Kanban: Definition, Origin, Principles, Practices, Advantages and MORE

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Kanban ”, It’s probably a word that you don’t read or hear on a daily basis, and perhaps reading it right now makes you a little curious. We will only tell you, that it is a Japanese term which is defined as a system of highly efficient production.

You probably thought it was something more unusual, however, if you want to know more about this topic and why the term is used Kanban, We invite you to read this article! Below we will mention relevant information about its origin and much more.

Keep reading!

What is Kanban?

Before defining the concept, it is important to clarify that the word Kanban is of Japanese origin and comes from “Visual cards”, in this sense, Khan it is “visual” and Ban corresponds to “card”. Now, this term is currently part of agile methodologies.

This allows to manage in general terms, how the tasks of a certain organization are completed. In this sense, the method Kanban It is applied in those companies that require flexibility in the management and prioritization of tasks and the supervision of the work team.

If you want to know more about this system that is part of the agile methodologies, we invite you to enter the next link. There you will find a web page with the eight best books about the Kanban Method. Perhaps they may be of interest to you. You just have to click!

One of the most recommended books is: Kanban, Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business by the author David J. Anderson.

What are agile methodologies?

Earlier, we mentioned that Kanban is part of the known agile methodologies. Therefore, it is of great importance to define the concept of them. Currently, agile methodologies are those that allow to adapt the way of working to the conditions of a project. Therefore, it allows to achieve flexibility in responses that guarantee the adaptation and development of the project to the specific conditions of the environment.

Many companies opt for these methodologies since it allows the management of their projects in a flexible and autonomous way. In such a way that, costs are reduced and productivity is increased. A clear example of the so-called “agile methodologies” is the Kanban.

Origins of the Kanban System

The origin of the methodology Kanban is generated in Toyota as a improvement plan It was necessary in the production of automobiles in the 1950s. In its implementation, cards were used to identify the processes and the needs of the raw material in the production chain.

Since then, Kanban method It is known as an information system that directly links the production processes with each of the necessary procedures inside and outside the factory. Likewise, this system is not only responsible for estimating the time periods of each of the production states. It also assesses the flow of raw materials necessary for suppliers to supply them.

Kanban method

On the other hand, the Kanban method is a fundamental technique for organizations seeking to obtain better results in their projects. It can be defined as a system that is based on the fundamentals of the agile methodology. Obviously, it seeks to achieve an efficient and productive procedure when carrying out the tasks corresponding to a specific area of ​​the company.

In effect, this system focuses on covering a project in a general way. Without a doubt, it is an effective method for the management of professional aspirations such as project management. Also, during the method process, Kanban is responsible for producing only what is necessary, in such a way that, the processing of excess material is avoided.

It is important to mention that, Kanban it is based on working on small blocks, called cards. Thus, the fact of working on small notes allows to be more decisive and therefore, guarantees a good result thanks to the different phases that this method provides.

Principles of the Kanban Method

While it is true, the method Kanban It is governed by certain principles that guide the operation of its system. In such a way that, below we will mention the five principles through which this methodology is governed.

  1. Leadership. The implementation of Kanban to an organization requires a collective effort on the part of the work team. That is, this does not depend on a boss or a manager, however, current responsibilities must be respected.
  2. Continuous improvement The technique of Kanban promotes continuous change since we are talking about an immediate work system that is made up of short and precise tasks. The change must be evolutionary.
  3. Display. This methodology is transparent and allows you to understand the current status of the project. Likewise, the work team must have access to all tasks, which help to organize and generate modifications for the proper functioning of the staff.
  4. Priorization. It is important to set goals or tasks that have higher priority than others. This allows that, when completing an objective, it is already known which is the next one. Let us remember that transparency contributes to good time management.
  5. Guaranteed quality. The principle of continuous improvement is responsible for obtaining better results congenitally. Of course, positive results translate into better quality of products and services.

Method Practices

In another vein, there are certain practices that can be applied to the method Kanban. In such a way that, below, we will mention some of them.

Keep reading and find out!

  1. Limit Work In Progress (WIP). Work in progress should be limited. The more work in progress, the more time it will take to complete them, therefore, you should have a small workflow that allows tasks to be performed accurately and in a short period of time.
  2. Visualize the workflow. Taking into account this visualization, you will think about the stages that make up the tasks, what their limits are and the people who are in charge of carrying them out.
  3. Set explicit policies. Work procedures must be documented. Also, employees should have easy access to these documents so that the policies are easy to understand.
  4. Manage the flow. It consists of improving the flow of tasks.
  5. Collaborative improvement and empirical evolution. Reviews should be carried out from time to time to observe the results obtained.

How can you structure your Kanban strategy?

The implementation of the Kanban method entails the generation of a task board that allows improving the work flow and having a sustainable rhythm. For this, you must take into account certain aspects.

For instance:

Define the workflow of projects.

This consists of creating your own board, which can be generic or specific for a certain project. In turn, it must be visible and accessible to all members of your work team. In this case, each column corresponds to a status of the task flow, which allows you to determine where each project is.

Visualize the stages of the production cycle.

While it is true, Kanban is based on the incremental development, in such a way that the work is divided into several parts. By dividing it, different steps will be developed to streamline the production process.

Generally speaking, each part of the work is placed on a paper note and then placed on the board in the corresponding phase. Of course, each note contains basic information so that the team knows the workload that is required for that task. Finally, you must make sure of prioritizing tasks and keeping an adequate flow control.

In conclusion, the Kanban method is an essential tool to optimize the production procedures and the logistics organization of a company. The fact of applying it correctly, guarantees the improvement of the labor results.


Perhaps for those unfamiliar with the subject, the Kanban method it can be a bit tricky. However, this system is not only responsible for encompassing the productivity and efficiency of a project, it also offers some benefits that can be taken advantage of.

In the first place, it is an easy-to-use methodology, therefore, the work team can update itself and assume the system in an agile way. In addition to this, it stands out for being a very visual task management technique. That is, it offers a good visualization of the status of projects and work development guidelines.

In this sense, it is important to mention that each person has their learning methods and a certain way of executing their priorities. However, some people learn through the senses, that is, through visual or auditory elements. Indeed, Kanban Being a visual management method, it provides a great advantage for employees and facilitates project task management for them.

On the other hand, the benefits of Kanban they are multiple and without this system we would not be able to understand modern manufacturing methods. In conclusion, the Kanban is a necessary method for the manufacturer of first equipment that needs to implement a correct management about its product or service.

Thank you for reading! We hope to have provided information of interest about the Kanban.

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