"We are visual creatures. Visual things stay put, whereas sounds fade."
- Steven Pinker
Kanban means ‘Visual Signal‘ in Japanese and is all about visualization of future, current and past tasks. The methods are strongly linked with the just-in-time concept developed by Japanese companies in the 1970s. As studies show, 80% of information is gathered visually which makes the Kanban method a powerful tool.
The Kanban Board is essentially a board divided into columns that show every flow of the production. The board usually contains at least 3 columns, To Do, In Progress, and Done (columns like code review or testing can be added to suit the business needs). As the development continues, the information on the board changes and when new tasks arise, a new card is created and added in the To Do column.
Every item on the Kanban Board is called a Kanban Card. Each card gives a brief idea on the particular task, responsibility and the estimated time of completion. Having a visual on the process allows tracking the work better. The Team is involved only on the item that is currently in progress and will move to the next item only when the former one is completed. It gives a unique opportunity to foresee challenges and faster capture roadblocks as well as understanding the dependencies of item more clearly.
The time between the work starting on the task and the completion (done) is called Cycle Time. There are no fixed length iterations in Kanban. The Cycle Time is essentially the time spent on working on the task until done, not to be confused with the Lead Time below.
The Lead Time is the measure of time between the addition of the task in the product backlog and the completion of the task.