What Is Kanban?

The Kanban Method

The Kanban Method is an approach to incremental, evolutionary process and systems change for organizations. Kanban balances the demand for work to be done with the available capacity to start new work. Flow is key! The Kanban Method is a set of principles and practices that are applied to an existing process. If you are looking for an alternative path to agility, Kanban can help you.

The curriculum of every Lean Kanban University Accredited Kanban Training class is based on the Kanban Method and it is followed by all LKU Kanban Coaching Professionals. The best way to get up to speed quickly on the Kanban Method for your specific workplace context is to attend a Lean Kanban University Accredited Kanban Training class.

Who Uses Kanban?

  • Kanban is the alternative path to agility used by tens of thousands of organisations worldwide.
  • Kanban has been around for 10+ years and is a proven framework for utilising Lean principles in knowledge work.
  • Any organisation can benefit from Kanban.
  • Scrum is used by Microsoft, Pearson International, the BBC, the Daily Mail, The Times & Sunday Times, Digital Agencies, Universities…

Foundational Principles

  • Start with what you do now
  • Agree to pursue evolutionary change
  • Initially, respect current roles, responsibilities & job titles
  • Encourage acts of leadership at all levels

Core Practices

  • Visualize
  • Limit Work In Progress (WIP)
  • Manage flow
  • Make policies explicit
  • Implement feedback loops
  • Improve collaboratively, evolve experimentally (using models and the scientific method)

Kanban method


David J Anderson first developed the Kanban Method for knowledge work and service work in 2005. He combined elements of the work of W Edwards Deming, Eli Goldratt, Peter Drucker, and Taiichi Ohno. Kanban incorporates concepts such as pull systems, queuing theory, and flow.

Over several years, David distilled the method into a set of principles and practices. These were evolved in collaboration with the wider Kanban community to create the Kanban Method as we know it today.