Kanban meaning 'Signboard'  is a visual system utilized to keep track of work as it moves through a cycle.


The roots of the Kanban first started developing during the early days of Toyota (late 1940's).

Invented by Taiichi Onho to reduce cost and manage machine utilization.

How to use kanban

Step 1: Choose a medium

This can either be done by means of a physical whiteboard or digitally through the use of software like Sheets or Excel. 

The physical board is best placed in a central spot of your working space.

Digital versions are best added to a bookmark link to make it easily accessible. 


Step 2: Visualize your workflow

Identify and define the different tasks within your workflow.

When you find consensus and are sure you aren't missing any tasks, put them on the whiteboard or spreadsheet, each task should have a designated column. 


Use concise and clear descriptions to avoid misunderstandings within your team.

Step 3: Standardize

Decide which stages to integrate within your work flow.

The most commonly used are, To do, In progress, Finished.


Each stage should have it's own color code, simple and understandable is key here. 


For example:

Orange = To Do 

Red = In Progress

Green = Finished


Step 4:  Work in Progress limits (WIP)

This implies choosing a maximum amount of task within a step of the workflow.

Setting up WIP's (Work In Progress) helps to maintain a steady workflow and avoids overburdening. 


1. Optimize time management

Kanban provides insight on how long it takes to complete a task and when the next step in the work flow starts.

When the amount of time for a specific task is specified, you can more easily predict when a task wil be completed.


2. Avoid bottlenecks

Places where workflow gets disrupted are called bottlenecks. Kanban easily lets you identify steps where work gets piled up.

These are usually solved by making small modifications to the previous step in the workflow. 


3. Positive feedback loop

Through the use of Kanban you gather information, that you can analyze and then implement changes on the get-go. 
This cycle repeats itself throughout the whole process of using Kanban, resulting in a positive feedback loop.


4. Continuous delivery (CD)

Optimizing the workflow within your company results in continuous delivery of goods and services to your customers or audience. 


5. Improve collaboration

Kanban encourages better teamwork within different type of businesses.

Different tasks within the workflow providing a clear understanding that each task depends on the other.

Creating a natural respect for the other co-worker Kanban is a great intermediary.

The Kanban board becomes a central object in the workspace and connects co-workers in a productive manner. 



It doesn't matter if you're a small startup or a thriving enterprise, Kanban is a system that works for all kinds of businesses or undertakings in life. Colorized standardization of work flow is a time proven method and surely will not disappoint when you implement Kanban as a daily practice. 

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