top of page

Ep.27 How use Kanban in Agile Teams

Image credit:
Image credit:

Kanban is Japanese for “signboard”.

A Kanban board helps to visualise work, which helps with a team’s shared understanding of the status of work at hand. A board consists of columns for To Do, In Progress, Blocked, and Done – however adapt as required. You could subdivide In Progress into multiple columns, representing each workflow stage.

Pull cards left to right. One card per work item, with a title, description, owner, and due date. Review at daily Stand Up.

Limit work in progress (WIP)

The fewer items being worked on concurrently, the more focus, the faster it gets done. It helps keep workload ‘healthy’.

Set WIP limits based on team size and composition. As a guide, start with 2 items per team member, then adjust based on experience.

WIP limits point out areas of chronic idleness or overload. When team members have idle time, get them to move up/down stream in the workflow and help out others.

LEAD TIME: time it takes for a card to flow from Backlog to Done; helps to understand how long a client has to wait. Aim is to decrease this, and maximise efficiency (flow).

CYCLE TIME: time between the team starting and finishing a task; it's a subset of lead time.

What is the difference between Scrum and Kanban?

Fundamentally the 2 are similar, however Scrum is based on time-boxed Sprints, covered in an earlier post, and Kanban is of a more fluid, ongoing nature.

There are plenty of digital boards available, such as JIRA and the free Trello, which I use for my personal Kanban.

This article was first listed here.


bottom of page