Kanban methodology which was introduced by an industrial engineer Taiichi Ohno in the late 1940s. At the beginning, the purpose of this methodology was to increase the productivity of Toyota Production System by eliminating wastes. The Japanese word kanban (看板) means visual (kan) card (ban). Kanban cards are used in the Toyota plants to guide the lean production.
The Main Principles of the Kanban Methodology
Kanban is a methodology of organizing work and workflow by increasing visualization with Kanban cards. The keystone of Kanban methodology cards is to reduce the amount of work in progress. It eliminates wastes generating from complexity and context switching and encourages collaboration to improve the system.
Kanban methodology aims an efficient change management system and the customer and stakeholder satisfaction. Below are the basic practices of Kanban
– Visualize the Workflow
– Limit the Work in Progress
– Manage Flow
– Make Policies Explicit
– Improve Collaboratively
Kanban board is a tool to visualize the workflow and optimize it by promoting the participation of the team. Digital boards can be used as well as physical boards for visualizing and optimizing the workflow.
Work items and tasks move from left to right and each step represents the situation of the task.
Basically a Kanban Board has three steps;
– To Do
– In Progress
Additional steps such as In Development, In testing, Planned can be added to the Kanban board based of the requirements. Unlike Scrum boards, Kanban boards may involve many teams and even the whole organization.
Just like other project management methodologies, Kanban has some advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of the Kanban Methodology
– Promotes transparency
– Promotes Agile workflow
– Promotes participation of the team
– Reduces waste
– Increases productivity
– Increases customer satisfaction
– Allows flexibility
Disadvantages of the Kanban Methodology
– It requires a dynamic environment.
– It requires an effective real time communication system.
– Kanban board must be viewed by the team constantly
– Necessary actions should be taken quickly for the Kanban cards. Because outdated cards cause defects and problems.
– Cards and categories may cause complexity.
– It is not applicable to all the industries and projects.
Kanban methodology increases productivity by decreasing the number of tasks and wastes. Necessary actions are taken simultaneously while performing many tasks at the same time. Kanban is a common framework used to implement agile software development. Real time communication and transparency plan important roles in this methodology.