agile > chapter 1 the agile approach > 16 kanban


This is a visual management tool. It is based on the Andon system, meaning "lamp" in Japanese. It can be considered as part of Lean philosophy where persons implement a set of communication measures in order to clearly express the current state of work in a productive system.

This type of management can be applied in multiple areas:

Kanban is a information radiator meaning that information is obvious to anyone observing it. There is no technical overhead or expertise involved in assessing the current amount of work completed by the team. We can clearly which task is in certain phase or hasn't been started as yet or will be completed soon.

Using kanban

Kanban as a tool is a task board but as a methodology it is a specific way to use the task board to push the word forward. The following information should be accessible at a glance:

Best practices in using kanban

The following allow us to effectively use kanban:

The fixed nature of time boxes

We do not add tasks to the board when the iteration begins. We only add tasks when planning for the iteration. We keep iterations short to make pivoting the direction of the project easy. The amount of work wasted, in the case of the requirements changing, is also small. We make tasks simple so that the information needed to start them is minimal.