Philosophy behind KanbanMuhammad Zeeshan Ali, PMP, PMI-ACP
Imagine yourself driving in a single lane and then reaching a wider road with four different lanes. The wider road is automated and allows the next car to take any of the free lanes out of the four. The same concept goes into the Kanban to allow efficient flow of traffic.
Kanban was initially designed for the car manufacturing industry specifically for management of its assembly line. The implementation was aimed at providing resources for the next task as soon as it gets free from the previous one. It was gradually adopted by other industries and currently it is most commonly and popularly used in project management.
There is no complex equation or high tech resources required to adopt Kanban. It is a simple board with tasks and simple small papers sticked to the wall can serve the purpose. The simple concept is that the Product Owner or the Customer simply arrange stories in order of their priority. The team just works on the board with resources picking up the available task on the top. As soon as the resource finishes its task and gets free, it picks up the next available task on the list.
Kanban, despite being a simple task board, provides a very good overall visibility. Everyone is able to see who is working on which item and what is finished etc. There is no confusion among the team members regarding the next task. The good thing is that there are no bottlenecks as far as overall work is concerned. The resources get treated equally without facing any favoritism to any specific resources. From management’s point of view, it is much easier to monitor work progress and team members’ performance levels.
One important assumption or requirement of effectively implementing Kanban is that all resources possess the same domain knowledge and basic skill set. Ther cannot be dependencies on specific resources other than the core concept of Kanban will not work unless you make some adjustment to Kanban.
In short, Kanban is based on smooth flow of activities through automated distribution of work to the next available resource. It is simply based on what needs to be done on priority.