what is kanban;how to use it in your business

Kanban appeared in Japan around the 1960s, implemented by Toyota to make tighter control of its stock.

The objective was to allow the success of just-in-time production, that is: an item was only available to be used in the production process exactly when it was needed.

To do this, cards were used on boards that signaled to team members when it was necessary to produce the item to be integrated in the production line.

See here 3 examples of kanban board created by those who understand the subject .

Agile methodologies, in turn, were born from the so-called agile manifesto , created at the beginning of this century, which aimed to dictate guidelines for the development of software in a way that met the needs of customers through a constant evolution of its attributes and functionalities, always tested before being implemented.

Today, agile methodology is used in many areas, from product development to marketing.

In this post, you can learn more about a very specific way to use the agile methodology: Agile marketing for a successful team

To understand what the kanban agile methodology is, take into account that it combines the best characteristics of these two concepts, and that is what we are going to talk about in this post.

What is kanban agile methodology: definitely understand

The kanban agile methodology keeps its way of being employing some of the concepts that originally inspired it, when idealized in Toyota’s production lines.

Thus, the flow of tasks in your process – whether for the development of software, the creation of a marketing campaign or any other project – must be continuous and uninterrupted, without delays or waiting.

All resource losses must be avoided, which is closely related to the idea of ​​the agile method of making small advances in your project, testing them and only moving forward if everything is confirmed.

This avoids large losses that would occur if it were necessary to change everything, after a huge advance and investments in the project had been made.

In addition, one task starts only after the other has been completed, but without anyone being idle. Thus, in this analogy, instead of the pieces and items following the “production belt”, in the kanban agile methodology, tasks are passed from person to person, always at the right time.

Finally, one of the concepts that has never been abandoned and that remains today in the kanban agile methodology is the visual control of the process, usually through tables, which we will see later.

To avoid misunderstandings about these and other related nomenclatures, you can consult this text: Are lean and kanban boards the same thing? After all, what’s the difference?

The 4 principles of the kanban agile methodology

When creating your agile kanbam process flow charts, keep these 4 principles in mind:

  1. Communication must be agile and intuitive, using visual signals that are easy to understand.
  2. Tasks must always be flowing, but there is a limit to the number of tasks in progress beyond which it is impossible to work with quality.
  3. Periodically control the flow of tasks through KPIs and tests to predict future problems.
  4. It seeks to achieve not only the continuous improvement of processes, but to add value to each stage of the project under development, to deliver a final result fully in tune with the needs of customers.

Inspired by these principles, the kanban (and scrum  too) develop frameworks to monitor agile processes.

We will understand these pictures better in the next topic.

Posters kanban agile

These tables do not have a fixed model, and can vary from project to project, after all, developing software and creating a marketing campaign encompass tasks that can be quite different.

The initial concept of the tables created according to the kanban agile methodology has 3 columns, where the tasks are allocated and, as they are discharged, they are moved to the next column.

Thus, the first column is TO DO, the second IN PROGRESS and the third DONE.

As each member of the team takes on a task for the board that was in the DO column, he transfers it to the IN PROGRESS column, which allows general control over what is being done, what has already ended ( because it was placed in the DONE column) and what needs to be resolved.

Subsequently, these tables gained new columns and one of the most used configurations in software development, for example, has 6 of them:


Thus, through the agile kanban methodology it is possible to develop projects and lead teams in a very visual and integrated way, achieving their results more quickly and assertively.

Do you want to go deeper into this subject? Then read another post from our blog: One of the authors of the manifesto criticizes the Agile and Scrum methodologies

by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

Leave a Comment