Chapter 9. Kanban, Flow, and Constantly Improving

Kanban is not a software development lifecycle methodology or an approach to project management. It requires that some process is already in place so that Kanban can be applied to incrementally change the underlying process.

David Anderson, Kanban

Kanban is a method for process improvement used by agile teams. Teams that use Kanban start by understanding the way that they currently build software, and make improvements to it over time. Like Scrum and XP, Kanban requires a mindset. Specifically, it requires the lean thinking mindset. We’ve already learned that Lean is the name for a mindset, with values and principles.  Teams that use Kanban start by applying the Lean mindset to the way they work. This provides a solid foundation which, combined with the Kanban method, gives them the means to improve their process. When teams use Kanban to improve, they focus on eliminating the waste from their process (including muda, mura, and muri—the wastes of unevenness, overburdening, and futility that we learned about in Chapter 8).

Kanban is a manufacturing term, adapted for software development by David Anderson. Here’s how he describes its relationship to Lean in his 2010 book, Kanban: “The Kanban Method introduces a complex adaptive system that is intended to catalyze a Lean outcome within an organization.” There are teams that apply Lean and lean thinking to software development without using Kanban, but Kanban is by far the most common—and, ...

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