5.2 Kanban Development – Just-In-Time logistics

  • Kanban often considered as an Agile and as a Lean technique also
  • Kanban = „Signboard” in Japanese

  • Created by Taiichi Onho in the 1950s to control production with Just-In-Time manufacturing in Toyota Factories

  • David J. Anderson formulated Kanban to an incremental development process in 2003

  • One of the most flexible techniques, no constraints


  • Start with what you already know

    • No description on roles and processes

  • Agree on incremental, evolutionary change

    • Continuous small changes instead of huge ones to overcome fear in the organization

  • Respect current processes, roles, responsibilities

    • Support roles to reduce resistance and make experience on the benefits of team work

=> Kanban is to revolutionize big enterprises with „burnt-in” mature roles, responsibilities and processes


Five core properties

  • Visualize work-flow

    • Use „Signboard” = Kanban board

Non-interactive  animation 4. - Kanban table (←Click here)


  • Limit Work In Progress tasks (WIP)

    • Pull tasks

    • Establish and respect the team capacity

  • Manage flow

    • Monitor, measure and report

  • Make process policies

    • Describe processes first then improve it

  • Improve together

    • Use models, empirical methods to implement changes incrementally, involving the whole team


Figure 5.2: Kanban process


Kanban development boards of a Phone book software development – resembling evolution states

  • Headers include state of a requirement (can be a user story) and the capacity for the team. When the team members are ready with one story of one state, they automatically pull in another one for the next phase.

  • There are no Sprints, still each story should be monitored => what is the exact time spent per a state; how are individuals performing compared to the estimates.

    • E.g. „Implement search by name” functionality needs 3 hours of BA work, 15 hours of development, 10 hours of internal testing, 2 hours of Client testing and 10 hours of Beta testing.


Figure 5.3.1: Kanban board; start of Kanban development


Figure 5.3.2: Kanban board; more mature Kanban development


 Figure 5.3.3: Kanban board; mature Kanban development


Kanban originally developed for JIT assembly lines for Toyota –

  • Reduces logistic costs

  • Continuous flow, each members pulls in work rather then wait for managerial push

  • Visual board provides an overview on the work state on a task basis