The word Kanban Comes from Toyota Manufacturing and stands for Signalling Card. In manufacturing, there is upstream – when work starts and downstream where work is moving into for next things to be worked.on.

Kanban is based on Flow, unlike Scrum which is based on timebox. Take a look at the picture below to understand Flow.


Picture A

Imagine a pipe or a road that looks like A. Even though it looks great in the beginning, it soon hits a bottleneck. It does not matter how much you put through the system its going to slow doing around the bottle neck. Bottleneck are a natural point for lines or queues to build.

Picture B:

In order to reduce the bottlenext the downstream sends a signal card to slow down upstream so that the work evens out. That is what is shown in the green part of the picture.

Picture C:

Fix the bottleneck and then increase the overall capacity of the valuestream.

So Kanban essentially comes down to three things

  1. Visualize your work
  2. Limit Work in Progress
  3. Create Flow.

Voila, that is essentially it.

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