The word ‘Kanban’ is Japanese and means ‘short’ or ‘character/signal’. It became a well-known term in logistics in the 1970s, when Toyota used it to minimise production costs.
Kanban is a method of dealing with complex development work and originates from the agile tradition. Agile is an iterative approach to product development. It acknowledges the uncertainty of product development and enables self-organising teams to respond to changes on an ongoing basis. Today, no business has the luxury of being able to develop a product over a period of many years or months in a black box, without any feedback. This means it is now more important than ever to get products or components to meet market expectations as soon as they are released.
Kanban helps development teams to build the right products, with the least amount of blockers and in the shortest possible time. All this to get fast feedback on what is being made. Kanban is about visualising your team's work through a whiteboard layout, which prevents a situation with too many simultaneous tasks from arising and continually improves workflow. Kanban teams focus on reducing the time it takes from the design of a user story to the point where the functionality can be tested.
What’s the difference between Kanban and Scrum?
Kanban and Scrum are two different strategies for implementing an agile development framework. The Kanban methodologies are continuous and more fluid, while scrum is based on short, structured and fixed sprint intervals. A newly established team often starts with scrum in order to establish a fixed framework around the development. As the team matures and the way of working and pace becomes established, a switch is made to Kanban. Common to both strategies is the creation of learning loops in order to quickly collect and incorporate end-user feedback.
Cegal and Kanban
At Cegal, Kanban is used by well-established teams working on software development or further development, where fast feedback is essential for the product's directional shift. When working on software development, it is important to use methods that support flexibility in implementation, while at the same time the team needs a fixed framework for task flow and control. As a result, more and more Cegal teams have started using Kanban as their working method.