Wednesday, April 17, 2013

There are 6 general practices of Kanban... and I'm happy with that!

There are 6 general practices of Kanban, and in spite of my preference for groups of 3 (see "There are 3 ... Principles of Kanban"), I'm really happy with that. (I guess 7 would have a nice golden ring to it... but now I am being silly.)

The core practices are:
  1. Visualize
  2. Limit Work-in-Progress
  3. Manage Flow
  4. Make Process Policies Explicit
  5. Implement feedback mechanisms
  6. Improve Collaboratively, Evolve Experimentally (using models & the scientific method)
Nevertheless I've found it useful to start a team off by emphasising three of these (no really):
  1. Visualize 
  2. Limit Work-in-Progress
  3. Improve
Before we can manage the flow we need to see it, and so getting a Kanban board with items moving across it really is the first step. Limiting work in progress is the essence of Lean and fundamental to all agile processes. Surprisingly to most teams, it nearly always brings an immediate impact in increased throughput and reduced lead time. And finally, as the foundational principles tell us, continuous improvement is the whole point. Let's start improving from day one.

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