Using Kanban for Agile Development Success

Different software approaches offer flexibility in different ways and offer specific needs, however, Agile methodologies, particularly Kanban, are generally considered the leaders in providing teams with the flexibility they need for project delivery.

Kanban is a methodology that is designed to manage and optimise workflow in a flexible and visual way, built on a philosophy of continuous improvement. Items are “pulled” from a product backlog into a workflow, providing a visual way to represent items of work.

Project planning in Kanban

With an emphasis on continuous improvement, Kanban is an iterative approach that will adapt to the changing needs of your project. Before you start planning your project, you’ll need to define clear objectives which can help you prioritise tasks and track progress.

Using Kanban boards will help you transform the way you manage your work, offering your team complete transparency, collaboration, and accountability.

Using Kanban for Agile Development Success Blog Image. Image shows a Kanban Board with the sections "To do", "Refined", "Doing", "Done", "Deployed".

During your project planning meeting, you and your team need to make sure you follow best practices in order to successfully deliver your project.

Using Kanban for Agile Development Success Blog Image. Image shows three tasks which have been prioritised.

1. Identify and prioritise

Break down your project into smaller, manageable tasks using a prioritisation framework so that you can rank tasks based on their impact and effort.

Using Kanban for Agile Development Success Blog Image. Image shows 5 work items that are in a workflow.

2. Visualise your workflow

Create a Kanban board with columns representing each stage. At Koderly, we use “To Do”, “Refined”, “Doing”, “Done”, “Deployed”. It can be helpful to define a Definition of Done for each column.

Using Kanban for Agile Development Success Blog Image. Image shows a pressure gauge that is nearly at capacity.

3. Limited Work in Progress (WIP)

Make sure that you set limits for each stage, so that your workflow can run smoothly by allowing the developers to focus on a small number of cards and see them through to completion.

Using Kanban for Agile Development Success Blog Image. Image shows three circles which all join in the centre. One includes the image of a user, one includes a lightbulb, and one includes a gear, to show capacity.

4. Pull instead of push

Once the tasks are ready for development, they should be chosen when team members have capacity, making sure that the critical tasks are picked up first. Communicate as a team to make sure everyone is aware of the team’s capacity and where cards are up to.

Using Kanban for Agile Development Success Blog Image. Image shows different items that are being monitored.

5. Monitor and adapt

Review your board, prioritise tasks, and adjust WIP limits when needed.

Benefits of using Kanban

Using Kanban for Agile Development Success Blog Image. Image shows a stop watch, line graph with an upwards trajectory, and a gear, to show efficiency.

Increased efficiency and flow

Tasks move steadily and are released when they are ready, which reduces bottlenecks and shortens lead times.

Using Kanban for Agile Development Success Blog Image. Image shows a bar graph, line graph, and a magnifying glass to show transparency.

Enhanced transparency and collaboration

The Kanban board provides the team with a real-time overview of progress and dependences, which will spark communication and problem-solving.

Using Kanban for Agile Development Success Blog Image. Image shows a gear with three arrows pointing in different directions.

Flexibility and adaptability

Quickly adapt to changes by adding, removing, or moving cards on the board based on the business needs. This is especially useful when priorities change, or new developments are required.

Using Kanban for Agile Development Success Blog Image. Image shows a gear with arrows going around the gear continuously. Three arrows are pointing upwards to show improvement.

Continuous improvement

Regular Kanban board reviews and retrospectives will help you optimise the . For example, we adjust our release plans, reprioritise cards, and discuss improvement to our processes during a retrospective.

Conclusion

Kanban is an effective tool for agile development, allowing you to adapt your board to your requirements and providing the flexibility to continuously improve your process as time goes on.

There are lots of free tools out there for you to start your Kanban board, you just need to find the right one for you!

If you don’t think Kanban is the best process for your Agile development, take a look at our blog “Effective scrum sprint planning in agile development”.

Looking for an external development team to pick up your project? Head to our software development page for more information or contact us today!

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Rebecca Lawton

Rebecca Lawton

Our Head of Partnerships and Marketing, Rebecca, is responsible for the generation and management of digital marketing content. She is an accomplished copywriter and has experience in SEO. Rebecca also leads our community engagement programmes, and works closely with our key partners.