Kanban is a method of workflow management that focuses on minimizing waste and maximizing efficiency. Kanban helps in visualizing the workflow in an organization or a project and helps identify roadblocks that are constricting the path of flow. In the IT transformation process too, Kanban can be sued to accelerate the process with maximum efficiency and achieve output faster. Implementing Kanban is relatively simple. To visualize the workflow, traditionally a Kanban board was used. There are different columns on the board that represent each stage of the workflow and some cards with each work item or task written on them. As a particular task is ready to be taken up, it is added to the board, and as it progresses the corresponding card also moves from one column to the next until the task is completed. The aim here is to improve the flow which means there should be no work getting stuck.
Kanban works on a pull system. That means new work will only be pulled in when there is the capacity to accommodate that work. To achieve this, a limit is set on the work-in-progress column of the Kanban board, so only a specific number of cards should be on that column at a given time. New tasks, or cards, will only be added when there is an available slot. This helps improve the efficiency of the process, reduce the pressure on the team and identify any bottlenecks in the process. Today, there are several software and tools that help organizations implement Kanban effectively.
01. Visualize Workflow: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
02. Limit Work in Progress (WIP): departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
03. Make Policies Explicit: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
04. Manage Flow: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
05. Implement Feedback Loops: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
06. Improve Collaboratively, Evolve Experimentally: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
01. Visualize Workflow: Each individual department head to undertake departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development.
02. Limit Work in Progress (WIP): Each individual department head to undertake departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development.
03. Make Policies Explicit: Each individual department head to undertake departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development.
04. Manage Flow: Each individual department head to undertake departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development.
05. Implement Feedback Loops: Each individual department head to undertake departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development.
06. Improve Collaboratively, Evolve Experimentally: Each individual department head to undertake departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development.
01. Create a task on your calendar, to be completed within the next month, to analyze Visualize Workflow.
02. Create a task on your calendar, to be completed within the next month, to analyze Limit Work in Progress (WIP).
03. Create a task on your calendar, to be completed within the next month, to analyze Make Policies Explicit.
04. Create a task on your calendar, to be completed within the next month, to analyze Manage Flow.
05. Create a task on your calendar, to be completed within the next month, to analyze Implement Feedback Loops.
06. Create a task on your calendar, to be completed within the next month, to analyze Improve Collaboratively, Evolve Experimentally.
Kanban is a popular Lean workflow management technique for outlining, overseeing, and enhancing information work delivery offerings. It assists you in visualizing work, maximizing efficiency, and continually improving during any IT change. On Kanban boards, work is represented, enabling you to manage even the most complicated projects in a single setting while optimizing job delivery across many teams.
Example of core Kanban board elements
Manufacturing was its initial home, but Agile software development teams later claimed it as their own. Recently, company units from diverse industries began to realize it.
As more and more people hear about Kanban, multiple questions arise:
• Exactly what is Kanban?
• What are the principles and practices of Kanban?
• What advantages come with implementing Kanban?
Here are the key details you should be aware of regarding the approach and its practical application.
Kanban Definition and Brief Introduction
Since the 1950s, the Japanese phrase “kanban,” which means “visual board” or a “sign,” has been used to refer to a process definition. Toyota invented it and used it as the first just-in-time factory scheduling system. The “Kanban Method,” which was initially defined in 2007, is known and connected with the capitalized term “Kanban,” on the other hand.
The Genesis of Kanban
It first emerged as a lean production scheduling method that was derived from the Toyota Production System (TPS). Toyota began using “just in time” manufacturing in its production in the late 1940s. The strategy resembles a pull system. This implies that rather than the usual push method of manufacturing things and pushing them to the market, production is dependent on customer demand.
Its distinctive production process served as the cornerstone for lean manufacturing. Its main objective is to reduce waste production while maintaining productivity. The fundamental objective is to increase value for the client while reducing costs.
The original Kanban System, Source: TOYOTA Global Website
The Kanban Method
Key figures in the software sector rapidly saw how Kanban could improve the delivery of goods and services at the start of the twenty-first century.
The automobile industry was the original home of Kanban, but it has since been effectively adapted to other complex commercial areas like IT, software development, R&D, and others by focusing more on efficiency and utilizing technological improvements.
In fact, the beginning of 2007 saw the emergence of what is now known as the Kanban Way. It is the culmination of many testing sessions, years of expertise, and the combined efforts of prominent members of the Lean and Agile communities, including David Anderson, Dan Vacanti, Darren Davis, Corey Ladas, Dominica DeGrandis, Rick Garber, and others.
The most basic Kanban board, with the columns “Requested,” “In Process,” and “Done,” is where you can begin constructing your Kanban system. It acts as a real-time information repository, revealing system bottlenecks and anything else that could obstruct efficient working procedures when designed, managed, and functioning properly.
But how does the Kanban method work?
Let’s discover more.
Before delving more into the Kanban values, we should make clear that the method’s development in the form that we now appreciate and employ was the result of many people working together. The growing Kanban community should recognize these concepts and contributions for what they are.
The Kanban technique was developed by David J. Anderson, a pioneer in the field of Lean/Kanban for knowledge work and one of the method’s founders, as a strategy for knowledge work organizations to implement gradual, evolutionary process and system change. Its foundations can be divided into two different categories of principles and six different practices, all of which are centered on getting things done.
Let’s look at what the principles of Kanban are.
Change Management Principles
Kanban is not a big-bang transformational model; rather, it is an evolutionary change approach that aims to incrementally and continually enhance already established processes through ongoing cooperation and feedback. Let’s examine the fundamentals of Kanban change management in more detail.
Principle 1: Start With What You Do Now
Kanban provides the freedom to deploy the methodology on top of already-in-place workflows, systems, and processes without interfering with them. The approach acknowledges that current procedures, positions, duties, and titles have importance and are generally worthwhile of preservation. Naturally, it will draw attention to problems that need to be fixed and assist with planning and assessing modifications to ensure minimal disruption during implementation.
Principle 2: Agree to Pursue Incremental, Evolutionary Change
The Kanban approach is made to encounter less opposition. By implementing collaboration and feedback forms, it promotes ongoing modest incremental and evolutionary modifications to the current process. Large-scale changes should generally be avoided since people tend to resist them out of uncertainty or fear.
Principle 3: Encourage Acts of Leadership at All Levels
People’s everyday observations and actions serve as the basis for leadership at all levels. As unimportant as you may believe it is, every shared observation encourages the continuous improvement attitude (Kaizen), which is necessary to achieve the best performance possible for a team, department, or company. This can’t be anything that management would do.
Big Companies Using Kanban for Business Operations: Zara
The well-known apparel brand Zara employs over 17,000 people worldwide. The Kanban system has been tested for years, and it is run directly from the store level.
Zara’s processes are divided into stages like Pre Control (prioritizing), Control (now being done), and Post Control (tasks completed). They have all the data necessary on their Kanban board to decide on workflows. They are able to make more precise and better business decisions because to it.
Kanban works successfully for Zara because it improves productivity, giving staff members more time to engage in creative activities. They benefit by reducing the amount of time needed to complete tasks.
Service Delivery Principles
The goal of Kanban is to create a service-oriented methodology. You must have a thorough understanding of your customers’ demands, establish a network of services where people may self-organize around the task, and make sure that your system is constantly evolving in order to succeed.
Principle 1: Focus on Customer’s Needs and Expectations
Each organization’s core mission should be to provide value to its customers. The quality of the services offered and the value they provide are highlighted when you are aware of your consumers’ requirements and expectations.
Principle 2: Manage the Work
By overseeing the work in your network of services, you can be confident that you’re enabling people’s natural propensities for self-organization. This makes it possible for you to concentrate on the intended results without being distracted by the “noise” that comes from micromanaging the service providers.
Principle 3: Regularly Review the Network of Services
Once established, a service-oriented strategy necessitates ongoing assessment to promote a customer service culture. Kanban promotes the improvement of the given results via the usage of routine evaluations of the network of services and evaluation of the used work policies.
Every organization that seeks to apply the Kanban approach must be cautious with the operational procedures. For an implementation to be successful, six key practices must be present. Even though mastering these is essential, it’s a lifelong effort; close to 40% of firms acknowledge that their use of the Kanban techniques is still developing. Let’s examine more closely and learn about the six Kanban practices.
Limit work in progress, manage flow, make process policies explicit, implement feedback loops, and improve c