Using a coach to improve team performance when the team uses a Kanban process methodology
Keywords:project management, process methodology, agile, team performance, Kanban, Kanban process methodology
Teams are increasing their use of the Kanban process methodology across a range of information system projects, including software development and data science projects. While the use of Kanban is growing, little has been done to explore how to improve team performance for teams that use Kanban. One possibility is to introduce a Kanban Coach (KC). This work reports on exploring the use of a Kanban Coach, with respect to both how the coach could interact with the team as well as how the use of a coach impacts team results. Specifically, this paper reports on an experiment where teams either had, or did not have, a Kanban Coach. A quantitative and qualitative analysis of the data collected during the experiment found that introducing KC led to significant improvement of team performance. Coordination Theory and Shared Mental Models were then employed to provide an explanation as to why a KC leads to better project results. While this experiment was done within a data science project context, the results are likely applicable across a range of information system projects.