7 Kanban Cadences

2020-09-27 09:49:00
Renee Fey
Original 18707
Summary : Cadences of Kanban are meetings that allow a team to deliver working software at a stable and steady pace. A team that can deliver at a regular cadence can manage its velocity.

7 Kanban Cadences

A cadence can be characterized more simply as a rhythmic sequence. A cadence in the workplace refers to where, where, and how a leader or boss and his colleagues interact on a daily basis and where team members and workers can exchange ideas and knowledge.

What is Kanban and Cadence

Kanban is originated from 看板 (kanban in Kanji), a Japanese for "signboard" or "billboard". It is a lean approach to organize and develop function. This strategy attempts to handle work by matching demands with sufficient resources and optimizing the handling of system-level bottlenecks. It visualizes both the process (the workflow) and the real work that goes into it. It aims is to find possible bottlenecks in the process and fix them so that work can pass through it quickly and at an optimum pace or throughput.

ZenTao ALM-Kanban


Kanban is commonly used in today's agile and DevOps tech teams, but the kanban methodology goes to more than 50 years. Toyota started refining the manufacturing processes in the late 1940s using the same engineering process as retailers used to store their shelves. As Toyota implemented the same scheme on its factory floors, the aim was to better balance their vast inventory levels with real material usage. Staff will pass a card, or "kanban," between teams to communicate ability levels in real-time on the factory floor (and to suppliers).


Kanban Cadences are a sequence of meetings that facilitate proper bi-directional coordination at all levels of the company. Just like the body's mechanism of metabolic feedback loops in all of its cells, tissues, and vital organs. Kanban cadences allow teams to deliver working software at a stable and steady pace. A team that can deliver at a regular cadence can manage its velocity. 

The term "delivery cadence"...implies establishing a pattern of delivery of working software at a regular interval. Unlike Agile development methods which have time-boxed iterations, Kanban cadences allow it to adjust to its own natural pace.  The seven Kanban cadences are

  • Kanban Meeting
  • Replenishment Meeting
  • Operations Review
  • Delivery Planning Meeting
  • Service Delivery Review
  • Risk Review
  • Strategy Review

The seven Kanban cadences can be grouped into three groups if we look at their functions:

  • Getting things done: Kanban Meeting, and Delivery Planning Meeting;
  • Doing the right things: Operations Review, Risk Review, and Service Delivery Review;
  • Doing things better: Strategy Review, and Replenishen Meeting.

They can also be grouped into two groups in terms of the purpose of the meeting:

  • service delivery: Kanban Meeting, Replenishment Meeting, and Delivery Planning;
  • improvement/evolution: Service Delivery Review, Operations Review, Risk Review, and Strategy Review.

Essential Kanban Condensed Guide by David Anderson and Andy Carmichael

Image Source:   Essential Kanban Condensed Guide by David Anderson and Andy Carmichael

As you can see in the image above, two flows connecting the seven cadences of Kanban. One is the flow of information, which delivers the feedback from one cadence to another. The other one is the flow of change, which is about the actions and decisions made in one cadence and then have an impact on that made in another cadence. 

Kaban cadences

  • Kanban Meeting

Frequency: daily

Duration: 15 minutes

Attendee: the service delivery manager, the team

A Kanban meeting, aka daily meeting, is similar to the daily standup meeting in Scrum. It is to observe and track the task status and to keep the team on the same page. The difference is that a Kanban meeting is focusing on the flow. The team read from the right of the board to the left, finding the blockage, and ensuring the work moved out of the system.

  • Replenishment Meeting

Frequency: weekly or on-demand

Duration: 20-30 minutes

Attendee: the product owner, the development management, the team

A Replenishment Meeting is to pull new items into the queue and prioritize work items. As Kanban is a pull system, the items in the backlog will be pulled and worked on constantly once there is a vacancy in the swimlane. This is to ensure a smooth transition of WIP items.

  • Delivery Planning

Frequency: per delivery

Duration: 1-2 hours

Attendee: the service delivery manager, the team

A Delivery Planning Meeting is to review the work done and decide which items to deliver. Issues found in this meeting will be sent to the Risk Review.

  • Service Delivery Review

Frequency: bi-weekly

Duration: 30 minutes

Attendee: the  service delivery manager, the team

The Service Delivery Meeting is to check whether customer expectations are met in the delivered product. It also looks at the team performance, velocity, and sets metrics.

  • Operations Review

Frequency: monthly

Duration: 2 hours

Attendee: the  service delivery managers, the service request managers, customer representatives, other managerial

The Operations Review is to analyze the efficiency of teams and the demand and capacity of each Kanban team. Managers from all departments will share the findings of business performance and initiatives that concern the organization-level changes.

  • Risk Review

Frequency: monthly

Duration: 1-2 hours

Attendee: the  service delivery managers, the team, other managers

A Rish Review is to look at the issues and bottlenecks identified at the Operations Review and the Service Delivery Review, so the risks will be assesed and the same risks can be avoided in the future.

  • Strategy Review

Frequency: quarterly

Duration: half-day

Attendee: senior executives, Product Owners, customer-facing seniors

A Strategy Review is the top-level meeting to identify potential large-scale problems and find solutions. Decisions made at the meeting will be sent to Operations Review and Service Delivery Review with updated OKRs.


Kanban cadences are meetings in a regular rhythm. It is an important feature of Kaban meetings and works as the heartbeat of the delivery process. Kanban cadences facilitate the continuous information flow within the organization, so the team can check the process and feedback, continuously improve itself and deliver working software.  


1.  Kanban: Stop Starting, Start Finishing, https://www.zentao.pm/blog/the-abcs-of-kanban-method-436.html

2.  6 Kanban Practices, https://www.zentao.pm/blog/6-kanban-practice-438.html

3.  Kanban and Kanban tools, https://www.zentao.pm/article/kanban-agile-tool-free-and-open-source-229.html

4. David J Anderson.  K a n b a n: Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business. 2010

5.  Improve Your Information Flow with Kanban Cadences, https://kanbanzone.com/2019/improve-your-information-flow-with-kanban-cadences/

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