Kanban is a concept related to Lean Manufacturing and just-in-time (JIT) production. The Japanese word kanban is a common term meaning "signboard" or "billboard". According to Taiichi Ohno, the man credited with developing JIT, kanban is a means through which JIT is achieved. Kanban is a signaling system to trigger action. As its name suggests, kanban historically uses cards to signal the need for an item. However, other devices such as plastic markers (kanban squares) or balls (often golf balls) or an empty part-transport trolley or floor location can also be used to trigger the movement, production, or supply of a unit in a factory. It was out of a need to maintain the level of improvements that the kanban system was devised by Toyota. Kanban became an effective tool to support the running of the production system as a whole. In addition, it proved to be an excellent way for promoting improvements because reducing the number of kanban in circulation highlighted problem area.


see Kanban Board

Alex Salazar's joy at switching from Scrum to Kanban: a continuous flow model (Agile Software Development).

  • but WikiWikiWeb:KanbanInSoftwareDevelopment claims: The problem I have with applying the KanbanSystem to software development is that it's an inappropriate tool for the job. Because the KanbanSystem is only applicable to processes that move work through sequential steps, teams adopting the KanbanSystem must create artificial problems in the software development process, by separating their work into sequential steps (a la WaterfallModel) so that they can use the KanbanSystem to solve SOME of the problems this causes. The fundamental problem here is that kanban is a manufacturing process, while software development is a design process. The manufacturing process of software development is the act of compiling, linking and copying the deliverable software artifacts. In a well-run software development shop these steps are fully automated. (So if you have Continuous Delivery you might not need it.)

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