kanban

Kanban: 4 principles

When teams are asked to work together to analyze problems and design solutions, the quality is higher – David J. Anderson

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kanban infographic

What is Kanban?

Kanban is a flexible agile method that is used to manage workflow. It was originally developed in Japan by Toyota engineers.
 
Roughly translated into Japanese, Kanban means “card that you can see”.
 
The major benefit for teams using Kanban is the elimination of multi-tasking and big piles of work yet to be started. This is achieved by setting a limit on the amount of work allowed to be in progress at one time.
 
Kanban is based on a “pull” rather than a “push” system which also eliminates work build-up. This works by team members pulling work from the to-do list only when they have the capacity to do so.
 
Kanban encourages the use of whiteboards, sticky notes, coloured markers and symbols. Because of the visual nature of Kanban, another benefit is that it ensures everyone is kept up-to-date with the entire team’s work, instead of just their own. This, in turn, promotes collaboration between team members.




Who uses Kanban?

Kanban is so versatile that it can be used by anyone, for anything! Some people even use Kanban to manage their household chores. It is particularly useful for work that requires frequent delivery, such as software maintenance.

Why should I use Kanban?

Here are just some of the benefits of using Kanban to manage your workflow:

  • You will be able to prioritise and have more control over your workload
  • You will be able to see what your team is working on, what they have finished, what they will start next and vice versa
  • The collaborative nature of Kanban can help to boost team morale, providing a sense of unity and achievement
  • Kanban promotes smooth workflow and constant improvement
  • By limiting the work in progress, you will experience an increase in focus

To gain an understanding of the 4 principles and get started with Kanban, take a look at the graphic aside!
 

Simon Buehring
Simon Buehring is the founder and Managing Director of Knowledge Train, an accredited PRINCE2 training organization based in London, UK. For over 25 years, Simon has worked as a project manager for a wide range of organizations, both in the UK and internationally, including the BBC, HSBC and IBM.

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