What is Kanban?

Kanban is a lean method for managing knowledge work with an emphasis on just-in-time delivery while not overloading the team members. It is also called Just-in-time method.

Applying to the process of software development, this resulted in an evolutionary approach in managing and optimizing project flow in regarding to continuously working procedure.

An important task of Kanban is presenting and visualizing existing issues and work load of a project. In this context, the so called KANBAN board plays an important role. The board can be presented as a collection of whiteboard, index cards or sticky notes. Each task is presented by a “card”. The advantage of this approach is to increase transparency in all phase of a project.

Kanban is based on lean principles and especially the pull principles, in which the volume of work is not distributed by a supervisor. The team members can automatically get their work by themselves without causing duplicate work.

The board below shows a standard Kanban board for software development. We see tasks/ issues as individual yellow cards, which are split to each phase of a process. This provides overview of the whole project. On the cards there should be assignee noted and with that every team member know their current position and what they need to do to make the whole process work.

Once an issue is resolved, its card can be move to the next phase with the same or new assignee, depending on assignee’s responsibility. At this point we can also know the capacity of resource pool for better resource management.

Advantage of Kanban – agile method

Transparency

Through the presentation of issues and work on the Kanban board, a better overview is provided on the progress of the project. Kanban board also help identify acute problems early.

Versatile application

Kanban can be used not only in the pure software development. The principle is targeted and effectively implemented in other areas such as maintenance, system administration, marketing or sales.

Compliance

The processing of a limited number of tickets/ cards leads to shorter pass-through time of work packages and thus guarantees a fast well targerted implementation of specific tasks.

Easy to setup and follow

Implementation of Kanban is very easy and simple without much resistance. Kanban itself is easily understandable and comprehensive for all concerned.