Kanban is a method that enables teams and organizations to visualize their work, and - by doing do - defeat bottlenecks, waste and chaos. It helps to achieve dramatic improvements in terms of throughput, lead time and quality, in almost any business function.
The Kanban method dates back to the first half of the 20th century. Taiichi Ohno has applied the Kanban logic
in Toyota Production System (TPS), in 1950s. His aim was to support non-centralized, “pull” production control.
In 1970s, Kanban was popularized in the manufacturing industry. In following years, many management experts have found its applicability beyond the manufacturing industry as well.
A new, groundbreaking application of Kanban emerged around 2005. Kanban has been successfully applied
to intellectual work, especially to software development processes. The pioneers of this movement were David
J. Anderson, Jim Benson, Corey Ladas and others.
How does Kanban work?
A picture is worth a thousand words. Our brains process visual information 60 000 times faster than text. Furthermore, data
in an image form is far easier for us to remember. Kanban helps people to benefit from the power of visual information. By using sticky notes on a whiteboard, you are able to map your workload and obtain an incredible visibility of processes. This simple method allows for tracking workflow and productivity within your team. On top of this, it makes team goals and company policies easier to understand for everyone, and significantly improve communication between team members.
Unlike many other methods, Kanban incorporates an evolutionary approach, that is all about gradually implementing small, but meaningful improvements into an organization's current process. This makes Kanban an easy and increasingly popular tool for managing any type
A recipe for Kanban?
A Kanban-based process is designed to help teams work together more effectively. To get the most out of it, you need to know 5 simple principles:
- Visualize your workflow and agenda using a Kanban board and cards.
- Limit the amount of work in progress to avoid multitasking.
- Manage the flow of work, and monitor performance, in order to implement necessary improvements, and fix problems as and when they occur.
- Set own rules and guidelines for your work.
- Improve continuously and collaboratively, using scientific models such as: The Theory of Constraints, The System
of Profound Knowledge or Lean Economic Model.
Unique Kanban characteristics
Kanban varies from Scrum and other Agile methodologies. Learn the most important differences:
Kanban represents reality over an ideal. It helps to manage your current workflow, not just plan what you want
to do in the future. Kanban supports your completion of work in progress more, than starting new work on top
of ongoing tasks. Kanban allows to manage your process at every single stage, from initial idea to production, it's not only for the development part.
What is a Kanban board and how to start using it?
A Kanban board is a web-based application, that allows you to visualize and manage your workflow, share tasks
and collaborate in real-time within the team. Now, it is even more powerful, as it provides a Time Tracking feature with insightful Time Reports, that enable you to monitor what your team is working on, and how effectively.
Start a free Kanban board trial today, to experience an outstanding improvement and extreme productivity.