Kanban Methodology: What is & How It Works

Kanban Methodology: What is & How It Works

Kanban is a well-known methodology which is used in project management and software development. It's very popular in the business field  because it can help team members improve their efficiency, productivity and their performance. I will give you some powerful reasons throughout the article on why you should use this methodology and how. Here are some of the reasons why you should use the Kanban Methodology, let's check it out!

Visualize workflows: Kanban uses visual boards to represent workflows, which can help the team members  enormously to understand the status of different tasks, identify any risk or improvement, and if it's  anything that should have been done, prioritize it.

Increase efficiency: By limiting and focusing on one task at a time before moving onto the next one, Kanban can help teams improve their performance and efficiency and reduce lead time.

Improve communication: Kanban promotes collaboration and communication among team members, this can help to prevent misinformation and misunderstand, and ensure that everyone is on the same page understanding everything.

Enhance quality: By focusing on delivering, carrying out small increments of work and continually reviewing and improving the processes, Kanban  help teams to identify and eliminate any defects and improve the overall quality of the performance. 

Flexibility: Kanban is a flexible methodology that can be adapted into different project types and suited in different workflows. This turns the Kanban Methodology into a popular choice for the teams of the whole world and in a variety of industries and levels.

The Kanban methodology can help the teams to work more efficiently, improve the performance, communication, encourage collaboration and deliver high-quality results, which is the goal of every industry.

What is it and what is it used for?

Kanban methodology originated in Japan, particularly in the manufacturing industry. Kanban methodology is a popular approach to project management and has been adopted by thousands of companies. Kanban is a visual system that helps the teams manage their work and tasks by using a board, cards, and any other visual elements which can indicate the status of tasks and the flow of work.

The Kanban board typically consists of columns that depict the stages of a specific process, such as ¨Backlog, To-do, doing, done, review,¨. Each task is represented by a card that can be moved across the board easily as it progresses through the different stages mentioned before. This visual representation of work helps team members easily by seeing what tasks are in progress, what are the next tasks, and which tasks are completed. This can leverage the quality of the tasks.

Kanban methodology is mainly used to help teams manage their work more efficiently, effectively and productively. It is usually used in software development, but can be applied also to many other different industries as well. Some of the amazing benefits of using kanban can be:

  1. Increase visibility and transparency into the status of the tasks. 
  1. Improved collaboration and effective communication among the team members.
  1. Increase efficiency  by eliminating waste and focusing on value-added tasks.
  1. Reduced lead times and faster delivery of work.
  1. Continuous improvement through the different use of metrics and data to analyze the performance of each task. 

Kanban methodology  can be applied to a wide range of industries and processes, including:

Manufacturing: Kanban was originally developed for use in manufacturing, and it is still widely used in this industry nowadays.. Kanban helps to streamline the production process, reduce waste, focus more, and improve the product quality.  

Software development: Kanban can also be used for software development, the adaptation was extremely effective because it is often used as an alternative to more traditional project management methodologies. Kanban helps the team to manage their work more efficiently, deliver high-quality software more quickly, and respond to any requirement instantly.

Healthcare: Kanban is also used in healthcare to help manage the patients flow and improve efficiency in the medical processes. For example, the kanban can be used to manage patient admissions, track medication orders or schedule any operation. 

Education: Kanban is also used in education.. Where? Particularly in agile learning environments in order to help students and even teachers manage their day-a-day work more effectively. For example, a teacher can use it to manage the lesson planning, track the student progress or even manage classroom resources. 

Marketing: Kanban is also used in marketing, especially in digital marketing, in order to help teams manage campaigns, track leads, progress, and measure results. For example, a marketing team might find a Kanban useful to manage social media campaigns, track email marketing campaigns or even manage SEO efforts.

Kanban methodology is an adaptable approach to managing work, which can be used in a wide range of industries and even processes. Kanban ensures that the team remains focused by the visual representation, limiting work in progress, and allows continuous improvements that can help teams to work more effectively. 

Origin of the methodology

As I said before, The Kanban methodology originated in Japan in the 1949s and 1959s, specifically at the Toyota Motor corporation, and as a part of the Toyota Production System. Kanban comes from the Japanese word, which ¨kan¨means visual and ¨ban¨means card or board.

The methodology was developed as a way to improve production efficiency, by controlling inventory levels, reducing waste, increasing productivity, improving communication.. Kanban uses these visual cards or boards, to represent the different tasks items and their status. Today, project management tools which use this methodology, have incorporated different elements which can leverage your experience.

Kanban methodology has been adapted and applied to many other different industries and fields beyond manufacturing, as we said before. Kanban methodology is known as an Agile methodology for its focus and continuous improvement, flow and transparency.

Kanban Methodology Steps

  1. Visualizing the process: The first step in the Kanban methodology is to visualize the work process. This is achieved by creating a Kanban board, which shows the tasks to be performed, their status and who is responsible for each task.
  1. Limiting work in process: The goal of Kanban is to reduce the time it takes to complete a task. This is done by limiting the number of tasks that can be worked on simultaneously. This helps to avoid work overload and to maintain a constant flow of work.
  1. Flow management: Kanban focuses on the continuous flow of work, rather than on long-term planning. The priority is to follow up on tasks and maintain a steady flow of work.
  1. Continuous improvement: The Kanban methodology is based on continuous improvement. This means that processes are constantly analyzed to identify areas for improvement and make adjustments. This helps to improve efficiency and quality of work over time.
  1. Visual metrics management: The Kanban methodology uses visual dashboards to display key performance metrics such as lead time, processing time and success rate. This allows a quick understanding of the current situation and helps identify areas for improvement.

Tips to execute it correctly

  1. Understand the principles of Kanban: It is important to understand the fundamental principles of the Kanban methodology in order to apply it correctly. Make sure you are clear about the work process and the objectives you want to achieve.
  1. Define workflow boundaries: Set work-in-process (WIP) boundaries for each design process steps of the different work activities to be performed on the job.This way, you will be able to maintain a constant flow of work and avoid task overload.
  1. Use Kanban boards: Use Kanban boards to visualize the process and status of each task. Kanban boards will help you quickly identify problems and take action to solve them.
  1. Set explicit policies: Define clear policies for the work, such as task prioritization and quality criteria. Explicit policies help maintain a consistent and effective work process.
  1. Conduct periodic reviews: Conduct periodic reviews of the work process to identify areas that need improvement. This will help you keep the work process up to date and improve it over time.
  1. Encourage collaboration: Encourage collaboration among team members and make sure everyone understands the work process. Collaboration is key to the success of the Kanban methodology.


This methodology was born with the goal of easing the procedure of the workers. Eventually, this methodology has been incorporated into so many industries and added different elements which leverage the experience. This methodology is a perfect way to know the status of your tasks, and organize your day-a-day in the most effective and efficient way. With Uphint, the tool for create step by step guide you can create a step by step guide template with catches and so on for employees.

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