Kanban methodology: a tool for optimizing work
If your company works in communication, marketing, software development, engineering or any industry that involves project management from a digital platform, surely you have heard of this efficient and popular method, since the Kanban board offers an overview of all projects and allows us to better understand and plan resources. In this article we will discuss what Kanban is, what its functions are and how it is organized.
What is the Kanban board?
The Kanban chart is a project management tool that helps to visualize the workflow and monitor the progress of a project. It was originally developed in the year 1940 in Japan to improve production efficiency at the Toyota factory. It is based on the idea of limiting the work of each employee and making visible any component that can slow down the performance of projects. It is a method that helps teams achieve a balance between the actual tasks and the future ones.
The Kanban system was initially created for physical work environments, such as a car factory. However, today this system has been adapted for virtual environments where software, service or IT companies plan all their workloads to have better predictability and avoid possible delays. In this way, each employee has a more specific job that allows him to improve the quality of it and reduce errors.
How does it work?
This technique uses cards, categories and columns to drive continuous improvement for technology and service teams. In this way, the total amount of work is planned to accomplish the tasks in a given period of time. Currently, it is used in work methodologies such as Scrum and Agile.
According to David AndersenKanban boards have five components: visual images, columns, clear limits, commitment and delivery point. The three fundamental principles of this methodology are: visualize the workflow, limit the work in progress and make visible any potential delay in the process.
Some of the benefits of using the Kanban methodology are:
- Efficiency improvement: By making workflow visible, possible delays can be identified before they occur..
- Greater flexibility: by not having a set plan in advance, they can easily adapt to changes in the project.
- Continuous collaboration: By having an overview of the workflow, all team members can see the progress of the project and collaborate to complete it.
- Quality improvement: limiting work in progress makes this work become more efficient.
- Transparency: By visualizing the workflow, you can easily see the progress of the project and spot any issues.
This type of work methodology seeks the democratization of leadership, in order to quickly progress in each of our tasks, and making people feel autonomous. You must constantly focus on the needs and expectations of the client in order to manage the work and allow each employee to organize their work. Kanban methodology is used to improve efficiency, flexibility, collaboration, quality, and transparency in project management and resource management.
How to organize your board in Kanban?
1.Visualize the workflow
To visualize all the workflow, you must have a board with cards and columns. Each column represents the state in which a task is, therefore, to each one, you must assign the corresponding task with all the possible specifications and risks.
Remember that as a project progresses, the tasks will move between columns, which are usually ordered by the following categories: assigned tasks, To do, In progress, Done
2. Limit work in progress
Kanban is oriented towards the early delivery of tasks that must be moved quickly in order not to stall the work process. In this way, it is possible to empty the “in progress” column by setting work limits so that managers focus on finishing individual tasks and do not accumulate many at the same time.
3. Manage the workflow
Managing the workflow makes it easy to control the time spent on each task. With this type of control, it is possible to reduce the delivery time of each task.
One of the goals of the Kanban board is to build a smooth workflow. Rather than focusing on the working hours of each employee, it focuses on the workflow and delivery time of each task.
4. Implement explicit process policies
The most important thing about this whole process is that the work team understands, assimilates and becomes familiar with it. For this reason, the work processes must be well defined and assigned, so that people see the benefits of this methodology and the objectives pursued by each project.
The requirement to implement policies in the work processes lies in the care of communication, so that everything advances in coherence.
5. Feedback loops
Within Kanban, it is essential to collect feedback from both the work team and customers. In the case of workers, asking questions about the work process and its completion can be projected as an opportunity to strengthen professional ties at all levels and gradually improve the dynamics.
Gathering customer feedback on the quality and effectiveness of the service produced by the team serves to recognize internal strengths and weaknesses that will allow us to do a better job in the future, enhancing strong points and improving weak ones.
6. Improve by collaborating and evolve by experimenting
Kanban suggests constant improvement and if it is linked with other project management tools. There are many management tools for Scrum and Agile methodologies.
One of them is Workdeck, which among its multiple integrated tools, offers the Kanban board. We invite you to discover the all-in-one platform to have your virtual office. Start your free trial and find out how to work with Kanban boards and much more!