Kanban – 5 Simple Tips for Beginners

Eugene LaiWed, 09/19/2018 - 16:25

In April 2018, Scrum.org published the “Kanban Guide for Scrum Teams” to help educate Scrum teams on the concepts and practices of Kanban, which are logically integrated with Scrum Theory. As stated in the Kanban Guide, Kanban is defined as “a strategy for optimizing the flow of stakeholder value through a process that uses a visual, work-in-progress limited pull system”. Very simply put, the purpose of this approach is to deploy a lean, optimized workflow that enables work to be completed as efficiently as possible. There are many techniques that can be applied with relatively small effort.

Over the past decade of working with Agile teams to help them adopt Scrum and Kanban practices, I have personally experienced many anti-patterns (what NOT to do), which has helped me focus on the positive behaviors. In this article, I would like to share some of those learning and tips to help your teams apply Kanban to optimize the overall success of your Agile teams.

Tip #1 – Do NOT choose Kanban solely because Scrum isn’t as successful as you had expected

Tip #2 – Implement WIP (Work In Progress) limits as soon as possible

Tip #3 – Hold reviews and retrospectives consistently

Tip #4 – Establish no more than two classes of service to start



Tip #5 – Focus on identification and elimination of bottlenecks

As your team continues to experiment and learn how to reap the benefits of Kanban, encourage them to continue to try new ways of working. Kanban may appear to be very simplistic, yet it is a very powerful tool that can accelerate your team and empower them to achieve breakthrough results, even if your team are seasoned Scrum practitioners!