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Exercises "Agile Method Kanban"


Here you will find the definitions of the most important terms from this chapter.

Kanban card

Contains all information for the procurement of the required production items (e.g. activities). They move according to the pull principle between the supplier's and the customer's processes.

Material flows are

  • always forward directed.
  • from the supplier to the customer.

Information flows are

  • backwards.
  • from the customer to the supplier.

Kanban board

Tool for mapping and visualising the value chain and a key component of the Kanban method.

Objectives of the Kanban method

  • Improvement of productivity and quality
  • Maximise production flexibility
  • Prevention of waste
  • Elimination of defects

Tasks / requirements

Can be formulated as

  • User stories
  • Features
  • Use cases, etc.

Lead Time

Lead time is the time it takes you to complete a task since it was announced.

Cycle Time

Cycle Time is the time it takes from the beginning to the completion of a task.


(= WIP)

Tool for limiting the speed of work and optimising the workflow of the Kanban method.

Lean Development

Application of Lean principles (customer added value, pull principle, Kaizen or continuous improvement process) to product development. Lean Development is the preliminary stage of Lean Production and concerns the product creation process.

Lean Production

Production of economic goods with the greatest possible saving of labour, material and costs (e.g. through automation) to avoid waste.

Theory of Constraints

Theory of Constraints is a set of thinking patterns and methods for improving the performance of systems.

Test yourself

Please answer the following questions independently. Take your time and think carefully about what you want to answer before having a look at the solutions.

Where did Kanban originate from?

Kanban is a scheduling system for just-in-time-production that was developed by Toyota and plays an integral role in the Toyota Production System (TPS). Originally, Kanban was developed for Lean Production.

What else is Kanban called?

The Kanban method is also called the pull principle.

At which levels can Kanban be used and how do they differ?

The Kanban method can be used at the team and portfolio level:

Team level Mapping a project with the Kanban board can lead to a better understanding of the workflow. It makes it easier for you to organise and manage your work and enables your team and project members to keep track of each task.

Portfolio level If your strategic goals are visualised on a separate Kanban board, you can easily see which ones have been started or completed. At the same time, using it makes it easier for you to keep track of every single project that takes place in the company.

What are the four principles of Kanban?
  • Principle 1: Start with what you are currently doing.

  • Principle 2: Commit to incremental and evolutionary change.

  • Principle 3: Respect existing processes, roles and responsibilities.

  • Principle 4: Encourage leadership at all levels of the organisation.

What are the six practices in Kanban?
  • Practice 1: Visualise work processes.

  • Practice 2: Limit work in progress.

  • Practice 3: Manage task load.

  • Practice 4: Make process guidelines explicit.

  • Practice 5: Implement feedback loops.

  • Practice 6: Improve collaboratively and develop empirically.

What are the objectives of Kanban?

The objectives of Kanban are to improve productivity as well as quality and maximise production flexibility.

What are Lean Production, Lean Development and Theory of Constraints?

Lean Production is part of the Lean Management concept. This means the economical and time-efficient use of production factors (people, machines, etc.).

Lean Development transfers the management concept of Lean Production and Lean Management to the area of software development.

Theory of Constraints assumes that the performance of a system is limited exclusively by one factor, the bottleneck. Performance can only be improved if the entire system is adapted starting from the bottleneck.

How is visualisation done in Kanban?

The value chain is presented to the participants with the help of a Kanban board (e.g. large whiteboard, Kanban software). The board lists the individual process steps in columns. The individual tasks are written on cards or post-it notes and stuck onto the board in lines (or above the relevant symbols in the electronic Kanban application).

How does Kanban deal with bottlenecks?

In the case of bottlenecks, individual areas can be limited, i.e. restricted. When the limit is reached, new tasks can only succeed once another task has been completed.

How do lead time and cycle time differ?

Lead Time is the time it takes you to complete a task since it was announced. Cycle Time is the time it takes from the beginning to the completion of a task.