Introduction to Kanban Basics

Get educated!

There is an enormous amount of resources available on the Internet and some great books that have been written up on Kanban. Some of the best authors/ thought-leaders that can help you get started on your Kanban journey are:

  1. David J Anderson:
  2. Corey Ladas
  3. Jim Benson
  4. Yuval Yeret

Besides these and several other books, there are a large number of blogs and other resources available here in our Resource page as well as on our own Blog.

Get Help if you need!

Clearly, having someone on your team who has the experience and expertise to help you with the Kanban implementation can be of tremendous help. If you don’t have someone on your staff, you can get help from a wide range of consultants. You can look at some of our Consulting Partners here. You can also ask as question and connect with various consultants on the kanbandev and kanbanops groups on Yahoo!

Get Started With Kanban! (Introduction to Kanban Methodology)

As David Anderson says in his book, Kanban is an evolutionary system – therein lies its beauty. As long as you have and can describe your existing process, you can start to use the basic principles of Kanban to observe, measure and improve what you are doing. In order to start using Kanban in your project or business functions, you will need to start with the basic steps that are the core principles of the Kanban Method:

    1. Visualize your value stream or workflow. These are the standard set of steps – both value-adding steps (where work is getting done) and waiting steps (such as Ready – waiting to start or Done, waiting for the next stage) till work is completed on a specific deliverable such as a position to be closed or a campaign to be completed or a software feature to be delivered. You can also identify the different types of deliverables (work items) that you are dealing with – since each of them may have a slightly different workflow or value stream.
    2. Define WIP Limits. While this may not be critical to start with, pretty soon you want to define the maximum number of work items (cards) that be there at any time in each stage of the value stream – both value-adding as well as waiting stages – so that you can start to ensure that work gets completed before new work gets taken up. A key motto in Kanban – Stop starting. Start finishing!
    3. Observe and Measure. Start to observe the flow and measure simple metrics such as Lead Time and Cycle Time.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes! Kanban is a system that encourages experimentation. If things don’t seem to go well, make changes in your Kanban system till they start to make sense.

Once you go past the basics, you can then start to go to the more advanced aspects of designing and working your “Kanban system” in order to better design your operations and to achieve better outcomes in terms of throughput, quality and lead times, so that you can start to make better commitments to your customers – internal or external.

Additional questions you may have –

Check out some of the great resources on the right side of this page. You can also sign up for an upcoming webinar on Kanban – or look at some great previous webinars conducted by people such as David Anderson and Dr. Masa K Maeda!

Or, if you want to explore SwiftKanban, you can check out our rich set of features or perhaps signup for a free trial!

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