The Kanban Pocket Guide
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The Kanban Pocket Guide

What No One Has Told You About Kanban Could Kill You

About the Book

This book is for anyone who has read The Kanban Guide and would like some assistance in filling in any gaps in their knowledge about what Kanban really is.

We wrote this book for the many people who have either tried Kanban or who are looking to try Kanban in either their professional or personal lives.  To that end we have put special emphasis on some of the justifications for why Kanban exists as well on clearing up many of the myths that exist around Kanban today.  We perpetually strive to clear up many of the misconceptions about Kanban, and this book represents just one step on that journey.  

To learn more, please visit us at!

About the Editors

Daniel Vacanti
Daniel Vacanti

Daniel Vacanti has spent most of the last 20 years focusing on Lean and Agile practices.  In 2007, he helped to develop the Kanban Method for knowledge work.  He managed the world’s first project implementation of Kanban that year, and has been conducting Kanban training, coaching, and consulting ever since.  In 2011 he founded Corporate Kanban, Inc., which provides world-class Lean training and consulting to clients all over the globe—including several Fortune 100 companies.  In 2013 he founded ActionableAgileTM which provides industry leading predictive analytics tools and services to any flow-based process. Daniel holds a Masters in Business Administration and regularly teaches a class on lean principles for software management at the University of California Berkeley.

Daniel Vacanti

Episode 235

Prateek Singh
Prateek Singh

Prateek Singh has been leading and working on agile teams for over two decades. Starting with XP, then Scrum and now working in a Kanban system, Prateek has gained a breadth and depth of knowledge regarding agile techniques, practices and implementation principles. Prateek is currently a Process Improvement Principal at UKG conducting training and coaching for teams regarding Kanban and Lean principles. Prateek has played the role of Software Engineer, Scrum Master, Agile Coach, Manager of Software Engineering and Director of Business Agility in his career. Prateek is currently Director of Engineering at Kin Insurance.

Colleen Johnson
Colleen Johnson

Colleen is the CEO of, an inclusive Kanban learning community and the founder of ScatterSpoke, a space for more actionable retrospectives, She has presented and taught agile to audiences around the world. As a coach, she has worked across range of industries including clients like Wells Fargo, eTrade, Home Depot, Salesforce, Gemini and more. Colleen helps organizations apply a systems thinking approach to aligning agile methodologies end-to-end. She has served as a board member for Agile Denver, the Agile Uprising, and chair of Mile High Agile Conference. She is happiest in the woods, camping with her three kids and very patient husband.

Table of Contents

  • Preface
    • What is Kanban?
    • Why Does The World Need Another Kanban Book?
    • Who This Book Is For
    • How To Read This Book
    • Final Thought
    • Endnotes
  • Prologue - The Secret History of Kanban and Why It Matters
    • In the Beginning
    • Kanban Launches, and Flops
    • Micro Improvements and Happy Accidents
    • Welcome to Thunderdome, the Process of Prioritization
    • So What’s Your Point?
    • Endnotes
  • Chapter 1 - The Single Most Important Part of Kanban
    • The Most Important Part of Kanban: Work Item Age
    • Why You Should Care About Aging
    • How To Prevent Work Items From Aging
    • Conclusion
    • Endnotes
  • Chapter 2 - The Service Level Expectation
    • Percentiles as Intervention Triggers
    • Right Sizing
    • Conclusion
  • Chapter 3 - Actively Managing Items in a Workflow
    • Pairing, Swarming and Mobbing
    • Unblocking Blocked Work
    • Right Sizing Redux
    • Breaking Down Work Items
    • Conclusion
    • Endnotes
  • Chapter 4 - Defining and Visualizing a Workflow
    • Work Items
    • Workflow
    • The Kanban Board
    • Conclusion
  • Chapter 5 - Improving a Workflow to Optimize for Flow
    • Options for Improvement
    • Conclusion
    • Endnotes
  • Chapter 6 - The Basic Metrics of Flow
    • Work In Progress
    • Cycle Time
    • Work Item Age
    • Throughput
    • Conclusion
    • Endnotes
  • Chapter 7 - Unleashing the True Power of Kanban
    • Dimensions of Scaling
    • Conclusion
  • Chapter 8 - Thoughts On How To Get Started
    • Starting Steps
    • Conclusion
  • Epilogue - Professionalism and
  • Appendix A - An Introduction to Little’s Law
    • We Need a Little Help
    • Little’s Law from a Different Perspective
    • It is all about the Assumptions
    • Assumptions as Process Policies
    • Kanban Systems
    • Size Does Not Matter
    • Forecasting
    • Conclusion
  • Bibliography

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