Have you recently come across the terms Kanban and agile? And have no idea what it means? Well, your search for answers ends here. Let’s look at what these means and how we can implement them in our daily lives. Also, there are several personal kanban software in the market. While some of them are free, they do have their limitations. In case you want a free kanban platform with no restrictions on the features, the Kanban project is a perfect option.
Previously, in the field of Software development, it was the waterfall model that was prevalent. In the waterfall model of software development, the software is launched or deployed sequentially. Initially, the requirements of the software would be noted down, usually by the business analyst. From there, the development team would work on the design and implementation of the software, and the last phase would be the maintenance. Thus, the software was developed sequentially in the waterfall model and passed from one stage to the next only when that stage was completed.
Things changed when agile methodology came into the picture. Agile methodology is based on continuous iterations. Unlike the waterfall model of software development, software development does not require the completion of one phase to move to the next. Agile stresses on continuous planning and flexibility to achieve the goal. In agile methodology, a part of the software’s functionalities is written down in the form of user stories, and the development teams then proceed to work on the batch of user stories. Here the development of one part of the software and the testing of another element can take place side by side.
How Does Kanban Come Into All Of These?
Before we get to Kanban and its application in the software industry, let us see how Kanban was developed.
“Kan” in Japanese means signals or signs while “ban” translates to boards. Therefore, Kanban translates to signboards. What led to kanbans being used in Japan is an exciting story. It was in 1603 when Japan’s economy was recovering from the devastating wars. Many shops mushroomed in the beautiful streets. Each of these shop owners was competing with each other to attract customers to their shops. Thus, arouse the need for signboards. These signboards or kanbans had attractive designs on them, Example, a shop selling fish was using fish as a symbol to communicate about its service to the passersby. These kanbans became quite popular in these streets, and thus the roots of Kanban are associated with Japan.
An Idea From The Supermarket.
Modern-day Kanban was first used in the Toyota Production System. Taiichi Ohno, known as the father of the Toyota Production System, found the Kanban system’s idea from the most unusual place. A Supermarket!. Let’s thinks about it. We check for stuff at our home, and when we notice a decline in the available stock, we schedule a visit to the Supermarket. Inside the Supermarket, we can find signals indicating where the stock we are looking for would be available. We then proceed to the shelves and make a purchase. The storekeeper keeps a check on the shelves, and as soon as he notices a stock running low, he replenishes it. The stock running low at our homes, the visual signals on the supermarket lanes, and the empty shelves are all visual indicators. Taiichi took this system and used it in the car manufacturing department. The main aim was to achieve Just in time inventory. A car requires nearly 35000 parts. Therefore, just in time inventory assures that a part would be available as and when needed. Kanban was used to achieve this.
Having understood the history of Kanban, we can now understand its definition. In the simplest of terms, Kanban is nothing but a work visualization tool that helps teams keep a check and maintain the workflow. It also helps to identify the bottlenecks and check the capacity of the system. A kanban board is the main element of the kanban system. It consists of kanban cards, columns, commitment points, delivery points, and progress limits.
How Does Kanban Help In Software Development?
In the above para, we learned about the agile method of software development. Now, let us, for a second, say that agile is a rather a mindset, and Kanban is the way to improve it. In other words, agile is a process, while Kanban is a process improvement system. Therefore, with the help of Kanban, agile teams become “more agile.”
Kanban In Our Daily Lives
Is Kanban restricted only to manufacturing and software development? Not. Everyone can use it in their day to day lives for planning. Examples would include a doctor using a kanban board to keep a check on his appointments. A teacher or professor can plan better with the help of a kanban board. The syllabus can be tracked better, a new chapter can be added to the backlogs, and complemented chapters can be moved to the delivery points. There are no restrictions on the application of Kanban. Wherever planning is required, a kanban board will come handy.