I was browsing a list of tools and services for a lean startup a couple of days ago, when I noticed that many of tools implement a Kanban methodology. I had never heard of Kanban, so I took a quite trip over to Wikipedia.

“Kanban is a method for developing products with an emphasis on just-in-time delivery while not overloading the developers”. Hmmmm, that sounds good. Upon further reading, I realised that this is the methodology that the introductary video at Trello was aimed towards. I have been playing around with Trello for a couple of weeks, but hadn’t really got my head around how best to apply it.

My curiosity was piqued, so I went and bought one of the seminal books on applying Kanban to the agile software development process - Kanban, by David Anderson.

In the book, David talks about applying 5 principles to the software development process:

  1. Visualize the workflow. This is the benefit that Trello brings to the process.

  2. Limit Work in Progress. This means that work is “pulled” from another part of the workflow, when it is needed.

  3. Manage Flow. The flow of work through the system needs to be quantitatively analysed.

  4. Make Process Policies Explicit.

  5. Improve Collaboratively.

It’s definitely a methodology I’ll be trying to apply to my own startups.