5 Steps of Kanban Implementation
Kanban is one of the popular Agile methodologies of software development. It originated in Japan in 1940-s. The method is applicable for almost any sphere, including software development. In this article we will tell you how to implement Kanban. But before doing that, let’s describe the main features of this popular project management system.
We have already mentioned that Kanban originated in Japan. Initially it was created for project management. The Japanese corporation Toyota has implemented Kanban to improve its workflow. The corporation wanted to deliver production to its customers within the shortest amounts of time. At the same time, the quality of production should be perfect. That means that Kanban project management tools are aimed not only at fast delivery of products, but also at improving their quality.
In software development this goal is usually achieved by visualizing the workflow and implementing a special Kanban model of project performance. Like other Agile methodologies, Kanban is based on strong customer involvement into the process of work. However, there are also some features that distinguish it from other Agile methods. First of all they are related to iterative cycles. A Kanban cycle is the time required for one user story (or task) to pass all stages of work and enter the column “done” at the Kanban board. In other Agile methodologies the iterative cycles usually have several tasks and are limited in time.
Now, as we know what Kanban actually is, we can talk about its implementation.
Implementation of Kanban
First of all you must have patience, because the implementation of Kanban system at your software development company may be a continuous process. However, its results will definitely not disappoint you. Most specialists define five steps necessary for Kanban implementation.
Step 1: Visualization of Workflow
That is the first and the most important thing you should do while implementing a Kanban system. The Kanban method is based on visualization. Hence, the first thing you should do if you want to implement it is to create a Kanban task board. It can be either a digital, or a physical board. There is no difference between them. The principle of their work is always the same. A Kanban task board must have a number of columns that represent all stages of work from “to do” to “done”. The tasks are placed in these columns depending on the stage of their performance.
Step 2: Limit the Amount of WIP
WIP stands for “Work in Progress”. Limitation of WIP units is one of the main principles of Kanban. You should definitely limit the amount of tasks you work on while implementing Kanban. That will allow you to spend your time more efficiently. Some people think that it is good to handle lots of tasks at the same time. However, for Kanban it is not so. This type of project management works only if you limit the amount of WIP units.
Step 3: Switch to Explicit Policies
This step is about planning. You should definitely know what software you are creating. It will impact the predictability of your project positively.
Step 4: Manage and Measure Your Workflow
To improve the quality of your product and the time required for its creation you have to measure your Kanban cycles efficiently.
Step 5: Use the Scientific Method for Optimization
You can use your Kanban task board to create new strategies. Just try and make some changes in it if you want to improve your workflow. With Kanban task board you will be able to predict all changes in your workflow and their results. That can help you create your own scientific approach to software development.