KANBAN, a beginners guide

The method does not outline an ideal and practical way to kick-off using Kanban, however, it does give us the main principles and practices in which to follow through the whole process.

Kanban Principles

  • Start with what you do now
  • Pursue evolutionary change
  • Initially, respect current roles, responsibilities & job titles
  • Encourage leadership at all levels of your organisation

Kanban Practices

  • Visualize the flow
  • Limit WIP
  • Manage flow
  • Make┬ápolicies explicit
  • Implement feedback loops
    Improve collaboratively, evolve experimentally (using models and the scientific method)

The following steps are how you may roll out Kanban in a few basic steps:

1) Understand and visualise your current process of delivering work, tracking from customer request to delivered product or service. In this step, you will also keep your roles the same, you can change them later, but remember Kanban does not specify any mandatory roles.

2) Create your kanban board, start visualising the workflow with something simple such as 'To-do', 'Doing' and 'Done'. You can improve this later.

3) Add WIP limits - Creating a Work In Progress limit to the columns on your board to focus the team and improve the flow through the process.

4) Improvement - Setting up your daily stand up is one of the most critical assets in your kanban kitbag. The main purpose is to identify and plan the resolution to team problems. Only Team Planning and Team Retro meetings should be held as required.

5) Reporting - Begin tracking the key metrics namely, Lead Time and Cycle Time. with these, you can also create cumulative flow diagrams which will help the team understand where the blockages in the process are and can target improvements.

6) Continuous improvement - using your stand-ups, planning, retros and reporting to configure your process and board to improve the flow of work through the team.

With these few steps, the principles and practices you can implement Kanban and begin the improvement process to do it better.

You can always reach out to us for more help or advice.