Effective Forecasting: Estimation in Kanban
Process Improvement, Project Management

Effective Forecasting: Estimation in Kanban

When it comes to project management, the big question is always “How long will this take?”. From single work items to entire projects, making accurate delivery forecasts maintains a high level of customer trust and satisfaction. In the Agile community, there are many different opinions about how often estimation should be performed and how detailed an estimate should be. Some teams prefer not to estimate at all – time spent making estimates is time that could have been spent creating…

Keeping Things Clear: Kanban Rules
Process Improvement, Team Performance

Keeping Things Clear: Kanban Rules

In any project, work items need to be prioritised above others. Classes of Service (CoS) are a way of setting up parallel workflow streams in Kanban projects to handle tasks with different levels of priority. For Classes of Service to work correctly, however, you must set Kanban rules on how different classes should be treated. So what does this mean for you and your team in practice? Prioritisation The first step to implementing Kanban rules is to define your Classes…

Process Improvement, Project Management

Strengthen the Weakest Link: Theory of Constraints

In the same way that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, the throughput of a multi-stage process is limited by the slowest step. The Theory of Constraints states that in order to improve any system, this weakest link or constraint must be improved or eliminated, and the next priority becomes finding and eliminating the next-weakest link. The Theory of Constraints methodology has been applied in many countries, many types of company and many industries leading to…

From supermarkets to software: History of Kanban
Process Improvement, Project Management

From supermarkets to software: History of Kanban

Who could have guessed that supermarket restocking techniques could affect project management several decades into the future? New stock was ordered as previous inventory ran out, instead of regularly timed shipments from a supplier. Applying “Just-in-time” inventory system to the factory floor increased production levels, improved efficiency and removed waste. Kanban – meaning visual signal in Japanese – cards were used to clearly communicate when actions are required. From Kanban’s history in manufacturing, Kanban has spread worldwide and is used across…

Kanban CFD Patterns
Process Improvement, Project Management

Reading the Signs: Kanban CFD Patterns

To improve workflows, first you should understand how to identify problem areas. The Kanban method uses visual methods for evaluating your processes. The Kanban cumulative flow diagram is a particularly powerful tool. The CFD records the number of tasks in each process state at regular intervals, generally daily or weekly. As work progresses and the amount of data grows, the CFD plots a visual history of the project. At a glance, you can track lead times, work in progress and…

Kanban best practices
Process Improvement, Project Management

Observe, Manage, Evolve: Kanban Practices

The Kanban Method has exploded in popularity, largely because of its simplicity. Kanban is used to improve team productivity and workflow efficiency. It is designed to be flexible to the needs of your projects. There are six Kanban practices that are essential to successful implementation and form the foundation of Kanban workflows. Visualise Workflow The first and most important Kanban practice is visualisation, going back to its origins on the factory floor. The English translation of Kanban is “signboard” or “billboard” –…

Kanban workflow
Process Improvement, Project Management

Improving Processes: Kanban Workflow

The Kanban Method focuses on making iterative, incremental changes to work processes to increase efficiency and productivity. How can you translate your project processes into Kanban workflows and make them more efficient? What is a Kanban Workflow? A Kanban workflow is made up of the step-by-step process states between starting and delivering a task. The simplest workflow could have just three process states – To Do, Doing and Done. Tasks move sequentially from the first state to the last. In reality,…

Little’s Law and Kanban
Process Improvement, Project Management

Stable Systems: Little’s Law and Kanban

When discussing Agile methodology and Kanban, one equation makes frequent appearances: Little’s Law. But what does this formula have to do with project management? While originating from queuing theory, Little’s Law has been found to apply to all kinds of different systems – from retail to design to development. In Kanban, Little’s Law links the three basic metrics – throughput, cycle time and work in progress – in one simple formula. Understanding how these Kanban metrics are connected allows you…

Work in progress limits
Process Improvement, Team Performance

Do Less to Do More: Kanban WIP Limits

Have you felt like your team is always busy, but nothing is ever quite finished? With a constant stream of new requests from clients and management, it’s easy to jump from task to task without delivering results. Kanban WIP limits stop too many tasks from getting stuck in the “Doing” stage – and get more Done. Apply them to your Kanban board to improve team focus, reduce cycle times and increase customer satisfaction. What are Kanban WIP limits? Work In…

Kanban swimlanes
Process Improvement, Project Management

Improve Task Organisation: Kanban Swimlanes

Teams turn to the Kanban method to streamline workflows and improve process efficiency. With large teams and complex projects, however, a common issue occurs – the Kanban board becomes cluttered and hard to read. Kanban swimlanes are used to tame this visual clutter and improve task organisation. What are Kanban swimlanes? In large projects, different team members often need to focus on different work items. Your developers and your customer service aren’t going to have any overlap, and your team…