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The Role & Responsibilities of a Kanban Service Delivery Manager

Kanban is based on the philosophy of ‘start with what you’re doing now.’ Because Kanban allows teams to start from where they are, it also does not prescribe any specific work roles or titles.

However, after years of implementation and evolution, two specific roles have emerged in Kanban — the service delivery manager and the service request manager.

What is a Kanban service delivery manager?

A Kanban service delivery manager is a role in the Kanban implementation process that is also known as the flow master, flow manager, or delivery manager. The person taking on this role is responsible for ensuring that work goes on consistently without interruptions. 

What are the key responsibilities of a Kanban service delivery manager?

If you plan to hire an external service delivery manager or assign an existing team member for the role, it is essential to define their daily duties and responsibilities. The responsibilities of a service delivery manager are to:

  • Initiate regular and continuous improvement activities across the organization
  • Monitor the Kanban board to ensure that work items are completed regularly, and no interruptions occur
  • Schedule and conduct regular Kanban team meetings so that the entire team is on the same page on project progress
  • Focus on delivering value to the customers by controlling all work processes
  • Communicate with the work item owner if the task is getting delayed or not completed on schedule
  • Proactively identify any work disruptions before they occur and take steps to resolve them if they happen
  • Ensure the team understands Kanban principles and implements them accordingly

How to choose a service delivery manager

Before zeroing in on a person for the role of the service delivery manager, make sure that they are aligned with these key considerations:

  • Possess an in-depth understanding of the service delivery process
  • Are an active advocate for continuous improvement
  • Can track workflow metrics and transform the insights into actionable knowledge
  • Demonstrates a strong will to improve work processes in order to obtain positive organizational outcomes 
Further reading
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Unlock All Your Team “Kan” Do With a Kanban Template

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Top Tips for Organizing Kanban Cards

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Scrum vs. Kanban: The Ultimate Breakdown Guide

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How to Use Agile Teamwork to Optimize Collaboration