Last edited 17 Mar 2021


Kanban 3704.jpg


[edit] Introduction

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.

[edit] History

Kanban is the Japanese word for billboard. The kanban method of project management came as a byproduct of Toyota’s just in time manufacturing approach introduced in the 1940s.

Kanban became popular in the 21st century as a computer software development method. Since the middle 2000s, it has also been applied to wider types of project management, including construction.

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

[edit] Applying kanban

Kanban is based on six practices:

  1. Visualise work.
  2. Limit work in progress.
  3. Make policies explicit.
  4. Manage flow.
  5. Implement feedback loops.
  6. 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.

[edit] 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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