LEAN principles originated in Japan with the “Toyota Production System” and have evolved from manufacturing. Tools and techniques for LEAN are rocking the world of Information Technology (LEAN IT). LEAN does not stand alone! There is a DevOps Foundation certification class available that explains how LEAN, AGILE and ITSM dove tail together to optimize a DevOps integrated delivery pipeline. The core idea is to deliver customer value while eliminating waste (Muda). The goal is to provide value to the customer through a perfect value creation process that has zero waste.
What About KANBAN?
KANBAN is one of many techniques utilized for LEAN practices and results in an increase in productivity and value for individuals and teams. In Japanese the word KAN means visual and the word BAN means board. KANBAN is a visual board that helps teams to visualize work and get more done. If you’re reading this because you are interested in using KANBAN for yourself or your team, here is an inexpensive online e-learning, self-paced course available titled “Spotlight on KANBAN”. It is a great resource.
KANBAN starts with a list of tasks on the left. There are color-coded cards (sticky notes) for each task that physically get moved through work in progress fields until the card/task finally ends in the DONE column on the right. KANBAN is like an expanded to-do list. These tasks can be completed by one individual, many individuals or teams. Visualizing the work and seeing tasks moved to DONE gives the team a sense of accomplishment and inspires them to keep moving forward.
The KANBAN board is a pull system. This means that it is the voice of the customer or the customer requirement that determines/pulls the work. This keeps the teams focused on creating VALUE for customers. Also, teams prioritize and pull work when they are ready for it to prevent overburden. KANBAN ensures that the work being performed is customer focused. Because the focus is on moving tasks to DONE, the KANBAN helps to reduce Work in Progress (WIP). We can have a whole lot of effort and teams can appear to be working very hard but if there are a hundred things in progress and nothing moved to DONE, where is the VALUE? Reducing idle time and WIP is a key benefit of using a KANBAN tool.
Although traditional KANBAN boards are on walls or whiteboards, there are many electronic KANBAN tools that work well for remote teams. Start with your own template, create it with tape on a whiteboard or look for an e-KANBAN. Start today to realize the power so that you too KAN KANBAN!
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