that we have been following Kanban practices in many situations naturally, without our consciousness of the system. The fact that we already adopt these principles in day-to-day life doubtless is part of what makes Kanban appealing and comparatively easy to learn. We can also observe more consciously how we already use these principles, and extended the practices further as applicable.