Improving the flow of work by visualizing roadblocks and neglected tickets

It’s been way too long since I sent out some Lean/Kanban education!  In January I did a post on Visualizing Neglected Work, based on Dominica DeGrandis’s book, which was well received. I have heard from multiple people that they have since read the book and it helped clicked the pieces into place that have been floating around since reading books like the Phoenix Project.

This month, I have prepared a video showing the difference between regular ConnectWise workflow and a more optimized Lean/Kanban approach to workflow. In the former “Push” approach:

  • Technicians work either from their Today page or their Calendar
  • With the Today page, techs have to click through separate lists for service, projects, issues, and activities and then make a decision on how to sort their list. They are oblivious to tickets that they are not assigned to, unless they do a separate ticket search for those.
  • With the Calendar system, they either have to spend time scheduling & rescheduling tickets, or rely on a really good Dispatch to “paint their day green”
  • With either system, techs are generally working on their own (not as a team), central dispatch is key (but hard to do well)
  • Tickets that have been started but neglected/abandoned tend to sit around, while cherry-picked tickets buzz by them…
  • In more mature teams, SLA timers are relied upon to put focus on tickets that are getting close to violating SLA constraints for resolution etc.

In the later “Push”  (Kanban) approach:

  • The team together looks at the same Kanban board, which orders all work consistently.
  • The stream of work is from left to right through the Kanban columns – much like water flowing down a pipe
  • The team works together to focus on getting work through the system – the best way to get more water out of a pipe is not to pour more in, but let the current water flow out the other end by removing blockages, removing waste, and increasing the FLOW.
  • Work moves from left to right, but team looks from right to left to see what can be moved forward first. When they are ready to pull something from the previous column, they will grab from the top of the column if possible, or something that is neglected already.
  • As required, management can move tickets up/down in a column to influence the team on what to do next.
  • Tickets with issues (neglected, overdue, overbudget, not moving forward, blocked, etc) are visualized – much like a heat map!
  • Daily huddles are focused on moving work forward, and engaging team members or management to resolve anything slowing down work.
  • Due to decreasing the amount of work stuck in the system, work flows through much quicker and thus SLA performance is naturally improved.

Here is a link to the video:

For more background information on Push vs Pull, see and

P.S. I’m working with some strategic partners to deliver training around Agile Service Delivery. Let me know if you are interested in coaching to help make the transformation from Push to Pull.


Wim Kerkhoff
Kanban for ConnectWise Manage