What is Kanban?
Before we dive into the main topic which is “Sprint vs Kanban”, let’s learn what is Kanban. Since the early 1960s, the term “process” has been translated from the Japanese word “kanban,” which means “visual board” or a “sign,” and has been used in this context. Kanban is a workflow management method that is used to define, manage, and improve a variety of service delivery processes. It is designed to assist users in better visualising their work and goals, while simultaneously optimising efficiency and fostering a culture of continuous improvement.
Explaining the Kanban System
It all started in the world of manufacturing, but eventually it became a territory that Agile software development teams claimed for their own complex systems. Due to the fact that many brands have chosen to adopt the kanban method to streamline their operations, it has recently gained a lot of interest from businesses and industries all around the world. It wasn’t your average meeting where people show up a few minutes late with moleskin notebooks and freshly brewed coffee. People were more likely to show up with scribbles on a piece of paper, which they brought with them. In addition, there was no mention of it in the diary.
What does kanban mean then?
The term “signboard” or “billboard” is translated from the Japanese word “kanban.” Another name for the well-known manufacturing and project management system known as the Kanban Method is “the Kanban Method.” The Kanban Method utilises a visual tracking system as its foundational principle. It is made much simpler for everyone who is working on a project if the progress that has been made is shown to them.
Kanban was initially developed as a scheduling system for lean manufacturing processes. Its roots can be traced back to the Toyota Production System (TPS), where it was first implemented (TPS). Toyota workers began implementing a “just in time” manufacturing strategy on the company’s assembly line toward the end of the 1940s. This occurred as the decade of the 1940s came to a close. This strategy represented a pull system, which indicates that production is based solely on the demand placed by customers. This contrasts with the more traditional push practise, which encourages you to produce goods first, and then to push them out onto the market. The objective is to manage the workflow and cut down on the total amount of time it takes for items to be finished. Their one-of-a-kind JIT production system was instrumental in laying the groundwork for what is now known as Lean manufacturing. Kanban’s primary objective is to reduce waste to the absolute minimum without compromising productivity in the process. This results in improved value for the end user without any accompanying increase in operational expenses.
Related Article: Top 8 Examples of Companies Using Kanban System (technosuggest.com)
Boffins working in the software and technology industries at the turn of the 21st century quickly realised how kanban could have a positive impact on the delivery of their goods and services. This realisation occurred shortly after kanban was introduced. As a result, kanban was successfully able to leave the automotive industry and be applied to other complex commercial sectors such as, but not limited to, information technology, software development, research and development, and many more by capitalising on developments in computing technology to better improve efficiency. At the beginning of 2007, a new method was developed, which is now generally accepted as the canonical form of the kanban system. It is possible for anyone to create their own Kanban system because all that is required is the establishment of a straightforward Kanban board with three fundamental columns labelled “requested,” “in progress,” and “done.” When the kanban method is properly designed, managed, and in operation, it will act as a real-time data repository that displays any system bottlenecks as well as anything else that can prevent you from achieving your goals of efficient, uninterrupted working practises. Any system bottlenecks will be brought to light when this happens.
What are the kanban’s guiding principles and procedures?
Kanban is not a work ethic but rather a workflow management system. Kanban, in contrast to other agile frameworks, does not come with a predetermined set of rules, roles, or ceremonies that must be adhered to in order to “do it right.” Nevertheless, there are some general principles and practises, which can be broken down into the following six categories:
- Visualise the work. The development process is frequently “invisible” until it is finally finished. Therefore, it is helpful to have a high-level view of the work items in order to understand the status and progress of the project. Kanban boards are utilised for this purpose.
- Limit WIP. It is possible to finish projects in a shorter amount of time if you prioritise what is most important, limit the amount of work that each person has, and concentrate on finishing one thing before moving on to the next.
- Control flow. When you manage flow, you are not managing the people who are actually carrying out the work; rather, you are managing the work processes themselves. This necessitates having an in-depth understanding of how these processes operate, the reasons that are at the root of the roadblocks, and the areas in which the processes can be improved to finish work more quickly.
- Make process policies explicit. Understanding how processes are currently carried out is the first step toward improving them. Your goal should be to produce documentation that is both understandable and simple enough for anyone to access. Improved onboarding, increased knowledge sharing, and greater self-sufficiency are all outcomes that can result from transparent documentation.
- Implement feedback loops. The team is able to better communicate with stakeholders and react more quickly to shifts in workflows and priorities with the assistance of feedback loops, which are also known as cadences. One example of a feedback loop in practise is the daily kanban meetings that are held by teams. These meetings, which are very similar to the daily standups that are held in scrum, are opportunities to discuss capacity, report on progress, and raise any concerns that may exist.
- Improve collaboratively. Collaboration among team members is necessary for continuous and sustainable improvement; you need to reach a consensus on what aspects of the system are being modified and why. Ask “what if?” and put hypotheses to the test, then monitor how the performance of the team responds to the changes. For instance, you can use a throughput report to keep track of the number of kanban cards that are finished by the team in a specific amount of time. These numbers will assist you in better comprehending your current capacity and determining whether or not to adjust what you have committed to.
WHAT IS A SPRINT?
In Agile Scrum, a period of time known as a “sprint” can last anywhere from two to four weeks. During these focused work intervals, a self-organizing Scrum team works toward achieving the goals that were established by the Product Owner. At the conclusion of a sprint, the team hands in the deliverable they’ve been working on, collects feedback on it, and then considers how that feedback will impact the priorities they’ll be working on during the following sprint.
KANBAN VS. SPRINT: HOW DO THEY DIFFER?
Iterations that are limited in terms of time and during which teams concentrate on getting things done are called sprints. Kanban, on the other hand, is a technique for the management of a team’s project tasks through the use of a Kanban board. The goal of Kanban is to achieve continuous improvement, specifically the slow but steady reduction of task lead times. On the other hand, there is no time limit. The purpose of Kanban is to facilitate continuous workflow improvement and standardisation. In the meantime, the goal of each Sprint in Agile Scrum is to be able to produce deliverables that are already functioning and are ready for testing and feedback. Before producing a finished product, the team will be able to complete multiple testing rounds and iteration cycles thanks to this ability.
WHAT SHOULD YOU PICK?
Kanban is an excellent choice that you should consider taking advantage of even if your only goal is to use a continuous workflow and to visualise your tasks. The Kanban cards and Kanban board both have an intuitive design that makes them easy to use. If you want to subject your deliverable to many rounds of testing and feedback, using Sprints can be an effective method to employ. This methodology is typically adopted by software developers. Combining the two approaches is another viable choice: Make use of sprints to set concrete goals that can be achieved in a relatively short amount of time, and make use of Kanban to keep track of the tasks that are necessary to finish the sprint. In the end, the project you are working on will determine which tools are the best ones for your team to use. Be sure to select a versatile project management tool such as Workamajig, which supports both the kanban method and the sprint method, so that you have the freedom to modify your strategies in accordance with your requirements.
Kanban vs Sprint: What’s The Difference? (2022, November 2). Kanban Vs Sprint: What’s the Difference? Retrieved January 27, 2023, from https://www.workamajig.com/blog/kanban-methodology-guide/kanban-vs-sprint
What Is Kanban? Origin, Definitions, and Tips for Implementation. (n.d.). What Is Kanban? Origin, Definitions, and Tips for Implementation | Aha! Software. Retrieved January 27, 2023, from https://www.aha.io/roadmapping/guide/agile/what-is-kanban
Kanban System Explained for Beginners | Kanban Method | Leanscape. (2021, June 24). Kanban System Explained for Beginners | Kanban Method | Leanscape. Retrieved January 27, 2023, from https://leanscape.io/kanban-explained-for-beginners/