Kanban Best Practices and Continuous Improvement

Kanban, also spelt kamban in Japanese, translates to “Billboard” (“signboard” in Chinese) that indicates “available capacity (to work)”. Kanban is a concept related to lean and just-in-time JIT production, where it is used as a scheduling system that tells you what to produce, when to produce it, how much to produce. 

The first Kanban system was developed by Taiichi Ohno (Industrial Engineer and Businessman) for Toyota automotive in Japan. 

It was created as a simple planning system, the aim of which was to control and manage work and inventory at every stage of production optimally.

The Kanban Method follows a set of principles and practices for managing and improving the flow of work. 

It is an evolutionary, non-disruptive method that promotes gradual improvements to an organization’s processes. 

If you follow these principles and practices, you will successfully be able to use Kanban for maximizing the benefits to your business process – 

  • improve flow, 
  • reduce cycle time, 
  • increase value to the customer, 
  • with greater predictability – all of which are crucial to any business today.

Kanban Best Practices When Using the Method

1. Visualize the workflow

When a Kanban board is being used during a project, one of its great benefits is that it allows visual and intuitive illustration of how the tasks are flowing and running.

2. Limit work in progress

When determining a threshold for WIP (Work in Progress), the team defines the optimal quantity and work they can accomplish with quality and within the desired specifications.

3. Create clear rules for each step of the process

For the Kanban method to work properly, you must have well-defined rules for each board list that dictate when a task is complete. 

4. Use a visual indicator for “tasks completed”

Using a clear “task completed” indicator will prevent stoppages due to a lack of information about the project’s status.

5. Blocked task indicator

It’s very important to draw everyone’s attention to a task that can not continue in the flow due to reasons unrelated to the will of the employee.

In addition to avoiding friction, as other members of the team will soon learn the reason for the “blockage”, the manager or other team members will take the necessary steps to remedy the problem as soon as possible.

6. Periodic feedback

The Kanban method may end up becoming extremely rigid and inflexible if teams don’t meet periodically to discuss how some procedures are being performed.

Overall, Kanban enables all of the principles of the Agile Manifesto and helps you deliver products and services that your market actually needs. Kanban helps you improve your processes for greater performance of your teams and organizations.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post