What is Kanban?

Wondering what is Kanban?

Kanban is a method for developing software products and processes with an emphasis on just-in-time delivery while not overloading the software developers. It emphasizes that developers pull work from a queue, and the process, from definition of a task to its delivery to the customer, is displayed for participants to see.

The Kanban method is an approach to incremental, evolutionary process change for organizations.

Watch this short presentation to get an idea of what Kanban is in 5 minutes

Kanban aims to Efficiently Deliver Value

One of the key Lean principles is Flow – creating a continuous and predictable delivery stream of Features/Capabilities. Kanban visualizes the Features/Capabilities currently queued and in process, and employs mechanisms aimed at minimizing flow disruptions, wasted effort, and amount of in-process inventory.

Work and Workflow are Made Visible

Activities, Issues and Impediments rise to the surface and are dealt with rather than swept under the carpet.

Work in Process is Limited

Limiting the Work in Process (WIP) encourages key behaviours desired in Lean/Agile environments, e.g.,

  • Remove obstacles rather than ignore them;
  • Focus on running work to completion, rather than inefficient multi-tasking / context-switching.

Kaizen – Evolutionary Improvement is encouraged and incorporated into the life cycle

A rigorous Continuous Improvement regimen encourages removal of Systemic Causes of Problems. Retrospectives, Operational Reviews, Advanced analytics based on Lean, Six Sigma and Queueing Theory Science, all contribute to systemic study and improvement of process performance.

Flexible Language for describing Development/Maintenance Workflows

Kanban can visualize and manage any kind of workflow, usingsemantics such as “Work Types”, “Classes of Service”, “Horizontal SwimmingLanes”, “Tagging”, “Hierarchical Work Types”.

Where to use Kanban

Kanban is used by a wide range of organizations – small, medium and large.

Some key use cases for Kanban are:

  • An evolutionary way to go Agile
  • A next step extending Agile from R&D teams to the entire life cycle/ Value Stream
  • A best-of-breed Agile solution for ultra-fast-changing environmentssuch as IT, Publishing/Broadcasting companies, Product Maintenance activities

To see how we can help you with your Agile process, contact us to schedule a free consultation call:


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