The Kanban Roles and Responsibilities

Kanban is considered as one of the best Agile approaches in the Software & IT industry. Being in use since the 1940s, it has grown best for industrial purposes making the workflow process more precise, accurate, functional, effective and efficient. As Scrum offers the role of Scrum Master, more often we find ourselves questioning whether Kanban offers some specific role for Kanban Management in the workflow process. 

So in this leap of the blog, we’ll be talking about different Kanban Roles, values, work ethics and many more as it quenches your thirst of every arising question related to Kanban roles in your mind. 


Kanban is designed and planned in such a way that it optimises the flow of purpose through values as work passes through every phase of the workflow process. Kanban emphasises on the approach that is effective as well as efficient in every possible manner. It makes a system that creates the speed and efficiency of the delivery with minimum waste and less team overburden, outside of the value stream.

To build approach with the workflow process, two Kanban roles have emerged – Service Request Manager (SRM) and Service Delivery Manager (SDM) for the team who tend to practice the framework of Kanban in their workflow process.

The role of SRM & SDM comes with the exquisite responsibilities yet if to be defined in a simple & short manner it could be phrased as SRM hears to the customer request and SDM oversees the quality of response is delivered. Though this was just a glimpse of the Kanban role, let’s dive in and learn more of both the Kanban roles. As Business Funnel are getting much in demand & use nowadays as it maps out the journey of Customer, Kanban roles make sure Awareness, Interest, Decision & Action being the stages of Business Funnel are implemented effectively for more productive & efficient outreach within the Kanban Management Team. 

Kanban Roles:


Service Request Manager: The Master of Art of Listening

The role of the Service Request Manager asks the individual to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the workflow process, foremost is bridging of the gap between the Business and the customer with the motive to attain Agility Values. Moving more in detail, the Responsibilities of Service Request Manager are as follows.

  • Unleashing the Values that aids the decision-making process:

Prioritisation of work involves the factor of getting feedback from the team, stakeholders, and customers, which eventually helps to prioritise the value. This includes various factors in consideration such as cost of delay, complexity, analysed approach, technical risk market competency and many more, but the prime responsibility of an SRM is to create an environment that brings value to the customers and to the business as well.

By following the underlying values with the predefined set of criteria, the SRM promotes consistency with transparency in the decision-making process that enables the team to become more self-managed & effective.

  • Defining & Maintaining the Process Policies:

Every successful project comes with a clear set of objectives that defines the perspective. The SRM ensures this process by introducing and managing CoS ( Classes of service) that rank work item according to priority. Each class of service serves to promote the underlying business value.

SRM is also responsible for establishing sequencing policies that define how each CoS should interact with each other. The sequencing policies should support the priority level of different CoS.

The SRM makes sure that both the CoS and their sequencing policies are in place with expectations aligned and the team making independent decisions on what they are working on next.

Service Delivery Manager: The Master of the Art of Responding

Every Kanban team needs an SDM who oversees the quality of service delivery, the one who ensures an appropriate response to the demands of the customer. The person in this role helps the team do their work right while focusing on increasing the delivery speed, reducing cost, and shortening the response to the market demand. Moving more in detail, the Responsibilities of Service Delivery Manager are as follows.

  • Configuring the flow of Workflow Process:

 The framework of Kanban asks you & your Kanban team to become more vigilant with the efficiency of the workflow process and how every single task and initiative is flowing on the Kanban board. If you make the Service Delivery Manager an official role in your Kanban team, they will regularly check the Kanban board to make sure that no work item is pending or has been blocked for too long. The Service Request Manager also addresses the topic with the owner regarding if a given task is being delayed more than usual while checking if there’s a problem or chance of risk with some sort and offering help. They make sure that the best Kanban policies are followed by the team members. 

  • Facilitating the Change with Continuous improvement activities:

Continuous improvement with the workflow process is the key to success. The Service Delivery Manager plays a central role in making this happen. Therefore, the person in this Kanban role needs to live and breathe being abided by the desire for achieving excellence.

They need to be involved in such a workflow process that channels the collective strive of improvement with specific activities as a primary stakeholder in meetings and activities such as the Service Delivery Review.

SRM also collects the data about the work items on the Kanban board while discussing it with the team asking questions about the loophole that has been identified as a true root cause for any particular problem, making sure that errors are not repeated more than once

If the SRM has enough experience to do such things, they can even coach the team members on Lean Kanban Methodology & Principles.


Both the Kanban roles play a veritable role in improving the flow of value one delivers. One should aim to introduce these roles in Kanban Teams if team well-accustomed with Kanban Fundamentals.

If implemented and carried out successfully, both SRM and SDM will have a strong effect on the value stream, ensuring the voice of your customer is being heard and duly answered.

However, there are some more roles which are not in practice but can be used for more effective implementation & management of Kanban. Stay tuned, we will get back with those roles to you shortly.

To Learn much & more about Kanban, visit: Lean Kanban University

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Author :

vijay wade

View posts by vijay wade
Vijay is Lean and Kanban evangelist and has improved many product lines and projects using Lean and Kanban practices. He has benefitted many clients by reducing their product cycle times and overall productivity improvements by Kanban and Lean Practices. He has 22+ years of Experience in Agile and Scrum Coach with Technical agility practices and helped many clients on the path of business and organizational agility.

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