- kanban is a method for managing knowledge work with an emphasis on just-in-time delivery while not overloading the team members
- with kanban, the process, from definition of a task to its delivery to the customer, is displayed for participants to see and team members pull work from a queue
- kanban can be divided into two parts:
- a visual process management system that tells what to produce, when to produce it, and how much to produce
- the Kanban method – an approach to incremental, evolutionary process improvement for organizations
- kanban is a lean process visualization for Just in Time,JIT, production [@masterscrum, 2014, source 2]
who developed kanban
- kanban originates from Japanese, and translates roughly as "signboard" or "billboard"
- the kanban method as formulated by David J. Anderson is an approach to incremental, evolutionary process and systems change for organizations
- kanban uses a work-in-progress limited pull system as the core mechanism to expose system operation (or process) problems and stimulate collaboration to continuously improve the system
- theory of constraints [wikipedia 2014, source 1]
- deming system of profound knowledge [wikipedia 2014, source 1]
- lean it [wikipedia 2014, source 1]
- search pinterest for 'kanban' [pinterest 2014]
kanban's 6 core practices
- The workflow of knowledge work is inherently invisible
- Visualising the flow of work and making it visible is core to understanding how work proceeds
- Without understanding the workflow, making the right changes is harder
- A common way to visualise the workflow is to use a card wall with cards and columns
- The columns on the card wall representing the different states or steps in the workflow.
2 Limit WIP
- Limiting work-in-process implies that a pull system is implemented on parts or all of the workflow.
- The pull system will act as one of the main stimuli for continuous, incremental and evolutionary changes to your system.
- The pull system can be implemented as a kanban system, a CONWIP system, a DBR system, or some other variant.
- The critical elements are that work-in-process at each state in the workflow is limited and that new work is “pulled” into the new information discovery activity when there is available capacity within the local WIP limit.
3 Manage flow
- The flow of work through each state in the workflow should be monitored, measured and reported.
- By actively managing the flow the continuous, incremental and evolutionary changes to the system can be evaluated to have positive or negative effects on the system.
4 Make policies explicit
- Until the mechanism of a process is made explicit it is often hard or impossible to hold a discussion about improving it
- Without an explicit understanding of how things work and how work is actually done, any discussion of problems tends to be emotional, anecdotal and subjective.
- With an explicit understanding it is possible to move to a more rational, empirical, objective discussion of issues.
- This is more likely to facilitate consensus around improvement suggestions.
5 Implement feedback loops
- Collaboration to review flow of work and demand versus capability measures, metrics and indicators coupled with anecdotal narrative explaining notable events is vital to enabling evolutionary change
- Organizations that have not implemented the second level of feedback - the operations review - have generally not seen process improvements beyond a localized team level
- As a result, they have not realized the full benefits of Kanban observed elsewhere.
6 Improve collaboratively, evolve experimentally (using models and the scientific method)
- The Kanban method encourages small continuous, incremental and evolutionary changes that stick
- When teams have a shared understanding of theories about work, workflow, process, and risk, they are more likely to be able to build a shared comprehension of a problem and suggest improvement actions which can be agreed by consensus.
- The Kanban method suggests that a scientific approach is used to implement continuous, incremental and evolutionary changes
- The method does not prescribe a specific scientific method to use.