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How long does it take to transition from project management to Kanban?

Transitioning from Traditional Project Management to Kanban


Are you working in a traditional project management environment and feeling daunted by the shift to Agile methodologies? If so, a Kanban strategy might be the ideal solution for gradually improving your processes without the need for immediate, radical change. This blog post explores how Kanban can help you transition smoothly and effectively from traditional project management to a more Agile approach.

Kanban: A Gentle Transition

Unlike Scrum, which can require significant changes to your workflow, Kanban allows you to start from where you are. Here’s why Kanban is a gentle yet powerful approach:

  • Start Where You Are: Kanban doesn’t demand immediate changes to your existing processes. Instead, it helps you document and understand your current workflow.
  • Observational Approach: Kanban is observational, meaning it helps you monitor your existing processes and gather data to identify areas for improvement.
  • Gradual Improvement: By observing and understanding your workflow, you can make incremental changes that lead to continuous improvement over time.

The Benefits of Starting with Kanban

For many organizations, jumping straight into Scrum can be overwhelming. Here’s how Kanban can ease the transition:

  • Identify Problems Gradually: Scrum highlights issues quickly, but this rapid change can be too much for some organizations. Kanban allows you to identify and address problems at a pace that suits your team.
  • Avoid Bad Scrum: Without proper commitment, adopting Scrum can result in “bad Scrum” where terminology is used without meaningful changes. Kanban helps you avoid this by starting with your current workflow and improving it gradually.
  • Openness to Change: The best time to introduce change is when an organization has failed to deliver or achieve something. Kanban provides a non-disruptive way to start making improvements immediately.

Implementing Kanban in a Traditional Environment

Here’s a step-by-step guide to implementing Kanban in a traditional project management environment:

  1. Document Your Current Workflow:
  • Definition of Workflow: Write down how your team currently works. This documentation will serve as your baseline.
  1. Collect Metrics:
  • Gather Data: Use tools like JIRA or Azure DevOps to collect data on start and end dates, cycle time, and other relevant metrics.
  • Visualize Data: Create visual representations of your workflow using cycle time scatterplots and other graphs.
  1. Analyze and Identify Patterns:
  • Look for Anomalies: Identify outliers and patterns in your data that indicate inefficiencies or bottlenecks.
  • Ask Questions: Use the data to ask insightful questions about your workflow and identify areas for improvement.
  1. Run Workshops:
  • Team Workshops: Conduct workshops to discuss your findings and agree on necessary changes. These workshops foster collaboration and shared understanding.
  1. Make Incremental Changes:
  • Implement Changes: Based on your analysis, make incremental changes to your workflow. Monitor the impact of these changes using your metrics.
  • Continuous Improvement: Continue to collect data, analyze it, and make further improvements as needed.

Practical Example

Imagine you’re a project manager in a traditional environment where architectural approvals take six months. By using Kanban to document your workflow and collect metrics, you can present data that highlights this bottleneck. With this evidence, you can propose experiments to streamline the approval process and track the improvements over time.


Transitioning from traditional project management to Kanban doesn’t have to be daunting. By starting with your current workflow and making data-driven improvements, you can gradually enhance your processes and move towards a more Agile approach. If your current system of work is failing you, it’s time to consider adopting a Kanban strategy. Our professional Kanban trainers and consultants are ready to help. Don’t wait. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll improve. Get in touch below.

Thanks for reading! If you found this post helpful, please like, follow, and subscribe. I always reply to comments, and if you want to chat about Kanban, agile, or DevOps, feel free to book a coffee with me through Naked Agility.

Recommended Resources:

  • Kanban Training: Check out our Pro Kanban training programs.
  • Consulting Services: Need help implementing Kanban? Our experts are here to guide you.
  • Further Reading: Explore more about Kanban and agile methodologies on our blog.

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