Our journey into the Kanban

Written by Steve on February 5, 2015

I thought I’d write a quick update on our Kanban system and why we love it.

We switched to the Kanban model late last year after much soul searching around using a modified version of Agile – don’t get me wrong, Agile is the way forward on large complex projects but using it every day on smaller day-to-day client work can make it more time consuming and actually anti-agile (if you know what I mean).

For me the beauty of the Kanban system is the flexible and customisable approach on how your can modify the methodology to your own business. Whether thats a development agency like us or a pick and post company, the easy, visual presentation and flow really does help with productivity and project awareness. A Kanban board is great tool to really hone your processes, allowing you to find any bottlenecks in your workflow and then adjust accordingly.

We think it’s great.

You can see that our dev team really enjoy the Kanban approach, Ben especially loves it, just look at that happy face.

kanban-ben

 If you are interested in adopting a Kanban system, here a few steps on how to get started:

  1. Map your value stream (your development process).
    Where do feature ideas come from? What are all the steps that the idea goes through until it’s sitting in the hands of the end-user?
  2. Define the start and end points for the Kanban system.
  3. These should preferably be where you have political control. Don’t worry too much about starting with a narrow focus, as people outside the span will soon ask to join in.
  4. Agree:
    • Initial WIP limits and policies for changing or temporarily breaking them
    • Process for prioritising and selecting features
    • Policies for different classes of service (e.g. “standard”, “expedite”, “fixed delivery date”). Are estimates needed? When choosing work, which will be selected first?
    • Frequency of reviews
  5. Draw up a Kanban board.
    All you need is a whiteboard and some Post-It™ notes. Don’t spend too much time making it look beautiful because it will almost certainly evolve.
  6. Start using it.
  7. Empirically adjust.

So, have you incorporated a Kanban system into your work life? or just starting out? Let us know on social media! We’d love to hear your thoughts on Kanban!