The Rule of Kanban

Our Linear board is a Kanban board. With Kanban boards we are looking for a few things.

  1. Visual clarity about what work is being done. At a glance someone should be able to see who is doing what and where they might be blockages that we might want to assist with.
  2. Work in progress limits. You want to keep "In Progress" light. Work in progress limits are the key to Kanban for the reasons described. "WIP Limits Encourage Us to Practice Systems Thinking" is very much our bag also one should allow slack.

Notion cannot enforce this, but does allow you to see the number of cards in each column. If it is high we should ask why, especially with columns like Blocked (is there a systematic cause of the blockage?) and Waiting (should we send a chase?).

A suggestion of limits:

1. In Progress: No greater than 8
2. This week: No greater than 40
3. Backlog: No greater than 80

You can always pull more in from No Status if one has capacity. Slightly more (+ 10%, say) is okay, but substantially more than the limit and we should consider what is happening.
  1. Flow and cycle time. Whereas in Scrum one is concerned with velocity as a measure of team forecasting, for Kanban we are concerned with "cycle time": the amount of time it takes for cards to traverse the board. This isn't about "going fast" but understanding usual capacity is understood and ensuring blockages and impediments to this are noted and tackled. If the pace is lowered from a reasonable one that has become the norm, this allows the team to consider why this might be the case, allowing for continuous improvement of processes.

See also Kaizen and single piece flow.

One thing we have is multiple views on this board, which is useful for zooming in on specific projects and sections of work.

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