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What is Kanban – a card, a board, a system, or a method?

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Jyoti Singh
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What is Kanban – a card, a board, a system, or a method?

Tue May 18, 2021 2:10 pm

What is Kanban? - It is a means to design, manage, and improve flow systems for knowledge work, which also allows organizations to start with their existing workflow and drive evolutionary change. You can do this by visualizing your flow of work, limit work in progress (WIP), and stop starting and start finishing.

So, What is Kanban – a card, a board, a system, or a method? - Let’s explore

In short, the answer is – Kanban is all of them.

Kanban is a Japanese term which literally means Signboard or Billboard. The word ‘Kanban’ has its origin in both Hiragana (Japanese language) and Kanji (Chinese language). In Hiragana, it means a ‘Signal card’ while in Kanji it means a ‘Sign’ or ‘Large visual board'.

The Kanban is a term coined and popularized by David Anderson adapted for knowledge work such as:-

- Software development
- IT management
- Business processes such as (Procurement, legal, HR, marketing, and many others), etc.

Kanban helps you harness the power of visual information by using sticky notes on a whiteboard to create a picture of your work using four basic columns:

1 - To do
2 - In progress
3 - Testing
4 - Done

Whiteboard with Sticky Notes...jpg
Whiteboard with Sticky Notes...jpg (166.28 KiB) Viewed 190 times

Of course, you can model your exact process that you currently follow. Generally, there are three core practices of the Kanban method which are:

1- Visualize your workflow
2- Limit work in progress.
3- Measure and Manage the flow.


The main objective of a Kanban system is the smooth flow of work from start to completion without unnecessary slowdown or stoppage. By reducing the work in progress, Kanban helps you to reduce multitasking and encourages completing the work at hand before taking up anything new. This also helps to improve overall system flow and to reduce delays, reduces time to market, delivers work early and often and, helping your organization become Lean and Agile.

If you are planning to learn about Kanban training options (in affiliation with Kanban University) if you wish to gain expertise on Kanban Method and/or wish to evaluate its applicability to your team/organization.

Join Upcoming Kanban System Design (KMP Foundation 1) Virtual Class - https://www.izenbridge.com/kanban-syste ... ing-kmp-1/, https://www.izenbridge.com/kanban-manag ... nal-kmp-2/

For more details, check out our collection of Kanban Videos on - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GAX2KE ... xnjUMplACJ

Thanks & Kind Regards,
Jyoti Singh

https://www.izenbridge.com/
Certification & beyond|Email: jyoti.singh@izenbridge.com
Thanks & Kind Regards,
Jyoti Singh
https://www.izenbridge.com/
Certification & beyond|Email: jyoti.singh@izenbridge.com

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