Organizations are increasingly moving towards finding ways to cut waste and optimize their processes. More and more companies are adopting Lean and Kanban methods as part of their Agile Transformation. Pure continuous flow Kanban systems work very well when your backlog includesminor enhancements and support related items. There is no need here for strict time-boxes, instead a regular continuous flow optimized process for delivering predictable value with no bottle necks. 

Scrum mixed with Kanban walls works great for Projects and Initiatives that have a specific Product Owner and require more strict planning and review/demo time-boxed iterations. Read more below on how we can help you understand how Agile, Scrum and Kanban all fit together to deliver value for your organisation!

Applying Lean- Kanban Background

Beginning with Japanese manufacturing in the 1950s, Lean thinking has revolutionised production management across the globe, resulting in now common phrases like Just-In-Time, Zero Defects and Continuous Improvement. Focused on harnessing the ability of workers to continuously and incrementally improve quality, productivity and flexibility while eliminating waste, Lean concepts were first widely applied by Toyota and other Japanese auto-companies. This led to the near collapse of western car makers in the 1980's and 90's.

While Lean concepts have now been successfully incorporated in western manufacturing and operations, their application to software development has mainly been through timebox based methods such as Scrum and XP, collectively known as Agile. More recently, flow based methods such as Kanban have been successfully introduced where agile proved problematic. Scrum can struggle where there is enterprise level scale, unpredictable work arrival and processing times, a lack of cross functional teams or day to day re-planning. Kanban can provide a mechanism to implement „pull‟ and achieve a flow of work through simple Work In Process (WIP) and kanban signaling systems. As well as coordinating activities across the value stream, Kanban creates an environment to drive continuous improvement, highlighting impediments to flow and encouraging collaboration to resolve issues. In the words of David Anderson, the creator of Kanban, 'Lean is a destination; Kanban is a means to get there'.

Course Overview 

In the 2 day course, we delve into why Kanban works so well, compared to plan-driven approaches, particularly in complex projects with a lot of churn. We examine some of the theoretical foundations for empirical control methods, and the economic realities of software development that make Kanban so compelling.

This is followed by a deep dive of Kanban practices and tools, including Visualization of Work Flow, Metrics (CFD), Limiting WIP, Managing Flow and Attaining Pull, Classes of Service, Explicit Policies and Feedback Loops. We explore what Kanban means for the evolution of organizational structure, roles and responsibilities, and working with stakeholders. Then we review some Kanban case studies, focusing on project contexts where Kanban might be particularly suitable as an alternative to or in conjunction with other agile or plan-driven methods. Then we examine the steps to implementing Kanban in your organization, including a recipe for incrementally adopting and deepening the application and effect of Kanban while minimizing the „cost of change‟. 

The course will include exercises to illustrate important concepts and a comprehensive Kanban simulation game to allow attendees experience concepts such as pull and flow first hand.

Learning Objectives:

Upon completion of this course you will understand:

  • The key Lean values and principles, and how they apply to software development

  • The differences between agile methods, lean methods and Kanban

  • The key scientific fundamentals underlying lean and Kanban, such as queuing, systems, constraint and information theories

  • Waste Elimination in Lean: 7 sources of waste

  • How kanban facilitates a pull based flow of value

  • Increasing the transparency of software development using visual kanban boards and metrics

  • Mapping your Value Stream and exposing bottlenecks

  • Continuously optimising and relieving bottlenecks and blockages

  • How to perform root cause analysis to enable continuous improvement

  • The work capacity of your development team and how to balance throughput to that capacity

  • Establishing Work In Progress Limits

  • Facilitating innovation using Kanban

  • Establishing Classes of Service, Work Item Types and Service Level Agreements

  • How to work with input and output cadences

  • How to manage variability in work flow

  • How to use Kanban with Scrum (Scrumban)

  • When to use Kanban

  • A Recipe for adopting Kanban

Who Should Attend

This course is intended for Transformation Agents, Agile and Lean Champions, Project Managers, Developers, Testers, Analysts and any other roles contributing to software development and IT.


Ideally candidates will have attended our half-day introductory course “Introduction to Lean & Kanban in Software Development” making them familiar with some of the foundational Lean and Kanban principles.

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