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Kyle Dennis
Kyle Dennis

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5 reasons why you should Kanban(ize) your organization's Anti-Racism commitments

If you work in tech, there's a good chance that your company made some new commitments in the area of diversity, equity and inclusion over the last year. But how are they tracking progress and responsibility for their commitments? And is anyone ever going to be held accountable if the commitments never get done?

Consider using a Kanban framework. Here are five reasons that it will help.

1. Agenda Setting
Set the agenda for your racial justice work up front— just like you would with a product. Start by acknowledging your backlog and your capacity. You’re not working on all of your anti-racism priorities at once, so you don’t get credit for projects that are just ideas or incomplete tasks. Announcing that you intend to build a component of your team's current project is meaningless until you do it. Likewise, it's not anti-racism until a productive output has shipped.

2. Creating Context
Think about anti-racism work the same way you think about product—shipping new features, improving old ones, and maximizing efficiency. If anti-racism is like a product, is your team accelerating the right number of organizational tasks to make it a company-wide reality? Or are we still just releasing statements and doing implicit bias training?

3. Acknowledging Interconnectedness
Helps recognize dependency between parties because–justice-oriented work has layers of strategy operating simultaneously. Often, their success is dependent on the timely delivery of other influence.

4. Tracking Impediments
Kanban-style tracking gives you visual tools to identify impediments (blockers) to progress. If you’re not tracking and recording the organizational anti-racism agenda items and conversations that have been blocked, you’re not being as effectively anti-racist as possible.

5. Forcing Daily Action
Kanban-oriented DEI planning allows you to think of anti-racism as a daily task list where your team is expected to produce tangible results. This forces teams to swarm around blocked tasks to push them thru. White supremacy wants you to wait until tomorrow— don’t fall for it.

Interested in learning more about "shipping" no-bullshit organizational anti-racism commitments as deliberately and precisely as you build software? Contact

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