Kanban - It's Easy to Get Startedoriginally written by J.D. Meier
Our summary and key takeaways
Kanban, with its process visualization and WIP limits, allows to optimize the cycle time (how long the team spends on completing one item). It facilitates bottlenecks detection and resolution, encourages process perfecting and raising the quality of work, throughout the process.
J.D. Meier takes us through how he got involved with Kanban, which is - by jumping right into it. He begun by recognizing the basic steps of his process. He then went on to identify the task types, that he comes across in his work. Depending on what you do, these might be anything from user story, bug, idea, feature, document preparation, emails, meetings etc. As long as you make a clear division between the item types, you'll get a better view into what's in need of doing. Kanban doesn't ask you to make up the way the process should be, the only thing you need to do is create a visual board that will represent what you already are doing.
Work in progress limit
The point of doing Kanban is putting an end to multitasking by applying WIP limits. If you're having trouble deciding on a good limit to start with, it's advisable to begin small. Allow for just 3 items to be worked on simultaneously, check how quickly your team can deliver this and how many people remain idle. For now, maybe they can be used in some other stages of the process?
As time goes on, you may find a different WIP limit more suitable, the point is to begin small, for adjustments - there is always time in Kanban.
J.D. was asked what were the main issues during the Kanban test and was then asked to make a checklist of things to review and look out for to be placed in each stage column, for everyone to check items against. This proved brilliant, mainly because of the fact that it sat on the board, unmissable and easy to perform. This begun the continuous improvement process quickly.
The greatest part of doing Kanban is the ability to forever be improving the process. This results with having a progress board tailored to the team's needs and requirements. And even if with time it turns out that Kanban wasn't the answer, it is certainly a great place to start the improvements.