Kanban is Japanese for ‘visual signal’ or ‘visual card’. It is most definitely one of the favourite ways to manage processes and a widely used workflow management methodology.
Originating in manufacturing, it has become a key part of software development teams with agile development.
Visual way to manage your workflow and watch it move through a process, increasing efficiency while enabling you to optimise the flow of work.
Kanban – ”Kan” meaning “visual” and “ban” meaning “signal”
Developed by Taiichi Ōno, the father of the kanban cards system. Industrial engineer at Toyota who incorporated it into Toyota’s Lean Manufacturing to improve manufacturing efficiency. Toyota workers used a Kanban card to signal each step within the manufacturing process.
It was discovered his ultimate aim with the Kanban system was to tap into people’s potential and help employees reach their full potential.
The system is very easy to adapt to various areas of your business and projects.
A very simple version of Kanban uses a billboard with three columns TO DO – DOING – DONE where you list down the processes.
It consists in limiting the inventory for all current business processes or tasks in DOING and is based on a very simple idea: you only activate the supply chain when there is a demand for it. You will not get fresh vegetables from the supermarket that you don’t plan to use in the next few days, and the supermarket will not display fresh vegetables that they don’t plan to sell in the next few days.
By limiting the tasks in DOING and carefully supplying them from TO DO you will improve the efficiency in DONE.
You can define the chain and identify the stages of your business process to test this tool and check if any cluttered areas are not obeying to the supply-demand rule of Kanban and therefore preventing efficiency.