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What is the Kanban methodology and how to use it

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What is the Kanban methodology and how to use it

Over the past three decades, Kanban , which is defined as ” a highly effective and efficient production system “, has contributed to creating an optimal and competitive manufacturing landscape. The origin of the Kanban methodology must be sought in the “just-in-time” (JIT) production processes devised by Toyota, in which cards were used to identify material needs in the production chain. Do you want to know how is the methodology that has led large companies to success? Pay attention and do not miss what Kanban is , in the following article.You may also be interested in: Postgraduate in Agile Project & Product Management Currently, the term Kanban has become part of the so-called agile methodologies , whose objective is to manage in a general way how tasks are completed. Kanban is a Japanese word that means “visual cards”, where Kan is “visual”, and Ban corresponds to “card”.Extensive about this and other methodologies in the webinar taught by the expert Sònia Llorens:The main advantages of this methodology is that it is very easy for the team to use, update and assume . Belgium Business Phone List  In addition, it stands out for being a very visual task management technique , which allows you to see the status of projects at a glance, as well as to guide the development of work effectively.The principles of the Kanban methodologyThe Kanban methodology is based on a series of principles that differentiate it from the rest of the agile methodologies:Guaranteed quality. Everything that is done must go right the first time, there is no margin for error. Hence, in Kanban, speed is not rewarded, but the final quality of the tasks performed. This is based on the fact that it often costs more to fix it later than to get it right the first time.Waste reduction. Kanban is based on doing only what is fair and necessary, but doing it well. This supposes the reduction of everything that is superficial or secondary ( YAGNI principle ).Continual improvement. Kanban is not simply a management method, but also an improvement system in the development of projects, according to the objectives to be achieved.

Flexibility. The next thing to be done is decided from the backlog (or accumulated pending tasks), being able to prioritize those incoming tasks according to the needs of the moment (ability to respond to unforeseen tasks).The application of the Kanban method implies the generation of a task board that will improve the work flow and achieve a sustainable rhythm. To implement this methodology, we must be clear about the following aspects:To do this, we simply have to create our own dashboard, which must be visible and accessible by all team members. Each of the columns will correspond to a specific state of the task flow , which will help us to know what situation each project is in.  The dashboard must have as many columns as the states through which a task passes, from the beginning to the end (eg: diagnosis, definition, programming, execution, testing, etc.).Unlike SCRUM, one of the peculiarities of the board is that it is continuous . This means that it is not made up of cards that are scrolling until the activity is fully completed. In this case, as progress is made, new tasks (improvements, incidents or new functionalities) are accumulated in the initial section, so that in periodic meetings with the client they are prioritized and placed within the section that is estimated timely.This board can be specific to a specific project or generic. There are no established phases of the production cycle but they will be defined according to the case in question, or a generically applicable model will be established for any project of the organization.

Like Scrum, Kanban is based on the principle of incremental development , dividing the work into different parts. This means that we do not talk about the task itself, but we divide it into different steps to streamline the production process.Normally each of these parts is written on a post-it and pasted on the board, in the corresponding phase. These post-its contain the basic information so that the team quickly knows the total workload involved : usually a description of the task with the estimated hours. In addition, photos can be used to assign responsible parties as well as cards with different shapes to put observations or indicate blocks (when a task cannot be done because it depends on another).In the end, the objective of the visualization is to clarify as much as possible the work to be done , the tasks assigned to each work team (or department), as well as the priorities and the assigned goal.This is the main motto of the Kanban methodology. In this way, work in progress is prioritized over starting new tasks.


Precisely, one of the main contributions of Kanban is that the work in progress must be limited and, therefore, there is a maximum number of tasks to be carried out in each phase.Actually, it is about defining the maximum number of tasks that we can have in each of the phases (eg: 3 tasks in the planning phase; 2, in the development phase; one, in the testing phase, etc. ) and thus restrict work in progress. To this, another idea is added that, however obvious it may seem, practice shows us that this is not the case: you cannot open a new task without finishing another.In this way, it is intended to respond to the common problem of many companies of having many open tasks but with a very low completion rate. The important thing here is that the tasks that are opened are closed before starting the next one .

Unlike SCRUM, the Kanban methodology is not applied to a single project, but rather mixes tasks and projects . It is about keeping workers with a constant work flow, the most important tasks queued to be developed and passive follow-up so as not to have to interrupt the worker at all times. Likewise, this work methodology allows us to monitor the work carried out , storing the information provided by the cards.Many insist on highlighting the advantages of Kanban over other agile methodology, such as SCRUM . The possibility of being able to make deliveries at any time, change priorities on the fly and the perfect visualization of the flow , are some of the points that stand out as differential and valuable elements. However, we cannot say that there is a better methodology than another but that it will depend on the nature of the company and the form of organization of its internal processes. Bank Email List  In this sense, the Kanban method is especially suitable for those organizations that require flexibility, especially in the entry of tasks, as well as in the follow-up of these, the prioritization, the supervision of the work team and the dedication reports. Did you like this post? If you want to become an expert in agile methodologies, find out about our Postgraduate Course in Agile Project & Product Management at IEBSchool, but be careful, places fly!

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