February 3, 2023

Kanban methodology: a tool for optimizing work

In order to have a better working experience while working from home, different tools are required. Today we will talk about the Kanban methodology, a process that allows us to visualize the status of projects, the stage of development they are in and who is responsible for each task. All this info is presented in an easy to understand structure where everything is connected and concentrated in one place.

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:

  1. Efficiency improvement: By making workflow visible, possible delays can be identified before they occur..
  2. Greater flexibility: by not having a set plan in advance, they can easily adapt to changes in the project.
  3. Continuous collaboration: By having an overview of the workflow, all team members can see the progress of the project and collaborate to complete it.
  4. Quality improvement: ​limiting work in progress makes this work become more efficient.
  5. 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!

January 23, 2023

9 benefits of working from home with your pet

If you are a pet owner and work from home, this article is for you. We will tell you about the benefits of virtual work for you and your pet and we give you some tips so that you can organize your tasks and spend more quality time with your best friend.

One of the great changes that the COVID-19 pandemic brought was the migration to start working from virtual spaces. Since 2020, home office is a growing trend and it has proven that it provides important advantages for both companies and workers. We`ve already explained the positive aspects of remote work in “The Digital Workplace boom: A trend that is here to stay“, but now we want to talk about the benefits of working from home when you have a pet.

From the moment we decide to dedicate part of our lives to a pet, we know that it will bring with it a lot of joy to our houses. However, having a pet demands time that sometimes we lack due to the schedule that we carry between work and other things. Since companies began to establish home office as a modality, pet care not only became easier, but also gave way to multiple positive changes in the owner-pet relationship.

Working from home with a pet can have a lot of benefits for mental and physical health. For example:

  1. Stress reduction: Spending time with our pet is really comforting and helps reduce anxiety and stress. This can improve the ability to concentrate and increase productivity.
  2. Improved mental health: Physical contact with a pet can release oxytocin, a hormone associated with  well being and relaxation. This can help reduce stress and improve mental health.
  3. Improved physical health: Interacting with a pet can help improve physical health. Walking or playing with your pet can help improve physical condition and reduce the risk of inactivity-related diseases.
  4. Reduced loneliness: Working from home can be lonely, but having a pet around can provide company and reduce feelings of loneliness.
  5. Improved emotional well-being: Caring for a pet can help develop a sense of responsibility and grant a purpose in life that transcends the tangible.
  6. Greater flexibility: Working from home with a pet can provide a greater level of flexibility in terms of hours and the place of work. This helps reduce the problems that come from leaving your pet alone for long periods of time.
  7. Increased creativity: Spending time with a pet can help inspire new ideas and increase creativity. Animals can provide a fresh and different perspective on work problems and challenges.
  8. Improved productivity: Working from home with a pet can help establish a regular routine and schedule, which can improve productivity and efficiency.
  9. Enhanced Teamwork: While working from home with a pet can make you feel lonely, it can also help improve teamwork by enhancing communication and support among team members who are also working from home with pets. The similarities between peers facilitate a  fluid communication and more collaborations.

However, it is important to keep in mind that working remotely with our pets at home can present new challenges in addition to those that already exist on a day-to-day basis, such as distractions and organizational problems. A new dynamic must be adopted in terms of planning work and free time. Therefore, it is very important to establish a specific place of the house to work in which pets cannot access so as not to generate interruptions and establish clear limits during work time and breaks.

As we’ve mentioned before, it is proven that living with pets at home helps us to release large amounts of stress and by playing with them, we can forget about our problems and at the same time make them happy. Pets are very special members of the family since they are the ones who are with us at all times and always give us pure and unconditional love.

You have to be flexible, and willing to adapt to changes and find what works best for both of you. Walking your dog during meetings can be an efficient strategy to clear your head and have new and renewed ideas.. Also, with all the remote work tools that exist today, we can walk our pet and continue reading emails or answering chats.

It is important to be able to plan the work and have a routine in which you eat breakfast, walk the dog, have lunch and take breaks. It is useless to be working all day without taking breaks because you run the risk of burnout. You must take advantage of the planning tools of your company, so that each person manages their work and their times in the best way. Platforms like Workdeck offer a virtual workspace that facilitates organization and work performance.

In case your current company does not have this type of management tools, we invite you to discover Workdeck, a platform to have your virtual office and manage your projects, expenses, purchases and much more.


January 11, 2023

Digital Workplace: The new trend

Nowadays, there are more organizations adopting a Digital Workspace in order to manage projects. Due to Covid 19 and the prohibition of physically attending to offices, there has been an increase in the use of Digital Workplaces, since many companies discovered that they can reduce expenses and improve performance with home-office.

Digital Workplace refers to work in an environment that uses technology to improve productivity and efficiency. This usually includes the use of online communication, collaboration tools, project management systems, tasks and other applications that help teamwork. The goal of a Digital Workplace is to provide a smoother and easier experience, allowing each employee to access the information and tools they need quickly and easily.

Matt Cain comments that, according to data from the Gartner Digital Workplace survey (2021), 68% of the surveyed employees say that managers have increased their interest in Digital Workplaces since the pandemic.

Companies around the world choose to have a Digital Workspace because it has low economic costs and high adoption from the employees. Each worker is allowed to work from anywhere and improves their productivity.

There are several potential benefits for companies that centralize their day-to-day activities in management software:

  1. Greater efficiency: Online communication and collaboration platforms allows better interaction between workers since there are several ways to organize meetings and chat between each other.
  2. More flexibility: Workers can access their work from anywhere, without going to a physical office.
  3. Better use of time: Employees are more productive and they do not spend time traveling to the office.
  4. Cost reduction: By not having to provide a physical workspace, companies can lower their infrastructure costs.
  5. Better control of the status of projects: Since everything is on one platform, managers can easily track the progress of each project.

It is important to evaluate the needs of the company and choose the tool or application that best suits them. There is a significant number of platforms that are used to manage projects, tasks, resources, optimize workflows and promote communication between departments. Workdeck is one of them, but it offers a service that includes more functionalities and integration tools such as Gantt diagram, Kanban, chat, Google Workspace, Office 365, among others.

If you want to learn more about our platform, we invite you to start the 15-day free trial or request a demo with one of our account executives. Start today your business transformation with Workdeck.

1 Predicts 2022: Digital Workplace Is Foundational for Employee Experience (gartner.com)

January 26, 2021

A systems approach to digitisation in the workplace

The workplace is an ecosystem. It consists of an interdependent series of teams, knowledge, functions, services, resources, infrastructure and space, operating together in a system towards fulfilling goals and objectives within pre-defined time, budget and scope constraints.

In knowledge businesses, the competitiveness and profitability of the business is largely determined by the effectiveness of this ecosystem to perform and deliver. One way of gaining business advantage is to look at enabling this ecosystem to run as efficiently and seamlessly as possible.

However, the appetite to look at optimising workplace dynamics has typically been low in the average company. Many business leaders felt that their workplaces were already running sufficiently. Others adopted a ‘leave well enough alone’ approach, while many others simply considered that priorities need to be elsewhere, such as focussing on customer acquisition, securing new contracts, product and service innovation…

And then along came the pandemic. And suddenly, overnight, workplaces across the globe had to quickly find a tempo to continue operations in a remote working scenario. Like in so many other times of crisis and dramatic change in the history of mankind, human beings (and businesses alike) have shown an impressive ability to adapt and pivot as part of our deep rooted survival instincts. As we now start to stabilise and find our way forward, there is an opportunity for businesses to reassess their workplaces and how they function, and to find a new workplace advantage by becoming digitally equipped to thrive in a New Normal.

This is a particular opportunity for businesses from the knowledge economy, in that knowledge-based businesses lend themselves particularly well to ‘virtualisation’, i.e. their activities can be decoupled from the physical world.

Let’s look for a moment at the current digitisation trends in businesses today. The landscape in many companies consists on the one hand of a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution for managing the sales pipeline bringing new contracts into a business, on the other hand an Enterprise Resource Planner (ERP) manages resources and revenue recognition. The space in the middle, which is the critical space ‘where work happens’ (and where employee satisfaction, customer success and profitability margins lie), tends to be comprised of a fragmented and disconnected mix of offline processes, spreadsheets, email and a plethora of numerous niche or point applications for the management of projects, task execution boards, expense apps, corporate travel management suites, time management tools, communication tools, and now even Apps that are designed to manually connect other Apps. The problem is that companies that digitize how they work by contracting an increasing number of niche or point tools, end up with an overinflated technology overhead (with associated costs and maintenance burden). The ensuing tool overload leads to technology stress in workers, a disjointed workplace experience, and dispersed information (with data and processes being silo-bound), all of which contribute to a productivity slide. Moreover, instead of maintaining one application, companies need to maintain multiple, and instead of training and onboarding staff on the use of one application, they need to be trained on the use of multiple.

And here is where we need to circle back to the start of this article. The workplace is an ecosystem. By this we mean that it is made up of subsystems (i.e. teams, functions, processes, knowledge, internal services…). It is dynamic; so it is constantly evolving and changing. And it is interdependent; an update or action in one of the subsystems tends to be relevant for others in the ecosystem. The best way to digitise such an ecosystem is via a ‘systems approach’[1], which is based on a number of fundamental principles that are particularly powerful when considered in the architecture of a Digital Workplace:

  • Holism– a change in any part or component of the system affects the whole system directly or indirectly.
  • Specialization– the whole system can be divided into smaller components so that the specialized role of each component is appreciated.
  • Non-summational– every component (subsystem/partial system) is of importance to the whole, and as such it is essential to understand the actions of each component for gaining the holistic perspective.
  • Grouping– as the process of specialization can create its own complexity by proliferating components with increasing specialization, it becomes essential to group related disciplines or sub-disciplines.
  • Coordination– the grouped components and sub components are coordinated and controlled so that they can work in a concerted manner in keeping with a unified holistic concept. If we design an architecture where by the coordination and control can be enhanced and enabled with Artificial Intelligence tools then we can data-drive an intelligent ecosystem.
  • Emergent properties– the group of interrelated entities (components) has properties as a group that is not present in any individual component. And this, combined with the intelligence mentioned above- is the true power of a systems approach.

Applying a systems approach to the digitization of the workplace as a dynamic and interdependent ecosystem should be the way forward in driving the digital transformation movement in knowledge businesses.

[1] https://ecomputernotes.com/mis/information-and-system-concepts/systemsapproach