Russell Healy

Teaching Lean and Kanban – What’s Working Well

Lean and Kanban apply some counter-intuitive truths which can be difficult to teach. This is part of the reason that it took Taiichi Ohno over a decade to implement the Toyota Production System across Toyota, and a further 40 years for other auto makers to catch on.

There are several ways to approach this problem. One is to guide the team to learn for themselves through experience, another is to help people to understand the underlying models in operation. These two approaches can be applied together to great effect.

In his book Domain-Driven Design, Eric Evans points out that an application should operate consistently with its underlying model. This allows the user to understand what is going on, and arms them with a good idea of what to expect in novel situations.

Because Kanban is based on a solid underlying model, understanding that model and its implications enable practitioners to apply Kanban more effectively within their unique context.

In this talk, Russell will share sections of his training material, and describe his experience using analogies, models, and simulations to make the deceptively complex world of Lean and Kanban much easier to understand. This session will be useful for anyone who needs to explain how Kanban works on the inside.


Russell Healy Russell leads a team of software developers at the Ministry of Social Development, New Zealand’s largest government department. He has a background in software development and a passion for growing highly motivated, successful teams. Outside of work, Russell is actively engaged in the Lean and Agile community in New Zealand. He provides training workshops and consulting services through his company,

Russell lives in Wellington with his wife and two young boys, and is looking forward to the arrival of their third child shortly. This time it’s a girl!