Take control with Kanban! A visual guide for beginners

Kanban is an agile work management method. It was developed in the 1940’s by Toyota engineers to improve manufacturing efficiency. Unlike many traditional ways of working, Kanban is a “pull system”, as opposed to a “push system”. This means that work is only started by team members when they have the capacity, rather than work being pushed towards them. Often, working with a “push system” can result in piles of work not being started and a system that spirals out of control. Kanban aims to maintain a smooth flow of work that doesn’t stop and start, thereby minimizing workflow blockages.

Being a highly visual way of working, Kanban revolves around the use of a whiteboard and coloured cards to represent tasks. This is how Kanban acquired its Japanese name, which roughly translates to “signboard”, “billboard” or “card that you can see”. By presenting cards on a board, it is easier for a team to communicate the status of their workflow to everybody involved. Interruptions in workflow are easier to spot and can be dealt with much earlier. Working with such a tactile and visual system encourages team members to collaborate and communicate, which can also boost team morale.

Kanban would suit your team if you deliver frequently. It is designed to manage your work monthly, weekly or even daily if required. If you feel like your to-do lists are not enough and your team members are oblivious to each other’s priorities, it might be time to give Kanban a try.

Take a look at this visual guide to Kanban for a basic overview of the 4 Kanban principles.

Designed by Knowledge Train.



Get to grips with Scrum! A visual guide & free poster download

If you and your team are new to Scrum, you might find Knowledge Train’s visual guide a useful resource.

Scrum is a product development management framework under the agile umbrella. It sits alongside the likes of Kanban, Lean software development and Extreme Programming.

Scrum holds familiar agile characteristics such as iterative delivery, team collaboration and ability to adapt to change. It originated around the understanding that customers can change their minds about what they want, potentially causing a tremendous amount of rework. To prevent teams from having to go back to the drawing board, Scrum suggests gaining customer feedback continuously and tweaking the product until it is right.

Scrum is often used by software development and creative teams, where unpredictable change is commonplace, but can be scaled to fit many other types of work.

If you feel that your approach to product development needs to be better prepared for change, you might like to see what Scrum is all about. Take a look at the visual guide below for a basic understanding of how Scrum works. You can also download this A0 size version to print for your office!

Designed by Knowledge Train.

Scrum infographic


About the Author

Alison WoodAlison Wood is the Graphic Designer and Communications Manager for Knowledge Train, a PRINCE2 and Project Management training company. Connect with her on Linkedin and Twitter.