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Study Guide for Professional Kanban

This page represents a good place to start to learn the competencies for Professional Kanban.

Table of Contents

Understanding Kanban

Kanban and Flow Definition

This competency provides a high-level overview of a Kanban system and its purpose. It also covers key components and when you may or may not want to use a Kanban system.

Flow Theory / Pull Systems

This competency covers all relevant flow theory:  queue/batch size, Little’s Law, utilization, ToC, etc.  It also covers what a pull system is and pull’s relation to flow.

Basic metrics of flow

This competency covers basic flow metrics and the relationship between key data points.

Systems Thinking

This competency covers why systems thinking is important to the success of flow-based systems.

Designing and Operating a Kanban System

Definition of Workflow (DoW)

This competency covers how to look at your processes to discover your existing workflows and analyze them to define the policies in place for managing work. Based on DoW from PSK.


This competency covers how to take the information generated from your discovery of your work and it’s workflow and use it to create a compelling, informative visualization that can be used to effectively manage the flow of work.

Active Management of WIP

This competency covers…

Flow-based Events

This competency is about the purpose of, and effective strategies for, flow-based events: standups, retros, reviews, etc..

Predictability and Continuous Improvement

Flow-based Analytics

This competency covers the core flow-based analytics and how to use them to understand and improve your situation.

Understanding Variability

Not all variability is bad. This competency covers how variability is handled in flow-based systems.

Probabilistic Forecasting

This competency covers how to forecast and plan in uncertain environments.

Adjusting DoW and Pull Policies

This competency covers how to manage and improve flow by adjusting key components of your Kanban system.

Developing People and Teams

Lean Leadership

This competency is about what it means to be a Lean leader.

Respect for people

This competency is about what goes into the Lean Pillar of respect for people which is often hard to explain. (It may include things like self-direction, psychological safety and safety mechanisms, etc.) 

Learning Organizations 

This competency is about what Learning Organizations are and strategies for creating and nurturing them like Kata, A3s, set-based engineering and design, etc.

Facilitation, Teaching, Coaching & Mentoring

Strategic Business Agility

Flow-based risk management
End-to-End Business Agility
Organizational Design & Culture
Flight Levels and Scaling

This competency covers how to use Kanban systems to optimize flow through an entire organization.


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