In this article, you will learn the basics of the Kanban framework. Kanban is an agile project management visual system inspired by the automotive sector (Toyota in Japan) and in so-called “lean” processes.
Kanban for the agile team
Using the visual practice of Kanban will allow you to manage and track the state of your project. Present each user story as a poster and position them on a board according to their advancement status. In agile project management, you can move the posters according to 3 standings:
- No task in the user story has yet been executed (To do).
- The user story is in progress (In progress/Doing).
- All the tasks of the user story are done (Done).
Also add a column to test the achievements of your team (To Verify), as well as transverse lines to delimit each state.
Kanban (a Japanese term meaning “signboard or sign”) facilitates collaboration between members of your agile team. It is also an effective method to monitor the continuous improvement of the product or service to be developed.
Each member of your team is free to choose the user story they wish to achieve. The work is not imposed by a third party. Here is the mode of operation:
- He takes sole responsibility for the end-to-end user story.
- It starts by moving the user story from “To do” to “In progress.”
- It then moves the poster from “In progress” to “Completed” when the user story is finalized.
To begin, I invite you to minimize the number of user stories in the “In progress” and “To Verify” columns to 2 or 3. You will have the opportunity to motivate the members of your team to help each other to move user stories as quickly as possible.
I’m not describing the “continuous” Kanban framework better suited to maintenance or continuous evolution projects than to projects whose delivery date is crucial.
Each signboard (post-it card) of the Kanban board has all the following information:
- The user story reference
- The user story value (priority)
- The complexity of the user story
- Description of the tasks to be performed
- Acceptance criteria (on the back of the poster)
You can also use specific job-tracking software like Kanban Tool, JIRA, Trello, RealtimeBoard, and Framaboard––or presentation tools like Padlet and Prezi. However, I encourage you to work on a wall display to emerge an agile work environment. Your team has nothing to hide from the client or to each other! Agile is all about clarity.
Kanban for the Agile Coach
In agile project management, Kanban values your visual management. Write on the walls and share goals with all the members of your agile team. You put all the members at the same level (information, progress, difficulties, etc.). You also respect all the fundamentals of the project (architecture, various constraints, etc.).
The Kanban method is progressive. In other words, it guarantees the continuation of tasks as it evolves changes of the product or service to be developed. It is also an iterative method when the development cycles are identical. You must then choose to reset the Kanban table every day, every week, or every month.
Here are the 5 main advantages of the Kanban framework for the agile coach:
- Visualize the workflow
- Minimize the number tasks in progress
- Manage the workflow
- Establish organizational rules
- Suggest improvement actions
I advise you to play an active role in the management of the project (especially when it about managing the workflow). The work of your agile team must be monitored, measured, and reported in a transparent manner. Promote instant sharing of information and use the board as a presentation tool for your daily meetings with the team.
The Kanban adaptation for agile project management was set out in 2010 by David J. Anderson, an American professor. I also add a visual alert indicator so that I can quickly help the team members when needed. Then you will acquire the last skill to optimize your expertise: make a burndown chart for lean project management.
In summary, Use the Kanban framework to display user stories in your work environment and keep track of your team’s progress.