Glossary

Glossary

Common Lean Kanban Flow Terms

Term Definition
A3 The context, goals, analysis and proposed countermeasures of a problem made visible on a single sheet of A3 sized paper (11 x 17 in).
Constraint A bottleneck in the system. Something preventing forward movement.
Cost of Delay Cost of Delay is a way of communicating the impact of time on value. (h/t Black Swan Farming).
Cycle Time The elapsed time it takes to complete a request from the time the work began to the time the work completed.
Flow Efficiency The ratio of the touch time compared to the total elapsed time work is in process (touch time divided by lead time, multiplied by 100).
Kanban Japanese word for visual signal. Used here to refer to a visual management pull system for knowledge work.
Lead Time The elapsed time it takes to complete a request from the time it was first requested.
Lean A Socratic philosophy used for continuous improvement.
Systems Thinking A holistic view of the system where the goal is to optimize the whole system versus just individual functions or silos.
System A network of interdependent components that work together to try to accomplish a goal. A system includes the people doing the work and the impacting rules and tools.
Pull System Work pulled into the system based on available capacity to handle it, rather than work pushed into the system.
Queue A pileup of work waiting to get worked on. Work that’s in a wait state.
Value Stream The activities done from beginning to end for a specific product or service in order to provide business value.
Work State The state that the work is in. Work flows through different states on its way to completion. The work states show us where the work is in the pipeline.
Workflow The flow of work through the pipeline (or system) from beginning to end.
Work Item Anything being worked on. Work that encompasses effort – both large and small.
Work-In-Progress Work-in-progress (WIP) equals all the work started but not yet finished.