Is Kanban Agile?
Kanban vs. Agile
When considering Agile vs. Kanban, there are fundamental differences between the two. Kanban workflow originated back in 1950’s Japan, developed by Toyota, and it can be traced back to the origins of Lean Manufacturing to doing Just In Time production. Beginning in 2007 the concept of applying Lean principles to software development began to take hold.
Agile process flow was developed primarily by software developers to define better ways of developing and delivering software. It’s founder authored the Agile Manifesto and we can trace it’s origins to 2001.
The Right Fit
Kanban and the Lean principle workflow is not specific to how software is developed, however, the Kanban workflow does succeed in areas where the Agile iterative delivery model has struggled. For example, let’s consider IT Operations, where the Kanban workflow principle produces a ton of value. Sometimes it just isn’t practical to batch up work in two-week sprints (i.e. Data Center build out). The need for some teams to respond in real-time to a constant stream of incoming requests makes selecting a batch of them to work on only every two weeks pretty impractical.
For that matter, the principles of Kanban software development can work equally well for just about any kind of work. Since Kanban doesn’t start by assuming anything about your process or what you’re doing, it can be applied to anything that has a process. Kanban can be as simple a process as To-Do, Underway, and Complete.
So, without abandoning any of the good stuff in Agile or whatever your current process that is already working well for you, you can apply Kanban principles and tools to get better visibility and improve the flow of work.