Businesses today encounter numerous difficulties in maintaining a seamless operation. To adapt to changing client expectations and stay competitive, your business has to come up with new ways to streamline their operations and maximize their resource allocation. The Kanban methodology is one of these novel approaches. So what is Kanban methodology and does the Kanban methodology entail? How will it help your company? You’ll discover the fundamentals of the Kanban Methodology, along with its concepts and practices, in the chapters that follow.
Table of Contents
What is Kanban methodology?
Kanban is considered as a framework that falls under the Agile methodology. So is Kanban a framework or methodology? In fact, the terms framework and methodology are frequently used interchangeably, and they have almost fused over time. Although it was originally thought of as a framework, calling Kanban a methodology is not a mistake.
Therefore, Kanban methodology is an agile strategy that aspires for continual improvement, task management flexibility, and improved workflow. It enables you to visualize your job, increase productivity, and continuously improve. Agile kanban methodology boards represent work, allowing you to maximize job delivery across many teams and handle even the most complicated projects in a single environment. The progress of the entire project may be clearly comprehended using this illustrative technique.
Kanban was first used in manufacturing to regulate inventory throughout the supply chain, as part of a process known as just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing. In project management, the Kanban methodology applies the same notion by guaranteeing that the amount of required work is proportional to the team’s work capabilities.
How does Kanban methodology work?
The Kanban methodology relies upon the kanban board. It is a tool that visualizes the entire project in order to follow the progress of their project. A new member or an external entity can comprehend what’s going on right now, completed tasks, and future tasks by using the graphical style of Kanban boards.
The Kanban board displays: present tasks being finished, tasks to be completed in the future, and completed tasks.
Benefits of Kanban model in software engineering
Kanban is a common software development methodology used by agile teams nowadays. Kanban model in software engineering adds significant benefits to task planning and throughput for teams of all sizes.
1. Planning flexibility
The planning flexibility kanban team is solely concerned with work that is currently in process. When the team completes a task, they move on to the next task on the backlog. Because any modifications outside of the current work items have no influence on the team, the product owner is free to reprioritize work in the backlog without interrupting the team. The development team feels confident that they are delivering maximum value to the business as long as the product owner keeps the most important work items. As a result, there is no requirement for the fixed-length iterations found in scrum.
2. Shorter time intervals
For kanban teams, cycle time is a critical parameter. The length of time it takes for a unit of work to transit through the team’s workflow – from the time work begins to the time it ships – is referred to as cycle time. By reducing cycle time, the team can better estimate future job delivery.
Shorter cycle times result from overlapping skill sets. When a skill set is held by only one individual, that person becomes a bottleneck in the workflow. To help distribute knowledge, teams use basic best practices such as code review and mentorship. Shared skills enable team members to handle a variety of tasks, thus reducing cycle time. It also implies that if there is a work slowdown, the entire team can converge on it to re-establish a fluid workflow. For instance, QA engineers don’t always carry out testing. Developers contribute as well.
In a Kanban framework, it is the duty of the entire team to guarantee that work is progressing without interruption.
3. Decreased bottlenecks
Efficiency suffers when multitasking. Context switching increases with the number of work items active at once, which slows down their progress. Reduce the amount of work in progress as a result, which is a core premise of the kanban method (WIP). Limits on work-in-progress show where the team’s workflow is slowed down or blocked by a shortage of resources (people, skills, or focus).
4. Visible metrics
A strong emphasis on enhancing team effectiveness and efficiency with each iteration of work is one of the key values. Charts give teams a visual way to monitor their progress. Finding process bottlenecks is simpler when the team can examine the data (and remove them). Control charts and cumulative reports are two commonly used reports by kanban teams.
5. Continuous supply
The practice of often distributing work to consumers is known as continuous delivery (CD). The process of automatically creating and testing code in small increments throughout the day is known as continuous integration (CI). Together, they make up a CI/CD pipeline that development teams—especially DevOps teams—need to ship high-quality software more quickly.
Because both methodologies emphasize the just-in-time (and one-at-a-time) delivery of value, Kanban and CD make a wonderful pair. The more quickly a team can bring new ideas to market, the more competitive their product will be. Kanban teams concentrate on just that: improving the distribution of work to consumers.
The principles of Kanban model
The foundation of the Kanban technique is its guiding concepts and procedures. The following are the fundamental tenets of the Kanban method:
Begin with the existing workflow
Making incremental, minor adjustments is emphasized in the Kanban framework. The team must therefore start with the current workflow and continually enhance it.
Specify the duties that remain
The team needs to be aware of its own limitations and set a WIP cap appropriately. Overcommitting will only result in time loss and will be detrimental to the project.
Observe the obligations and functions
The fact that Kanban does not necessitate a total reorganization of an organization’s current work culture is a key factor in its success. Because they are uncomfortable with change, many businesses reject current approaches. With Kanban, productivity is increased while remaining within the constraints of the current setup.
Encourage leadership at all levels
Even the smallest tasks in project management approaches like the traditional method require project manager clearance. Kanban gives the person completing the task the freedom to decide how to proceed. Future leaders who consistently learn from their errors and enhance their job are developed in this way.
6 best practices of Agile Kanban methodology
- Consider visualizing the workflow. Kanban necessitates the use of a physical or virtual board to depict how workflows progress from one stage to the next.
- Work in progress should be limited. Each project team must establish a limit for the number of tasks that can be in each stage of the process at the same time. If you have five reviewers, you can limit the “Review” step to only five jobs at a time.
- Manage the workflow actively. Your major responsibility as a project manager is to monitor the workflow for bottlenecks and make adjustments to remove obstacles and improve efficiency.
- Make procedure guidelines. Have clearly established instructions on how to complete tasks, what “done” implies, and so on. This can be a checklist in each column or on each “card” explaining what is needed to progress to the next step.
- Make use of feedback loops. Use tools and processes to encourage early and ongoing feedback. This can include numerous review stages as well as reports and indicators that communicate performance.
- Evolve. Adapting, changing, and refining your processes is encouraged, as it is with other Agile frameworks. Concentrate on creating and executing minor adjustments that will improve your workflow and processes.
When should we use Kanban methodology in project management?
Kanban’s adaptability stems from its simplicity. It integrates with your current workflows and adheres to your existing roles and responsibilities. It is applicable regardless of industry. It could be used by a content editor as well as an e-Commerce company.
Kanban process flow can be utilized in any knowledge work scenario, but it is especially useful when work arrives in an unpredictable manner and/or when you want to deploy work as soon as it is ready, rather than waiting for other work items to be completed.
Kanban is best suited if your priorities change on the fly and ad hoc jobs occur at any time, as you can add tasks to any work stage. When there are no iterations, it can also be used.
What is a Kanban board?
The Kanban board is a physical or virtual board that depicts your project’s workflow and how tasks go through it from start to finish. A Kanban board guarantees that the process is standardized and that team members can quickly see where each activity fits into the bigger picture. The simplest Kanban board contains three workflows: To Do, In Progress, and Complete. Columns, however, can be added or altered to fit your project.
Each task is represented as a “card” and is placed on the board in the column that corresponds to its current stage of completion. The card is transferred throughout the workflow as tasks progress. Each card will have task-related information, such as:
- A brief explanation
- The name of the person in charge
- Estimated time required for Requirements to advance to the next step
- Other data such as links to important publications and supporting files may be included in virtual cards.
Kanban and Scrum
The primary distinction between Kanban and Scrum is that the former is a process, whilst the latter is a framework. Scrum organizes work in Sprints, but Kanban creates a continuous delivery model in which teams provide value as soon as they are ready. Using either one depends on the nature of your process; however, Kanban provides a more tailored approach, whereas Scrum relies on established principles. Another significant difference between the two is the attitude and fundamental belief systems of Scrum and Kanban.
|Nature||Kanban is a flexible method.||Scrum is a methodical framework.|
|Principles||1. Begin with what you are doing right now.
2. Agree to seek evolutionary change;
3. Encourage acts of leadership at all levels;
4. Focus on the needs of the consumer.
5. Manage the work
6. Review the service network on a regular basis
|Cadences||– Cadences at the team level
– Customer-focused cadences
|– Sprint with a fixed length
– Sprint planning
– Daily Scrum
– Sprint Review
– Sprint Retrospective
|Roles||– Service Delivery Manager*
– Service Request Manager*
(*no pre-defined roles are nescessary)
|– Product Owner
– Scrum Master
– Development Team
|Metrics||– Cycle Time
– Work In Progress
– Planned Capacity
Some important term related to Kanban
At its core, Kanban methodology in project management is a working method that aids in maximizing the flow of value through your value streams, from ideation to customer. Kanban is more than just visualizing your work, despite the fact that it appears to be a simple method of streamlining your work processes. If you want to use the Kanban technique effectively, you must be meticulous and knowledgeable with the fundamental words and objects.
Here is a quick glossary of Kanban terms to get you going.
- Kanban card: On a Kanban board, various work items are represented by cards. They include crucial information about the tasks, like the description, due date, size, assignees, etc.
- Columns: The Kanban board is divided vertically into columns, each of which represents a particular stage of the workflow. The three default columns on every Kanban board are Requested, In Progress, and Done. These three stages can be further subdivided into numerous smaller sub-columns depending on the intricacy of a work process.
- Swimlanes: Horizontal lanes that divide a Kanban board into pieces are known as swimlanes. They are used by teams to visually divide different types of work on the same board and to group homogeneous jobs together.
- Cycle Time: Cycle time begins when a new task enters the “in progress” stage of your workflow and someone is really working on it.
- Lead Time: Lead time begins when a new job is requested (regardless of whether or not someone is really working on it) and ends when it is finally removed from the system.
- Throughput: The number of work items that travel through (are finished) a system or process in a given time period. Throughput is an important metric of how productive your team is over time.
- Work in Progress (WIP): The amount of work you are currently working on that has not yet been completed.
- WIP limits: Restricting work in progress entails limiting the amount of tasks your team can work on at the same time in order to minimize overburdening and context switching.
- Classes of Service: A set of policies that assist Agile teams in prioritizing work items and projects.
- Kanban Cadences: Periodic meetings that promote evolutionary development and “fit-for-purpose” service delivery.
- Kanban software: A digital system that enables the practical application of Kanban techniques and principles by teams and organizations of all sizes.
As such, by exposing bottlenecks, focusing a company on resolving them, and eliminating their effects in the future, Kanban can help you build a highly collaborative, high-trust, highly empowered, and continuously improving company. If you’re planning on adopting the Kanban methodology in agile, make sure you set up and customize your workflow and processes to fit the unique needs of your team.