Probably one of the most used tools in the agile context is the Kanban board. But the book “Kanban in practice” by Klaus Leopold is about much more than this tool. Kanban was developed in Japan in the 1970s. In this book, the author explains the full concept. He establishes the practical relevance by recounting several case studies.

Besides, the most diverse aspects of the approach are made visible in the context of expert interviews.

What is Kanban?

The goal of the method is to optimise the entire value-added process for the customer. Thereby, the holistic approach is in the foreground. Isolated optimisation of individual work steps does not lead to success but weakens the entire value chain. Instead, success is achieved through genuine cooperation and collaboration at all levels. This is based on three principles:

  1. Optimisation always starts with the current work
  2. Improvements are gradual and evolutionary
  3. Assumption of responsibility and leadership at all levels

Based on these principles, the so-called 6 Kanban practices are derived:

  1. Make individual work steps and their sequence transparent – this is where the Kanban board mentioned at the beginning comes into play.
  2. Limit the work in progress to avoid efficiency losses due to frequent task changes
  3. Ensure a smooth process from the start of a task to its completion
  4. define and communicate a process flow. The benefits are placed in the foreground
  5. Implement regular feedback loops
  6. Continuously improve the entire value creation process

From my perspective, the book is a real recommendation if you want to learn more about this exciting approach. What I found best was the strong practical relevance due to the numerous case studies and expert interviews.

Günter Lukas, MSc read and reviewed this book for you.