Kanban was conceived by Toyota engineer Taiichi Ohno and implemented in 1953. Kanban is set up much like a factory floor, where a part might start out as a piece of metal and then, one step at a time, is turned into a finished part through a series of steps. In the same way, when using Kanban, you'll do some work towards a project, then ship that item on down the line to the next station where something else is done.
Kanban can also be used as a technique for managing a software development process in a highly efficient way. Although producing software is a creative activity and therefore different from mass-producing cars, the underlying mechanism for managing the production line can still be applied.
It's a lot more laid back than Scrum—there's no set time for sprints, no assigned roles outside of the product owner, and a zen-like focus on only the task at hand. You could have meetings about your overall projects, or not: it's up to your team's needs.
Your Kanban system can be as flexible as you want. There are four pillars of the Kanban philosophy that can help make sure you have great success with this system. These include:
Cards (Kanban translates to "visual card"): Each task has a card needs to have all relevant info about the task; this ensures everything that is needed to complete the tasks is always at hand.
Limit Work in Progress: Limit how many cards are in progress at once; this prevents teams from over-committing and decreasing effectiveness.
Continuous Flow: Move down the list of backlogs in order of importance, and make sure something's always being worked on.
Constant Improvement: Analyze the flow to determine how efficiently you're working and always strive to improve it.
Kanban Board Basics
Whether offline in a 1950's Toyota factory or online in today's latest apps, Kanban has three basic elements: Board, List and Card.
Board (Workspace in ScrumDo): A Workspace encapsulates a project or workflow.
List or Lane: A list, or lane, contains a set of related cards—typically those in the same stage of a process—in a titled column on a Kanban board; a traditional project management tool calls this a "to-do list" or "task list"
Card: A card houses an item related to your board and list, such as a task to be completed or a product to be made, and lives in a list on a board; a traditional project management tool calls this a "to-do" or "task"
Not sure is Kanban is the right approach for your team? Consider Scrumban. Here’s an article from our founder, Ajay Reddy: http://help.scrumdo.com/encyclopedia-and-glossary/scrumban