Featureban is a fun way for small groups to try out some basic visual management (visualisation + feedback loops), and then experience the dramatic effect of adding work-in-progress limits to create working kanban systems. It’s also possible to add in metrics (there are instructions included for that already) or to connect multiple systems together (sorry, you’re on your own there). It should be easy to add other elements too; I would recommend that you introduce those in later rounds of the game.
For the second round, a WIP limit of 3 works well for teams of 5-6. If there are 4 or more items in the third column you could increase the limit for larger teams, but I wouldn’t go higher than 4. Use your judgement, and of course the same applies to smaller teams (set the limit too low, and blockers will dominate).
When time is limited, turn the metrics round into an exercise of the imagination. Have some outputs pre-prepared.
In terms of materials, it requires a simple four-column board and a good supply of suitably-sized sticky notes. I use boards ready-printed on A3 card (but a hand-drawn flipchart works fine too) and some small (51mm x 38mm) sticky notes. For the first ever run, we huddled around a sheet of A4 paper in the conference lounge, and the rules evolved as we played. Cozy!
Like the Kanban Values Exercise, Featureban is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. You can download the PDFs here, and ping me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to get hold of the original PowerPoint files. The same license applies to these files too but it’s really nice when people let me know what they’re doing with them. For example, I know that Ruben Olsen (@RubenOlsen) is already working a Norwegian translation.
Thanks to Ruben and to Jose Casal (@jose_casal) for their feedback on previous iterations.
Author of Kanban from the Inside (September 2014), program director at djaa & @leankanbanu, interim manager, management consultant & trainer, blogger and speaker.