Kanban, a term that has its roots in the Japanese word for “signboard” or “billboard,” has evolved into a powerful tool for workflow management and organizational efficiency. This Agile methodology is adored for its simplicity and effectiveness in various industries, and particularly in software development. However, even with the simplest tools, it’s the people behind them that drive real progress and change. Therefore, understanding Kanban roles is crucial for anyone looking to implement or improve their Kanban system.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the essential Kanban roles, shedding light on the responsibilities and contributions of each to the project’s success. This article is tailored for project managers, agile enthusiasts, and anyone who’s keen to deepen their understanding of Kanban roles within their teams.

Product Owner

The Product Owner is a vital role especially in setups where Kanban is used alongside Scrum principles. They are responsible for defining the value of work items and prioritizing the backlog. It’s their duty to keep the customer’s vision aligned with the team’s work.

Service Delivery Manager (SDM)

Sometimes referred to as the Flow Manager, the SDM focuses on ensuring the smooth flow of work through the Kanban system. They manage blockages, facilitate meetings, and work on enhancing the overall efficiency of the workflow.

Service Request Manager (SRM)

The SRM is typically tasked with managing incoming work requests. By understanding the customer’s needs and the team’s capabilities, they prioritize requests and add them to the backlog accordingly, acting as a bridge between the customer’s demands and the team’s work queue.

Kanban Team Members

These are the individuals on the front lines, doing the actual work. In a Kanban system, every team member should have a clear understanding of the Kanban method, be committed to the team’s policies, and actively participate in continuous improvement practices.

Kanban Coaches

Kanban Coaches are integral in organizations adopting Kanban. They provide training, best practices, and continuous support to all the other roles. Their goal is to ensure smooth adoption and ongoing proficiency in the Kanban method.


While not directly involved in the day-to-day operation of the Kanban system, stakeholders have a vested interest in the work being done. It’s key for Kanban teams to keep stakeholders informed and, when needed, integrate their feedback into the workflow to align with broader business objectives.

Understand that while these roles are defined here individually, in many Kanban settings, one person may take on multiple roles or share responsibilities with others, emphasizing the adaptability of Kanban in various organizational structures.


Understanding and effectively filling the Kanban roles are key ingredients in the recipe for a successful Kanban practice. Each role has unique responsibilities, yet they all share the common goal of enhancing flow, increasing transparency, and delivering value.

If you’re a project manager or an agile enthusiast exploring Kanban, embracing these roles and their nuances can propel your team towards unmatched productivity and a strong, collaborative working environment. Remember, in Kanban, it’s not just about moving sticky notes across a board—it’s about the collective effort of roles, responsibilities, and continuous improvement.

We hope this guide has provided valuable insights into Kanban roles and will assist you in optimizing your team’s potential. Implement these practices, and watch your team achieve streamlined workflows and high-quality outcomes with what can only be described as Kanban magic.

As you consider taking on or enhancing your role within a Kanban framework, it’s worth noting that AgileFever offers a suite of Kanban certifications that serve as an excellent starting point. These certifications are meticulously designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills necessary for mastering Kanban roles. By investing in this education, you immerse yourself in a structured learning path that paves the way to practical proficiency. Whether you’re new to the field or looking to polish your existing Kanban practice, AgileFever’s certifications can be a catalyst in your journey towards becoming an invaluable asset to any team employing the Kanban methodology.