Kanban has its origins in the Toyota production system and aims, among other things, at minimizing stock levels and at ensuring a smooth production flow. Kanban in IT is mainly inspired by Lean Development. A characteristic feature ofKanban is the Kanban board, where requirements are written on index cards (=Ticket), then put on a board where it moves from left to right according to the status of completion: At the left is the first workflow (e.g. requirement spezification), on the right is the final workflow (e.g. deployment/roll-out). An important principle is to limit the work-in-progress ("WIP-limit"); the number of tickets processed per developer is therefore limited.

Just like SCRUM, Kanban is also agile, but there are some differences: In SCRUM the Scrum team commits itself to a certain amount of work during the sprint (iteration cycle); estimates (e.g. story points) have been worked out for this amount of work beforehand; there is the Product Owner, the Scrum Master and the Scrum Team; each sprint has a predefined length (2 to 4 weeks). In Kanban on the other hand, there are no predefined roles, estimates of tasks are not mandatory; iterations are also optional in Kanban, a development team does not commit itself to the processing of a predefined scope of work during an iteration.


The author is a manager in the software industry with international expertise: Authorized officer at one of the large consulting firms - Responsible for setting up an IT development center at the Bangalore offshore location - Director M&A at a software company in Berlin.