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- Means ‘billboard’ or ‘signboard’ in Japanese
- Inspired by the Toyota Production System (TPS) – a precursor to lean manufacturing inspired by the just-in-time inventory replenishment adopted by supermarkets
- Its use in software development evolved from a 2004 project at Microsoft
- Highly visual – use of a Kanban board
- This is the single source of truth
- Can be a physical or virtual board
- No fixed steps
- Limit Work In Progress (WIP)
- Reduces waste from context switching and multitasking
- Promotes collaboration
- Exposes operational problems quickly (and tries to improve them)
- Focus on Flow
- A side effect of limiting Work In Progress is that tickets get pushed through the process more rapidly
- This encourages the team to get in-flow tickets finished before starting new work
- Evolution not revolution
- Small changes, pushed through quickly
- Fast cycle times
- Continuous Improvement
- Constantly evalutate what works and what doesn’t to improve the process
Differences With Scrum
- Scrum has regular fixed length sprints (typically 2 or 3 weeks). Each Sprint starts with a sprint planning meeting, where stories from the backlog are chosen for the sprint, and a retrospective at the end of the sprint. Kanban flow is continuous.
- Scrum typically releases at the end of the sprint. Kanban can be released at any point.
- Scrum has defined roles – Product Owner, Scrum Master, etc. Kanban has no predefined roles.
- Scrum uses the Velocity metric (how many story points can be delivered in a Sprint). Kanban used Cycle Time (how quickly it takes a task to be delivered, from when work begins to when it is delivered)
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