Kanban: What Is It? How Does It Work?

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Trinh Nguyen

2022-06-21 09:48:17

gct solution kanban software development

Because flexibility and adaptability become more and more important in the development process, teams always find a workflow management method that helps the structure to be smooth and flexible. Applying Kanban can help teams balance discipline and adaptability, resulting in meeting clients’ requirements and market demands. 


The definition of Kanban 

Kanban is a basic lean strategy that focuses on maintaining a continuous workflow and providing continual additional value to customers. Its purpose is to aid in the visualization and improvement of any software development process. The final result is a development pipeline that delivers high-value work in a predictable and efficient manner. 


The main focus of Kanban 

  • Incremental change: The Kanban approach is intended to meet as little resistance as possible. By including collaboration and feedback forms, it consecutively fosters minor incremental and evolutionary modifications to the process. In general, large-scale changes are not encouraged, because they are often denied owing to fear or uncertainty. 


  • Leadership at all levels: Leadership is team members' everyday observations and actions to enhance their working conditions. Each shared different insight and experience, encouraging a continual improvement attitude in order to achieve optimal performance on a broader level. This can't possibly only be a management-level task. 


  • Client-centric: Each organization's goal is to address the “pain” of its clients. Understanding what they want and what they need will help the team work effectively and efficiently, thereby increasing the quality of the software products and the reputation of the personnel. 


  • Regular review and feedback: Kanban fosters the improvement of the outcomes by using regular reviews from the clients, the final users and the team members themselves. Besides, assessments of the work policies are always used to boost the overall work. 


Steps of Kanban 

1. Visualize workflow  

Visualization provides a specific picture of your process, which helps identify and resolve any workflow issues. It also makes cooperation among team members become easier. Having a board with distinct work stages displayed is a popular approach of Kanban. For a software development team, the most basic Kanban board has three columns: Backlog, In Progress, and Done. 


2. Limit work in progress (WIP) 

The goal of WIP restrictions is to make sure you always finish a job completely before moving on to the next stage. Your own work can't slow down the entire process of the team. The team may set a restriction on how much work is in progress for each stage, individual, or work item, etc. 


3. Measure lead time 

The software development team must control and optimize the process after introducing Kanban. The most essential indicator is lead time, which is the average time it takes tasks to move from a certain starting point to a specific end state. Team members must track how long it takes to complete development tasks, manage defects, and resolve support issues, etc. They may quickly reduce "lead time" by identifying and removing bottlenecks. 


4. Improve continuously 

Kanban is not intended to push the software development team to completely produce a thing that can change the world. A Kanban system is most effective when it matches reality, teams should start by creating a board that truly depicts their current workflow. From there, they can figure out improvement. This is a never-ending process of making tiny but important adjustments to help the team function more efficiently and effectively.  


Read more: 8 Software Development Models You Can Apply To IT Projects


Of course, there are other approaches used in project planning, such as Scrum or XP, and you can choose one based on your needs.  




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