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How to apply Lean - Kanban for your business

This is the topic of Scrum Breakfast meetup this time, speaker: Ms. Phuong Bui - Technical Project Manager of YOOSE Pte. Ltd.


Lean comes from Lean manufacturing is a method that focuses on elimination of wastes. In other words, this is a set of principles for archiving the quality, speed and customer alignment. The first time I knew about the term "Lean" is  from the book Software Craftsmanship. Sandro recommends if we want to transform our pet projects into a real business, we should get familiar with Lean Startup concepts.

In this talk, Ms. Phuong pointed out some major wastes includes information (ex: unclear requirements), processes (ex: waiting), physical environment and people. Knowing what the problems should be the best way to eliminate them.

The difference between Single item flow and Batch processing is the second main point; and it is the Lean's idea. Batch processing performs many working items in each steps, so that it is easy to get stuck on a step and block the whole process. Single item flow, on the other hand, approaches getting done of the limit working items (small number normally) and no waiting in each steps; so that it is easy to find and remove the "bottleneck" as early as possible.


We can imagine that Batch processing uses the way "push" and Single item flow uses "pull" in conversely.

Lean can be implemented by Kanban, that is somehow similar to the case Scrum implements Agile. In my point of view, there is nothing wrong when saying Lean is like a specification and Kanban is like a Lean's concrete implementation. :)

Kanban board


The following is what Kanban can do:
  • Visualize our workflow: keeping track our work easily
  • Limit work in-process: providing fast feedback to know where bottleneck is and eliminate it by arranging resources reasonably.
  • Make process policies explicit: defining what is DOD (definition of done) in each Kanban columns in order to know how to decide "pull" the items or not.
  • Manage and improve flow.
  • Continuous improvement

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