What Is a Kanban Board?

What Is a Kanban Board?

Today there are lots of software development companies all over the world that use Kanban methodology. Its popularity is explained by the ability to deliver the final product within the shortest amount of time. Kanban is also well known because of the supreme quality of products that were created according to the principles of this methodology.

There are lots of things we should know about Kanban if we want to create a successful software product. The question: “What is a Kanban board?” is perhaps the most topical among the software developers. In this article, we will try and answer it properly. But before doing that we should say a few words about the history of Kanban method and its main principles. It is impossible to understand what a Kanban board in software development is without doing that.

Kanban originated in Japan in the 1940’s. At that time, the famous Japanese corporation Toyota had large problems with the delivery of its products. The managers of the company had to find the solution for this problem. They invented a new system of project management and called it Kanban. Its main idea was to deliver the product to the customers just in time. It was not a simple task, but the system succeeded.

Initially, Kanban was based on three main principles. They are still relevant for this methodology, regardless of the industry where we use it.

The first principle of Kanban is consideration of the customers’ demands. It means that an enterprise that uses Kanban cannot start its work on a certain task before learning the customer demands. That allows such companies to avoid unnecessary market risks. The customers know what they need – this is the main principle of Kanban project management system.

The second principle of Kanban says that it is necessary to limit the amount of tasks performed at the same time. Limitation of work in progress allows the enterprise to focus on the quality of the product and its timely delivery.

The third principle of Kanban is related to the topic of this article. It is the principle of workflow visualization. The main tool that allows companies that use Kanban to visualize their workflow is the Kanban board. It is well-known in various industries including software development.

What are Kanban boards?

Kanban boards are simple devices that allow managers of various companies to visualize their workflow. The design of a Kanban board is quite simple. It is actually a table that contains several columns. Each column represents a certain stage of work that every task should pass. The tasks are written on sticky notes and placed on the Kanban board in accordance with the stage of their performance. Each task should pass all columns of the Kanban board before it is done. As we have already mentioned, limitation of work in progress (WIP) is one of the main Kanban principles. That is why the Kanban board usually contains only several tasks.

Modern Kanban boards can be either physical or digital. There is no difference between them because the principle of their work is always the same. However, digital Kanban boards are more convenient for most modern enterprises because of the ability to view them on computers.

Kanban boards in software development

In software development, the Kanban board is a popular means of project management. It is used by all teams that prefer Kanban methodology. Generally, Kanban boards used in software development do not differ from their analogs used in other industries. They also have columns and tasks. The principle of their work is also the same. A typical Kanban board in software development has four columns. That is because of the fact that this industry usually requires four stages of task performance. Modern software development companies use digital Kanban boards because they are more convenient.

Kanban boards software

Any Kanban project management tool can be considered Kanban board software. Usually, such tools provide the full range of functions that are necessary to manage a Kanban project. They can create digital Kanban boards and manage them without human involvement. This is very convenient because it allows the developers to save time for other tasks. Modern Kanban project management tools also provide you an ability to visualize your workflow in forms of charts and diagrams.