This is an introduction to Kanban. Creative agencies, like most organizations that do knowledge work, are defined by the projects they deliver that (hopefully) delivers value for the clients. Most agencies also struggle with multiple competing stakeholders, multiple client engagements, tight deadlines and long hours – it’s amazing any creative work happens at all. Most projects – brand campaigns, websites, landing pages, social, pr, direct, everything, can be viewed as a process - a series of steps or tasks that achieve some desired result – delivery of the project, a happy client, drinks in Tribeca. There are all kinds of processes - simple and complex, individual and team, quick and time-consuming. Sometimes large or over-arching processes consist of a series of smaller processes.
Kanban is a tool for managing the flow of materials or information (or whatever) in a process. Not having the materials, whether it is a part, a document, or customer information, at the time you need it causes delay and waste. On the other hand, having too many parts (too much design, creative briefs, design assets, code) on hand or too much work in process (WIP) is also a form of waste. Kanban is a tool to learn and manage an optimal flow of work within the process. It can also (potentially) make working in agencies a more human, and humane, place to do one’s best work.
Will Evans explores the convergence of practice and theory using Lean Systems, Design Thinking, and LeanUX with global corporations from NYC to Berlin to Singapore. As Chief Design Officer at PraxisFlow, he works with a select group of corporate clients undergoing Lean and Agile transformations across the entire organization. Will is also the Design Thinker-in-Residence at NYU Stern's Berkley Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Will was previously the Managing Director of TLCLabs, the world's leading Lean Design Innovation consultancy where he has brought Lean Startup, LeanUX, and Design Thinking to large media, finance, and healthcare companies.
Before TLC, he led experience design and research for TheLadders in New York City. He has over 15 years industry experience in design innovation, user experience strategy and research. His roles include directing UX for social network analytics & terrorism modeling at AIR Worldwide, UX Architect for social media site Gather.com, and UX Architect for travel search engine Kayak.com. He worked at Lotus/IBM where he was the senior information architect, and for Curl - a DARPA-funded MIT project when he was at the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science.
He lives in New York, NY, and drinks far too much coffee. He Co-Founded and Co-Chaired the LeanUX NYC conference, and is the User Experience track chair for the Agile 2013 and Agile 2014 conferences.