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What is Kanban, and what are its benefits

  • Methodologies

Within the universe of Agile Methodologies, we can work with several frameworks. One of them is Kanban, pointed out as one of the most used methods by the 10th annual report of the agile state. And that’s what we’re going to talk about in this article.

What is the Kanban Method

Kanban is a set of concepts and practices for a practical and evolutionary approach to organizational maturity improvement.

It was first developed within the Toyota Production System in the 70s by the manager of the Toyota company in Japan, Taiichi Ohno, to have a production system different from conventional mass production.

According to Ohno himself, Kanban was conceived in this period because of the following factor: “the main concern was how to produce high-quality goods and help cooperating companies. After 1995, however, the question became how to produce the exact amount needed. So, after the oil crisis, we started teaching foreign companies how to produce using the Kanban system.”

Given the scenario described, the Toyota Production System is based on the “Just in Time” concept: a process based on eliminating waste and delivering products efficiently and effectively. The main objectives of Just in time are continuous improvement and the continued attack on waste through quality and flexibility.

Kanban uses visual process maps and limiting rules to move work items, where team members can collaborate and organize to build the workflow and evolve the process continuously.

Kanban intends to ensure that production processes occur efficiently, effectively, and towards clients’ expectations.

Kanban benefits

Kanban is one of the most used frameworks by those looking to implement Agile Methodologies. But there are excellent reasons for this. Check out the benefits of Kanban:

● Pull System

Activities in progress are limited, and items in progress must exit before new items enter. The process becomes “pulled” by opening capacity rather than “pushed,” which occurs when capacity is ignored.

● Collaboration to make workflow

Visibility and “pull” flow stimulate new models of team collaboration, and it organizes itself to shape the workflow. Then, a continuous flow of value delivery is created, turning the work system leaner and more predictable and adaptable.

● Continuous Improvement

The workflow map, combined with the frequent conversations linked to it, makes the work environment more receptible to changes and open to experiment new ways of working.

These experiments work as a kind of “natural selection.” We absorb the practices, rules, and behaviors that actually work while eliminating those that prove ineffective.

● Metrics

Closely linked to the issue of “continuous improvement,” metrics are essential to be able to assess whether a change has led to an improvement or not.

Here is the quote: “you cannot improve what you cannot measure .”Therefore, in Kanban projects, teams must adopt metrics to evaluate the evolution of the model. Two examples of Kanban metrics:

Average lead time: This is the time, usually in days, from the beginning of a story to its delivery.

Throughput: It is the number of tasks delivered in a given time.

It’s worth noting that you don’t have to – and shouldn’t – stick to the Kanban method or follow its rules down to the smallest detail. There are many ways to boost software development processes, so our tip is that you consider the unique aspects of your business to choose the methodology that best suits your environment.

Before taking the final decision, read some books on Kanban and talk to experts on the subject to see in practice how Agile Methodologies work.

If you are in the process of implementing Kanban but are still facing challenges in the cultural change of your company or team, talk to our experts and see how we can help you.

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