Most have probably heard about Marie Kondo and her miracle methods of transforming lives via de-cluttering. This article on The Drum took it a step further: by applying Agile in the mindset of a Marie Kondo disciple, one can even transform organizations.
What makes the article compelling, in my view, is the power of metaphors in generating insights. In this case, an organization is a “house”, a messy place with redundant objects with ill-defined purposes. To reorganize clothes in the drawer, allowing them to be recognize at a glance, is similar to reorganizing workflows, making each component visible. When Marie tells people to “gather all your clothes and dump them in a pile”, it is similar to mapping all processes, business rules, and resources in order to find bottlenecks and redundancies. Using Hikidashi (boxes within drawers) to set clear boundaries on what is enough parallels the Kanban method and the fundamental drive of agile to tackle manageable pieces before anything else.
The house as a metaphor is effective as it takes us out of our IT, corporate context to consider things in more mundane, and at the same time more evocative and visual, contexts. It is also internally focused by design, allowing for reflection but at the same time precluding more competitive analyses.
By Linh Dang