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Last edited 17 Mar 2021
Kanban is a project management technique that uses tools such as billboards or signs to document and streamline the various steps in processes. This scheduling system uses the visual indicators (which can be either physical or digital) to identify and prioritise demands and then realistically assign resources.
Some of the early thought leaders and authors in kanban are:
- David Anderson
- Jim Benson
- Mike Burrows
- Eric Brechner
- Tonianne DeMaria
- Siegfried Kaltenecker
- Corey Ladas
- Klaus Leopold
- Don Reinertsen
 Applying kanban
Kanban is based on six practices:
- Visualise work.
- Limit work in progress.
- Make policies explicit.
- Manage flow.
- Implement feedback loops.
- Improve collaboratively and evolve experimentally.
Kanban is a collaborative form of continuous improvement. It is not meant to overturn ongoing project management methods and can be implemented in conjunction with existing strategies. It can also be introduced incrementally, so it does not cause disruption.
 Kanban and construction
In construction applications, kanban can be used effectively with suppliers to manage resources. Kanban boards can also be used to visualise stages of work processes and identify potential problem areas.
NB The Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS) Glossary of procurement terms, defines Kanban as: ‘A production method where instructions are sent from one operation to the next on a card, including specific items and quantities. (Translated from the Japanese, it literally means ‘signboard’ or ‘billboard’). The aim is to reduce waste through over-production.’
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