Kanban for Pet Shelters

To illustrate how to leverage Kanban for a specific business process, we have created a board template to help pet shelters with their pet adoption process. Based on input from multiple pet shelters, we have mapped out the process from receiving a new pet in the shelter to a successful pet adoption in a forever home.

Kanban Zone Template For Pet Adoption Process 1024x610

Board Columns

As you can see on the Kanban board above, we have represented this 6 step process into 6 columns on the board. Some of these steps (columns) have sub-steps, so we have also created sub-columns on the board. For example, under the “Check Up” step, pet must always get a visit with veterinarian to diagnose any issues. This step has been labelled “Diagnose”, but if the pet has an issue, then the card moves to the column below called “Treat”, so that the pet can receive the proper treatment. These pets under treatment are kept separately from the healthy adoptable pets until they complete a period where the pet is kept under observation, the “Observe” column. On the other hand if the pet has no issues, then the card moves directly from “Diagnose” to “Announce”, so that the pet can join all the other pets ready for adoption.

WIP Limits

Although we did not set any Work-in-Progress (WIP) limits on this board. To fully take advantage of Kanban we expect the pet shelter to set their own WIP limits. For example, if there only one veterinarian, then the WIP limit for the “Diagnose” column should set to 1.  The pet shelters that we visited, allowed for a designated number of pets that can physically be in each room. WIP limits can be set for individual rooms.

These WIP limits are the badges next to the column titles. You can see it on each column that can contain cards. The first number shows the total number of cards in that column, and the second number shows the WIP limit. Because the WIP limits have not been set, we display an infinity symbol.

Card Types

Although we only created two types of cards for cats and dogs. Another type of pet could become the third type of card with its own color label. Leveraging card types will help filter the board by these types, but also provide reporting by type.

Explicit Policies

You will also notice that under each column that can hold cards, there are a few text bullets to explain. What exactly should happen to the card while it’s in this column? These are called explicit agreements to help the users of this board make sure that all the proper steps are completed before moving the card forward.

Improved results

We are looking forward to help many pet shelters improve their pet adoption process. We believe that Kanban can help improve the care of the pets by making the process simple, clear and explicit. Also, we expect the cycle time to decrease and the throughput to increase over time, which is a fancy Kanban way to say that pets should get adopted faster.

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