Project Management

Kanban Framework – An Introduction

Agile methodology is a process for creating products that adheres to the objectives and guiding principles of the Agile Manifesto. Agile techniques seek to produce the best possible product by establishing small, cross-functional, self-organizing teams that routinely provide manageable portions of the functionality, enabling frequent customer input and necessary course corrections.

A framework called Kanban is applied to Agile initiatives. Since it enables them to effectively manage and oversee their projects, it is one of the most fundamental frameworks that project managers can use. This essay will examine the Kanban framework and how it varies from other agile frameworks.

A popular Lean workflow management technique for developing, overseeing, and improving knowledge work services is kanban. It helps you visualize your task, maximize productivity, and always get better. Kanban boards serve as a representation of the work, allowing you to manage even the most challenging projects centrally while maximizing task delivery across numerous teams.

The Japanese word “kanban” means “visual board” or “sign.” It was created in the late 1940s by a Japanese engineer by the name of Taiichi Ohno, and Toyota employed it as a scheduling system for a method known as just-in-time (JIT) production.

Toyota sought to improve its engineering and production methods. According to corporate leadership, grocery stores used a “pull” manufacturing strategy where they stocked based on expected consumer demand to avoid having too many items on the shelf. As previously said, Toyota decided to pursue this idea of “just-in-time” manufacturing and implemented it at its main plant in 1953. The Kanban process is the consequence of this adaption.

On the other hand, the word “Kanban,” which is capitalized, is well-known and associated with the creation of the “Kanban Method,” which was first developed in 2007.

Kanban – A Pull System

A pull system is a Lean method for managing workflow by swapping out completed work. Given that items are only replenished in vending machines when they run out, they are a perfect illustration of a pull system. Kanban is the ideal tool for this idea.

Kanban is concerned with work states as opposed to Scrum or Agile, which are focused on sprints and iterations. Kanban focuses on dividing work into manageable tasks, visualizing them, and minimizing the amount of effort at each stage. On the Kanban board, work is done from left to right. You select work from the column on your left when you have completed all of your current work assignments or when a pressing assignment comes up. You can enforce this by putting restrictions on work-in-progress.

Principles of the Kanban Framework

Change Management Principles

  • Start with what you’re doing now

With Kanban, you can add the methodology on top of existing workflows, systems, and processes without changing the way things are done now. According to the technique, current practices, roles, duties, and titles are valuable and ought to be maintained. Naturally, it will highlight issues that must be resolved and help in assessing and planning modifications to ensure that they be implemented as painlessly as is practical.

  • Work toward gradual, evolutionary change

The Kanban method aims to face the least amount of resistance possible. It encourages small, gradual, and evolutionary changes to the current process by incorporating collaboration and feedback forms. Large-scale changes are typically avoided since they are frequently met with resistance because of fear or uncertainty.

  • Promote leadership at all levels

People’s everyday observations and actions to improve their working conditions serve as the foundation for leadership at all levels. Every shared observation, no matter how insignificant it may seem, promotes a continuous improvement mindset (Kaizen) to attain the best performance possible for a team, department, or company. There is no way that this is a management-level responsibility.

Service Delivery Principles

  • Pay close attention to the requirements and demands of your clients

The goal of every company should be to deliver value to its clients. The quality of your services and the value you provide are highlighted when you are aware of your clients’ needs and expectations.

  • Plan Your Work

By overseeing the work in your network of services, you provide people the freedom to self-organize around a task. By doing this, you are able to focus on the desired outcomes rather than the “noise” brought on by micromanaging the service providers.

  • Frequently inspect the service network

An ongoing evaluation of a service-oriented strategy is necessary to develop a customer service culture. By performing frequent assessments of the network of services and assessing the current work rules, Kanban promotes the improvement of offered outcomes.

Working of the Kanban Board

The Kanban system depends on the kanban board. It is an application that presents the entire undertaking and enables consumers to track its advancement. Using the graphical format of Kanban boards, a new participant or an external entity can understand what is happening right now, as well as accomplish work and anticipate impending chores.

An agile project management tool called a kanban board is used to visualize work, reduce work-in-progress, and improve flow (or efficiency). It uses cards, columns, and continuous improvement to help the technical and service teams allocate and complete the right amount of work.

The activities move from the leftmost column (future chores) to the rightmost column (finished activities) via links between the separated columns. The concept of Work in Progress is used by the Kanban system to monitor the development of a work cycle. WIP has a predetermined status and a set of parameters.

Limiting WIP to uphold consistent standards is one of the fundamental principles that underpin the Kanban process in Agile. The team must finish the tasks at hand in the designated order.

David Anderson has divided the kanban board into five equal halves. Examples of these include visual cues, columns, constraints on work-in-progress, a commitment point, and a delivery point.

The simplicity of Kanban contributes to its versatility. Both an e-commerce business and a content editor might use it. Any knowledge work scenario can benefit from using kanban, but it’s especially helpful when work arrives unexpectedly or when you want to deliver work as soon as it’s accessible rather than waiting for new work items to arrive. Since you may add tasks to any work stage, Kanban is ideal if your priorities change on the fly and ad hoc activities could happen at any time. It can also be used if there are no iterations.



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