FYI: Kanban for Software Development

The posting Kanban for Software Development is one of the clearest introductory explanations of kanban that I have read. For example,
This is where the somewhat brilliant key idea behind KSDM comes to play. The completed job does NOT free the person for working on another job, until that job is pulled into the following phase and work is started there. If work is piling up at a particular phase, those people are NOT ALLOWED to work ahead. As Taiichi Ohno makes so clear, that working ahead is waste. Instead of working ahead, they can look around to see what is wrong.

To put this in concrete terms, consider a process which involves (1) detailed design, (2) coding, (3) testing, and (4) documenting. Each of these stages you place a limit on the number of jobs, and for the sake of example lets say that limit is 4. Say for example that the coders have finished coding on their four job units, and are ready to take a new one. But the testing is backed up for some reason, still working on the last four job units, and are not ready to take a new job. The developers are not allowed to pull in a fifth job unit. There is no point in coding up more features when the earlier features are not getting tested or documented. It is also possible that because the developers are not pulling jobs from design, that the design phase becomes filled up with completed tasks.

When work backs up in this way, one should go and figure out why testing is stuck. Maybe the real problem is that the documentation is blocking test. Whatever it is, the primary job of the entire team is to identify the problem with the flow, and fix it. Do not simply work ahead accumulating a huge pile of work for “someone else”. Instead, focus on the big goal, which is to get features completed to a customer ready state as quickly as possible.