Kanban systems helps in achieving better process control (keep continuous flow while limiting WIP) and
better process improvement (Make the flow visible). A Kanban System manages the flow in a way which allows the Product Backlog, time-boxed Iterations and estimations can be eliminated. Kanban provides transparency into both the work and the process, showing how work is passed from one group to another and thereby improving understanding and teamwork. This helps teams to organize themselves more effectively and provides senior management with the visibility required to govern effectively. Improved flow and quality shortens lead times, which in turn improves performance and predictability.
There are two key things which i definitely like in Kanban.
1. Getting to Done. Since the team will work in one MMF and only one MMF, you will always get to Done stage. Most of the times, the development gets stuck because the requirement is not clear. Such things will be highlighted at a very initial stage of development here.
2. Task board: Even though the Task board concept is not something new, Kanban Task board highlights issues when things are not flowing from one stage to another. You have a way to highlight that something is stuck and you can hope that the management and everyone’s attention will be moved to the task cards that are not flowing.
Challenges in Implementing Kanban
I was thinking about the challenges in implementing this in an offshore setup. I found a related article. I just changed the introduction content a little bit.
Following a Kanban process will force us to challenge some ingrained habits.
The idea of limiting the amount of Work in Process (WIP) in a step may sound good, but actually submitting to limits is challenging the first few times . In an offshore setup, there may be a tendency to focus on how much time is spent working or how many tasks an individual is completing.
Kanban forces us to face these measurement systems and correct some of the flaws they drive into our processes. Rather than measuring how hard an individual is working in a single step, we measure how well we deliver through the entire process.
Rather than measure how many hours an individual is working, we can measure how many hours of work we have removed from the process.
Where the old measurement system is asking why we aren’t piling up more work in between development and QA, Kanban is forcing us to question how we can improve the throughput or decrease the rework rate.
Ingrained habits are difficult to change and if you are not a product house and in a services unit, it requires a change at the organization level.