Kanban – an Introduction

Kanban is a Lean methodology originated from Japan. In Japanese Kanban means sign-board. People often think Kanban is an agile methodology, but it is not, instead it is built on lean mindset and can be used in any agile project environment to represent the information to the team and stakeholders.

Kanban serves several purposes:

  • Highlight the team or individual’s work in progress items
  • Identify bottlenecks
  • Reduce waste and increase productivity

Before we deep dive into its benefits, let’s try to learn more how it is used.  For any project, you  would start with identifying the tasks, assign it to your team, build a project plan and then start tracking it.  In Kanban this is done very simply by defining a workflow for the  project or the team, A workflow can be as simple as to that transition of the tasks like “To-do”, In-Progress”, “Done”. You can add more workflow stages like “On Deck” to represent next on the line  tasks, “Review” to represent any tasks that would need review before we move as task into “Done” state.

Let us take our project, and its goal is to organize a new technology conference for your team which would involve  the following tasks: find a venue, establish a contract with venue, identify a speaker, review speaker references, confirm speaker,  create invite, send invites, confirm attendance, conduct the event, collect feedback. Let us say you have identified the facility and working on contract, still working to identify the speaker your Kanban-board will look like this.


As you could see this provides a clear depiction of the status and in agile terms called as information radiators, which provides clear visibility of project status rather than going through several lines of project plan.

Lets see the values of Kanban board in next blog…





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