My colleague Adam Light and I have been using the Improvement Kata in software development, primarily in IT groups.
The Improvement Kata needed some modification to work in software development, where the value stream is more heterogenous than in manufacturing, but overall I was quite pleased with the results. The Improvement Kata starts from the value stream perspective rather than the individual team perspective, so there’s much less risk of making changes that speed up an individual team but slow down the overall value stream. And Improvement Kata planning is fundamentally Agile, taking one small step at a time and learning from each step rather than planning a huge change project upfront, which deals very well with all the unknowns inherent in process improvement.
To read about our adventures with the Improvement Kata, and a link to Hakan Forss’ excellent work, see http://kiberle.com/2016/02/15/what-is-the-improvement-kata/
Hoping to hear from someone else who’s used this method!