By it’s very definition, Kanban is a “pull” system. This means that team members pull more work from the product backlog when they have capacity to take on the work. The onus is on the team to do the pulling, not on anybody to “push” the team to take on more work. The ideal is ultimately to achieve a sustainable pace through self-organization and self-regulation of the system.
Currently, as custodian of our Personal Kanban board at home, however, I find that a certain amount of pushing is required for team members to continue pulling story cards from the backlog.
Part of this may simply be down to habit. Our board is less than a month old, and although the kids have become quite comfortable with it, it’s not entirely an ingrained habit for them yet to see the cards as potential chores for them to do. They need some nudges and reminders about cards that they could take on.
The other part, I think, has to do with the nature of kids and being young. As adults we need to appreciate that, as grown-ups in this crazy busy world we live in, we may be driven by productivity and efficiency, but our children are not. They need time to play and just be free to revel in the little joyful distractions that life brings along, especially over weekends. Most families are already leading such routine-driven, scheduled lives during the week, that it’s even more important to savour the freedom that weekends bring to turn the pace down a notch.
Although Kidzban is making an enormous contribution to helping our family being more organized, ultimately it needs to be just a tool. A tool that can help us to raise balanced children who are able to manage their own lives effectively, yet always maintaining balance. It must never become yet another way to push ourselves (and our children) to do more than is healthy for them, or for us.
It really is OK to do nothing sometimes …