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Kanban – The Visual Flow

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Kanban is a task management technique that sorts work to be completed according to progressive categories. It is suitable for tasks that can be broken down into small deliverables. Tasks managed by the Kanban technique are visualized on a Kanban Board. Example categories are:

  • To Do, Doing, Done
  • Waiting, In Progress, Complete
  • On Deck, Working, Reviewing, Accepted

A key element in KANBAN are the WIPs, which allow to determine the capacity in each of the phases (stations) of the project, and thus be able to quickly know which bottlenecks are present in the development of the project.

Kanban reveals bottlenecks dynamically

Kanban is incredibly simple, but at the same time incredibly powerful. In its simplest incarnation, a kanban system consists of a big board on the wall with cards or sticky notes placed in columns with numbers at the top.

Limiting work-in-progress reveals the bottlenecks so you can address them. The cards represent work items as they flow through the development process represented by the columns. The numbers at the top of each column are limits on the number of cards allowed in each column.

The limits are the critical difference between a kanban board and any other visual storyboard. Limiting the amount of work-in-progress (WIP), at each step in the process, prevents overproduction and reveals bottlenecks dynamically so that you can address them before they get out of hand.

Geting Started with Kanban

To move your team from visualizing your work to improving your process, you’ll need to:

Map your current workflow

  • Visualize your work
  • Focus on flow
  • Limit your work in process
  • Measure and improve

A Kanban Roadmap can help you transition from basic visualization to a true Kanban system.