What is Kanban? Kanban Explained with a Coffee Cup

What is Kanban? Kanban Explained with a Coffee Cup

There’s a lot to be learned from what goes on in a Coffee Shop. You’ll never look at that cup of Joe in the same way again.

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141. What is Kanban? Kanban Explained with a Coffee Cup
#kanban #agile #DevelopmentThatPays

What is kanban Well, it’s many things: a kanban is an object kanban is a set of principles Kanban is also an agile framework. And in this video, we’re going to be looking at all three aspects of kanban, with the help of a coffee machine, a Doctor Who Lego character and a coffee cup. Three aspects of kanban — Before we go too much further, let’s disambiguate: There’s Kanban the Agile framework – an alternative to Scrum. I like to write “Kanban” in this context with an uppercase K. Long before there was an uppercase K Kanban, there were a couple of lower case kanbans: kanban the thing, the object, the sign and kanban the set of principles. Today we’re gonna start by talking about the latter two. And then later we’ll add Kanban-the-Agile-framework back in to the brew. Talking of brew, I think I’m gonna grab myself a coffee. Coffee shop ——– Into the shop, I place my order, tap my card, and she gets on and makes my coffee. Finally, I collect my coffee. Did you see any kanban here No, neither did I. For the simple reason that there really isn’t any need for any form of kanban in here. Now it’s probably a good time to introduce a couple of terms that I’m gonna rely on later. What we have here is a defined process: Take my order, make my coffee and, deliver it back to me. And with just one person doing all of the steps in that defined process, we really don’t have any need for any special orchestration – other than the fact that those three steps really should be done in just that order. Scaling up —– If the coffee shop becomes a bit of a destination in the neighbourhood – and of course, I wish it every success – then it’s going to feel the need to scale things up a bit. One option would be to just well, instead of having one barista in the shop, we could have two. Each doing, well, everything! And providing they can manoeuvre around each other, there’s not much we need to do to make things work: still the same defined process, and the need for a little bit of orchestration. But largely it takes care of itself: the till is either available or it isn’t and the coffee machine is either available or it isn’t. (Actually, this fine looking machine looks like it might be capable of preparing more than one coffee at the same time.) So that’s one option: two people doing all of the steps inside the defined process. Specialisation — The coffee shop has another option for scaling things up, and that is to begin to specialise. Instead of adding a second barista, they could choose to add a dedicated order taker. (I struggled to find a good Lego character. This is apparently Doctor Who.) So yes: Doctor Who taking orders, the barista making the coffee And this arrangement – this specialisation – comes with some notable advantages. We have a dedicated order taker, who can become better at order taking over time. And we have a dedicated barista; focusing all of his attention on becoming better at making coffee. There are other advantages to this approach. (And if you can think of any, I’d love to hear from you in those comments below.) There are also disadvantages that come along with this specialisation of skills. I am going to focus on just one of those downsides: We have added some complexity to our process that wasn’t there previously: our defined process now requires two people to carry it out fully. For the first time, we’re having to handle the handoff between the person taking the order and the person making the coffee. Handling the handoff —- Let’s take a look at that in action. Here’s the coffee shop. Let’s bring in the barista. And let’s bring in that Doctor Who guy. And let’s give them some customers to serve. This person – who’s just arrived at the coffee shop and joined the queue – that’s our hero. His name is Robert. And Robert patiently waits in the queue, ready to be served. Now he’s at the front of the queue. He’s placing his order: coffee type, milk type, etc. And all of that information is recorded on the cup. How interesting! He’s also asked for his name, and his name is also recorded on the cup. (Obviously, if this has been real life, the writing wouldn’t be nearly so neat and the spelling would not have been nearly so accurate. But this will do for our purposes here today!) This is interesting: Robert’s just left one queue and joined anot
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