Lean Kanban University – The Beginning?

Lean Kanban University (LKU) has now opened it’s doors for business.

This past week they announced the formation of the first-ever Accredited Kanban Training Program to address the growing demand for high quality training in the Kanban Method.

“The Lean-Kanban University Accredited Kanban Training Program exists to provide confidence to consumers about the quality of the Kanban training that they will receive. The program establishes the quality of Kanban training based on the status of 1) the organization, 2) the individual trainer, and 3) the training curriculum. Member organizations, their trainers and their training curriculums must meet the established criteria in all three areas in order to call their Kanban training “accredited” under the terms of the program.”

“As demand for Kanban grows, consumers worldwide will benefit from trusted Kanban training delivered by our member firms,” said David J. Anderson, the newly-appointed CEO of Lean-Kanban University.”

A friend sent me the PR news clip about this but also included a link to Diploma Mills along with it… possibly to instigate me to write about it in a negative light. As a reporting organization, we write to tell the news, to enlighten people to things going on in the software development community. We report. You decide.

What do you think? Is the community ready for another certification program or diploma to show expertise?

21 Replies to “Lean Kanban University – The Beginning?”

      1. A higher educational establishment would need to be externally accredited in most regions/countries to become a University.
        “Lean Kanban University” has not been. They should not be using the word “University” in their branding.

        That they then go on to refer to their course as “accredited” is also disturbing. The normal meaning of the word (OED) would imply the involvement of a third party:

        “(of an official body) give authority or sanction to (someone or something) when recognized standards have been met”

        I’m not sure that accrediting yourself serves any purpose other than to make yourself look ridiculous.

        1. Would be interesting to know how they are able to use those words ‘officially.’ I mean, if they are… then I guess its… legit? Or, maybe as you said, it’s a bit over the top?

          1. In the United States, they can get away with the word “University”. As far as can they get away with “accredited” that would depend on the states, afaik.

            In other countries use of the word University itself is illegal, without official govt’ recognition.

            How they view accredited varies by country/etc.

            Considering how many countries they are operating in, it seems they may be taking legal risks.

            Legalities aside, it’s hard to see why they would choose University and Accredited when there were so many other words in the dictionary to choose from, if they had other than deceptive intent.


    1. I agree. I feel it’s disrespectful to everyone who got a real degree from a real university. I went to Carnegie-Mellon — I really resent LKU calling itself a “University”. It’s a slap in the face of everyone who worked hard and excelled — to get into a real school.


  1. I’ve mailed them for some clarification, and suggested that others in the community may like to hear their response:

    See my letter to them:

    Open Letter to “Lean Kanban University”

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    I’m a full-time Scrum Master working at Lunar Logic Polska. I use scrum and kanban regularly at work, and I am keen to develop my knowledge.

    I heard of “Lean Kanban University” via Twitter and am interested to hear that there is now a University specializing in lean and kanban. I am keen to learn more about LKU and wonder if you could answer some questions I have?

    1) What degrees do you award?

    2) Who have you been externally accredited by in order to earn the title ‘University’?

    3) You offer an accredited kanban training program – for the avoidance of doubt, please could you confirm to me how this was accredited and by whom?

    I would be most grateful to hear your response. Thank you in advance!

    John Cieslik-Bridgen

    (sent 27th February 2012)

    It may be worth others mailing Info@LeanKanbanUniversity.com to show them that there is interest in this.

      1. I’ll be interested to see if they respond at all; and if they do if it’s with substance and reason or platitudes and fog machines.


        1. From David: http://agilemanagement.net/index.php/Blog/18_firms_join_together_to_put_standards_into_kanban_training1/

          What does this make Lean Kanban University now?
          At one level LKU is a standards body. At this time is has defined only one standard, the curriculum for a 2-day class in the Kanban method. We may choose to create additional programs and define additional standards in future. We have loosely discussed standards for Kanban tracking software and standards for games and simulations as well as standards for metrics and an agreed dictionary or glossary of terms. All of these things may help improve quality in communicating and using Kanban. They may also provide additional signals that more conservative mainstream market adopters are looking for. Standards provide reassurance. Our approach with standards is always to define a minimal core and to allow each individual member firm to innovate and differentiate their own offerings.

          LKU is also an open, global, corporate university. It is not trying to be an academic institution offering doctorate level degrees. Instead it is modeled on corporate universities such as those at McDonald’s, Disney and Toyota and on consortia of training firms where they seek to offer similar training to similar standards around the world. LKU will define curriculum and publish those publicly. It will also use the gravitas of its membership, incorporating the throught leaders, intellectual property creators, and pioneers of Kanban in the field of knowledge work and service industries, to assure the quality and appropriateness of corporate training in the Kanban Method.

          There are currently no plans to create an academic institution though a research program involving academic institutions may be possible in future.

          1. It’s gravitas eh?

            Really now. Modeled after Hamburger University. Impressive!

            Is McDonald’s Hamburger University also offering accredited training?


          2. I’d really like to see all their success stories that they have the gravitas to accredit other trainers in this new method


  2. Pingback: Lean Kanban University – The Beginning? | Agile | Syngu
  3. Pingback: Lean Kanban University — Accredited by Noone | Jordan Bortz's Software Architecture Blog
  4. It’s an odd shingle for someone like David to hang his reputation on. While I am sure, as a consultant group, they have what it takes, it is a long way from a university.

    The odd part is that David is both able and qualified to contribute to academic journals and position himself as an agile scholar, but he chooses not to.

    Considering the incredible need for academic contributions to PM theory it is sad to see him short change himself and others who take scholarship seriously. It is hard work to build contributions to the A-list journals but with the inroads made by scientists like Josef Oehman at MIT (http://lean.mit.edu/) in the adoption of Lean it is where David (and you Peter) belong.

    There is so much real work to do to solve our project problems and build out the bedrock of pm theory.

    Adding another certification would be ok if we were tradesmen but we are not. We need much more than it offers. For the trades like carpenters and plumbers who need special skills for specific problems it solves a construction issue.

    However, project managers need the expertise required of doctors to help stop the bleeding in this field. That means making real contributions to scholarship in real journals and participating in real universities so we can make professionals in this discipline. We need the theory and its integration into our practices for us to help make things hum along. (In case you’re interested you can check this out for a deeper discussion: Int. J. Product Development, Vol. 6, No. 2, 2008, p 177 – 189)

    I hope David backs away from this shingle and takes his focus to places where real higher learning is in want of his contributions.

    1. Thanks for the response David! It does seem interesting that some of the luminaries would hang their hat on this. Maybe we’re all missing something here…

  5. There is a new Kanban Resources base created by KanbanTool Team – Kanban Library http://www.kanbanlibrary.com/. It offers a huge number of links to blogs, posts, articles, presentations and books about Kanban, Scrum, lean and agile methodologies. In my opinion – worth a look.

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