Week 3: Select Members To Hold Two Kanban Roles

Time required: 1 hour for discussing roles; then 10-30 minutes per day for performing responsibilities of the roles

This week you'll select the team members to hold two key Kanban roles: the Service Request Manager (SRM) and Service Delivery Manager (SDM). These roles should be chosen in consultation with the team, of course. Starting this week, the two members will begin their jobs ordering the backlog and monitoring progress of tickets through the workflow.

Since you're the one reading this, it's likely that you'll end up being chosen for one of the roles. Thanks for volunteering!

In a small team, it's okay for one person to hold both roles.

Select the members

The Kanban roles are:

  • Service Request Manager (SRM): This role is responsible for ensuring the tickets queued up for the team are ordered by importance and have sufficient detail to complete. This member:
    • manages the tickets in the backlog (tickets that don't yet have sufficient detail to complete, or have not been approved by the customer) by adding detail to the description and getting approval from the customer so that the ticket can be moved to the next status
    • manages the tickets in the ready status (tickets that have sufficient detail to complete and have been approved by the customer) so the most important tickets are always at the top of the column in the Kanban board. This requires understanding the relative importance of each ticket to the customer, the due date and size of the ticket, and even the relative importance of each customer to the organization.
    • ensures that urgent tickets are handled to meet the ticket SLA
    This role should be held by whomever has the best understanding of customers and projects in progress. Depending on the frequency of the workflow, ordering tickets could be a daily or weekly task. For ordering the ready tickets, the definition of "most important" is up to the Kanban team.
  • Service Delivery Manager (SDM): This role is responsible for ensuring work flows through the pipeline according to the team's Kanban plan. This member:
    • identifies tickets that are not progressing and brings them to the attention of the ticket owner or the whole team
    • encourages, teaches, and monitors other team members adherence to Kanban practices
    • leads efforts at continual improvements to the Kanban methods
    This role should be held by whomever has best understanding of work currently in progress.

Read more about these Kanban roles here:

Members begin their responsibilities

The SRM and SDM begin their responsibilities this week.

The SRM should review the backlog and ready columns of the Kanban board, ensuring:

  1. Each ticket in the ready column has enough detail that it can be completed by a technician.
  2. Each ticket in the ready column is an appropriate size. Large tickets should be split up and multiple tiny tickets should be combined.
  3. The ready column is ordered from most important to least important. Keep in mind that the due date and SLA time of a ticket have an effect on its importance- if the due date or SLA is approaching, then the ticket should be at the top of its column so work is started with enough time to finish before the due date or SLA.
  4. Tickets in the backlog are likely to be approved by the customer in a reasonable period of time. Tickets in the backlog for a long time that are not likely to be approved soon should just be closed. You can always re-open the ticket later.

Consider adding a second Kanban board for the SRM, showing columns only for the backlog and ready tickets.

The SDM doesn't have as much to do this week because the team begins using Kanban next week. The main responsibility of the SDM this week is to ensure that ticket statuses are accurate. The SDM should follow up with technicians about tickets that have not changed status in an unusually long time.

Using a BTR process as an example, the SRM should take this week to understand what BTRs are approaching and ensure there are detailed tickets in the ready column in an appropriate order. The SDM should review the in-progress BTR tickets periodically to ensure the statuses are accurate and work isn't being delayed without a good reason.

Next up: Week 4

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