Project Management

What You Should Know About Kanban (Part 1)

Don is an entrepreneur and business leader with over 15 years experience specializing in aligning management-driven technologies and initiatives together with business and project strategies resulting in thoroughly planned and comprehensive business solutions. His expertise as a project manager, developer, tester, analyst, trainer, consultant, and business owner has spanned across diverse industries such as finance, retail, health care and information technology

In Mike Griffith’s article “From ganttheads to Kanbangers?”, he correctly concludes that Kanban boards are “simple enough for anyone to gather the basics from at first glance, but still allowing sophisticated workflow analysis, the Kanban board appears the new king of agile PM tools.” This is a trend I’ve been seeing for quite some time, and it coincides with the rise in popularity of agile methods and practices.

Of course Kanban has been synonymous with Lean since its origins were from that movement, but we have also witnessed a spawn of new iterations of Kanban--notably hybrid movements such as Scrumban and certification tracks such as the Kanban Certified Professional (KCP). These are all testaments to the growing popularity and influence of Kanban.

The simplicity of the tool--which can be deployed both in high-tech and low-tech (such as the illustration above from Wikipedia) environments--can often times masquerade (or make one overlook) the complexity of the project workflow tasks that Kanban is being used to prioritize and manage. Furthermore, Kanban has a rich history that many in the software development and project management community are not aware of; if known, it would preclude a better understanding of where the tool is situated to solve the workflow scheduling problems for which it is commonly applied.

This …

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