Are You Missing Out on the Benefits of Kanban?

Vandana Roy is an agile practitioner who eagerly learns and implements new methods and techniques with teams. Her goal: greater productivity, team and customer satisfaction. In her seven years in the IT industry, Vandana has gained experience in all phases of a project, and is well practiced in knowing what can help and hinder teams. She holds PMP, CSM and CSP certifications. In the five years she has been implementing agile with teams, assignments have been with large organizations that included Liberty Mutual, Guideone Insurance, PayPal and Visa. Her experience ranges from coaching teams who were new to agile to those who are experts. Importantly, she has helped teams and upper management become convinced that Scrum and Kanban work.

Kanban has become popular in the software development world. However, it is used very selectively. As such, I believe that developers are missing real opportunities to better serve customers in both software operations projects as well as in new development projects.

In this article, I’ll cover the core principles of Kanban that I believe can be applied to any project where improved quality and throughput are desired. Then, you can decide.

First, the roots of Kanban…

From the Plant Floor to the Cherry Blossom Garden
Kanban was first used by Toyota in its manufacturing plants to improve productivity. Later on with its success on the shop floor, Kanban found a home in software development projects, too. Testifying to its wide-ranging application, David J. Anderson notes in his book, Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business that he saw Kanban being used in the management of a cherry blossom garden in Japan. The application was to manage the flow of people’s entry into the garden.

Indeed, Kanban has been successfully implemented in projects across manufacturing, software, product development, change management as well as in maintenance and operations, and for many other endeavors.

The Heart of Kanban is Throughput
Software operations projects are typically besieged by requirements resulting in bottlenecks. …

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