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Aspects of Kanban

by Karl Scotland
Karl Scotland explains the concept of Kanban system for software development. He identifies important aspects from which Kanban systems can be viewed in order to understand and improve an overall organization's delivery capability: workflow, visualization, work in process, cadence and continuous improvement. This article gives a deep insight into those areas and their implications on Kanban system.

In software development “workflow” reflects the way the value flows from business to customer and the way customer's response impacts the system. The workflow can be recognized by a Value Stream Mapping which stands for visualizing the process of delivering value by a sequence of work stages. With this article you will learn how to map the process and optimize the workflow.

The second aspect of Kanban system is the visualization. The author states that Kanban provides means by which the work and workflow can be visualized and which are powerful tools for increasing process transparency. The author explains the principles and practices of creating and using Kanban board. It outlines the positive impact of Kanban boards on team's motivation and performance.

In the third paragraph Karl Scotland describes Work in Progress. Kanban is a pull system in which Work In Process and Work In Progress Limits are core regulators. They help to keep a balance between capacity and demand through the value stream. The author describes the importance of WIP limits in improving Kanban system efficiency. He clarifies how productivity can be measured by using Cycle Time and boosted by setting accurate WIP limits. To provide readers with a better understanding of the Work in Progress concept the author includes the explanation of two associated theories: Littles Law for Queuing Theory and Traffic Flow Theory.

Finally, the cadence can be defined as a mechanism that helps to predict capacity and that ensures the proper work coordination. The author discovers different approaches to work harmonization. The last aspect is named Continuous Improvement - an integral part of Kanban systems in which team constantly learns and develops to achieve organizational goals. Kart Scotland presents two approaches to Continuous Improvement: by reducing WIP limits and by implementing Kaizen method. In the end the author shows the important implications of those five aspects of Kanban system.
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