A Short and Sweet Introduction To Kanban
Kanban Methodology is a different way of visualizing and managing workflows that essentially divides teams into categories, or “lanes.” The goal is to visualize each stage of the development process as a column—from start to finish.
By looking at both how and why we can use Kanban to help us design and develop better systems, we’ll be able to see that it’s not just about what-but also why. This article looks at the what, whilst the next two articles will look at both how and why.
The underlying concepts of using Kanban for system development were developed by David J. Anderson. His book Implementing Lean Software Development: From Concept to Cash describes a way to approach software development as a flow – one which uses pull -based system control to direct work throughout an organization, rather than traditional push -based techniques such as planning or predictive modeling.
The key insight of Kanban definition is that we can use system states to indicate capacity and work-in-progress, rather than using a quasi -planning approach.
Developing a system using Kanban gives a number of advantages. There’s no need for detailed planning, because you’re going to learn as you go, and the earlier part of the project will show up any issues in your understanding or in how you’ve mapped out what needs to be done. In addition, there’s no risk from over -planning – if the initial plan isn’t feasible, it’ll become obvious when development starts.
The pull-based control aspect means that team members are not pulled into tasks they aren’t ready for; instead, they wait until either another team member needs help, or they themselves are ready to take on another task. This means that everyone is working at the point where their efforts will give the most benefit, and also makes it easy for team members to step in when other people need help – so there’s no risk of overloading someone else with work.
There are downsides to using Kanban, setting up a board can be fiddly, although once done one doesn’t have to do this again, and collecting data about tasks (what was started or finished today) requires some discipline. You could get around these things by using an existing Kanban tool like Trello instead of building your own; but bear in mind that if you want flexibility in how you set up different boards, this will be more difficult.
Finally, there are many ways to implement Kanban, some of them are more lightweight or complicated than the above example. If you click on the picture above it’ll get larger and you should be able to see the links which lead to more information about how different teams have implemented Kanban, including some screenshots of various tools used.
The only thing I would add is that one good way to support your Kanban board with computer-based tasks is to use a shared spreadsheet so that team members can update progress on their tasks without having everyone else stop what they’re doing just for data entry purposes. So, if you’re interested in implementing some sort of project management system within your organization, consider taking a look at this article.
Enterprise management software is a great way to manage projects and processes in large organizations. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) refers to the general class of software systems used by organizations to manage their accounting, finance, human resources, manufacturing, inventory, warehousing etc. The term ERP can be used as a generic term for all kinds of business applications that support these functions. An ERP system integrates these enterprise processes into a cohesive system that automates many or even all aspects of a firm’s operations A proper ERP may therefore help firms reduce costs due to operational efficiencies and better control over cash flows. There are several benefits of ERP system to a company. For example, Higher efficiency and effectiveness in an organization means the company saves a huge amount of money through increased productivity, lesser wastage etc. This leads to a greater ROI on their investment which also makes them more attractive for investors as well as other stakeholders.
Inventory management is often automated by ERP systems, leading to lower inventory levels because orders are fulfilled automatically as goods are received. In addition, raw materials requirements planning (MRP) ensures that ordering is done just-in-time so there is no need for large amounts of excess inventory. It plays a major role in the supply chain management process.
The Kanban Method is broken down into three basic steps to implement: setup, workflow and policies. The first step, setup, involves defining the scope; that is, deciding which software tools to use and what cards to print. Then comes workflow: this defines how work items move through your workflow: from left (backlog) to right (completed). Finally, policies help you control how people interact with each other and the flow of work in general; for instance, who can create new work items etc.
Kanban Method is a structured and evolutionary approach that helps teams focus on process improvements, rather than individual tasks – see this link for more information.