Kanban for Software Teams

11 September, 2017 |

Extremely competitive contemporary firms strive for effective, efficient, robust and quick solutions that are capable of delivering high-quality products. Applying the notion of Kanban is helping businesses reach this goal.

Kanban was originally designed and used by Toyota as a means to help their project groups envision the whole procedure workflow, resulting in improved communication and team work among group members. Additionally, the concept helped to regulate signals and enhance procedures, leading to less waste and improved value.

Due to these straightforward advantages, the key fundamentals of Kanban have been adopted by other industries such as software development and testing.

Kanban helps ensure the quick release of quality applications allowing improved team collaboration. In this way, the whole software development and testing procedure is split into different phases, and activities are moved from one phase to the next as the procedure moves forward. A Kanban board is set up to conceptualize the whole procedure as well as the activities assigned to each relevant member of a project.

Usually, a Kanban board possesses the following key features:

  • Columns and Rows – Columns indicate stages of the procedure the activity must carry out before reaching completion. Rows show the horizontal grouping of factors in the active board and may show activities or urgency levels, personnel, and other details.
  • Individual Kanban Cards – They provide complete information on a particular activity such as type, specifications, deadlines, personnel and all relevant documents.
  • Work In Progress (WIP) Limits – They indicate the maximum quantity of task items supported by a particular stage or the complete workflow.
  • Card Blocking – It indicates activities which may cause difficulties for the team dealing with the board.

These elements allow Kanban to provide a smooth software development methodology which centers on timely delivery of practicality via WIP controls.

Advantages of Kanban

The most significant advantage of Kanban is minimizing waste via proper emphasis as well as setting up WIP limits which result in a general boost to the throughput. Additionally, Kanban is easy to adopt. It is not necessary to alter the existing processes to cater for Kanban. Instead, the current workflow can continue with Kanban behaving as an overlay atop the existing procedures.

Kanban also has a positive effect on the general working style of a group by adopting a mentality of timely project completion and promoting leadership throughout the organizational structure. Kanban works by ensuring that the whole work-chain is visible to all relevant stakeholders, so that if bottlenecks occur, every single person is aware of where this has happened.

Additionally, everyone is collectively responsible for making sure that workflow progresses in a way which boosts team spirit. Ultimately, Kanban aids in promoting a high-level of transparency as well as real-time communication abilities.