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Kanban, it’s principles and how to get started!

  • Kanban
Created on :
August 24, 2015
Updated on :
January 23, 2023

What is Kanban?

Kanban is a new technique for managing a software development process in a highly efficient way. Kanban underpins Toyota’s “just-in-time” (JIT) production system. Although producing software is a creative activity and therefore different to mass-producing cars, the underlying mechanism for managing the production line can still be applied.

A software development process can be thought of as a pipeline with feature requests entering one end and improved software emerging from the other end.

Software development pipeline

There are 40% agile teams using Kanban maybe as a mix of some other method. Kanban method is a particular method which uses Kanban principles in software development.

The Principles of the Kanban method:

First adopt the foundational principles:

  • Start with what you do now
  • Agree to pursue incremental, evolutionary change
  • Respect the current process, roles, responsibilities & titles

Then (use the 5 Core Properties):

  1. Visualize the workflow
  2. Limit WIP
  3. Manage Flow
  4. Make Process Policies Explicit
  5. Improve Collaboratively (using models & the scientific method)

How to get started with Kanban?

        1. Map your value stream (your development process).
          Where do feature ideas come from? What are all the steps that the idea goes through until it’s sitting in the hands of the end-user?
        2. Define the start and end points for the Kanban system.
          These should preferably be where you have political control. Don’t worry too much about starting with a narrow focus, as people outside the span will soon ask to join in.
        3. Agree:
          • Initial WIP limits and policies for changing or temporarily breaking them
          • Process for prioritising and selecting features
          • Policies for different classes of service (e.g. “standard”, “expedite”, “fixed delivery date”). Are estimates needed? When choosing work, which will be selected first?
          • Frequency of reviews
        4. Draw up a Kanban board.All you need is a whiteboard and some Post-It™ notes. Don’t spend too much time making it look beautiful because it will almost certainly evolve.

Draw up a Kanban board

        1. Start using it.
        2. Empirically adjust.

We understand the value that Kanban can deliver to your’s and your teams’s productivity. Enroll into our Course on Kanban for Software Development teams. As a limited period offer, our $50 course can be availed at $10, click on the link below to avail this offer.

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