Kanban means for “visual signal” or card.” Toyota workers used a kanban board to identify steps in their manufacturing process. The system’s highly visual nature allowed workers to communicate easily on what work needed to be done and when. It also standardized cues and refined processes, which helped to reduce waste and maximize value for the end product users.
Getting started with Kanban…
- 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?
- Define the start and end points for the Kanban system.
These should preferably be where you have control. Don’t worry too much about starting with a narrow focus, as people outside the span will soon ask to join in.
- 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
- Design up a Kanban board.
All you need is some Post-It™ notes and a whiteboard.
- Start using it.
- Adjust as you use.