Kanban – Logistics – Process – Visualization

Kanban is a common development strategy with software development teams today, helping to optimize requirements, resources, experience (skills) and process. The concept, to visualize the elements involved in software development allowing for dynamic involvement and fluid outcomes. In other words, manage all of the resources – visually and in a way that is responsive to incremental change without over-stressing anyone of the key elements along the way.

Kanban has evolved into six primary practices for successful outcomes. Not surprisingly, the first practice involves visualization and identifying the primary elements of work flow, which then steps into managing Work In Progress for optimizing resources. The third and fourth practices involve Flow Management and Explicit Policies which provide mechanisms for monitoring activity transitions and the rules for moving the project along (the business rules for your implementation of Kanban). Operational review and collaborative process improvement round-out the primary practices – the methods by which continuous improvements are realized.

What’s interesting about Kanban is that its origin lies at the heart of Toyota automobile production systems. A lean, just in time logistics production planning / scheduling system (lean manufacturing) developed by an intriguing individual by the name of Taiichi Ohno. His goal was to produce a system that optimized the logistics of production based on a pull strategy – along the lines of supermarket operations.

Whether your view is production line, outbound resource planning, global logistics or development process – the key is creating a visual presentation that is responsive, intuitively descriptive and malleable so it can be consumed in multiple implementations, supporting your primary principles – Solutions Schedule.