Ask any of your employees and they’ll probably tell that starting a project is one of the hardest parts of their job. There are so many steps before you can get down to the actual work that even the simplest task can be intimidating. Managing your projects well is the best way to keep your business running efficiently. That’s where Kanban project management comes in.
Originating from Toyota’s “just-in-time” production system, Kanban exemplifies the concept of working smarter, not harder. By promoting consistency and accountability, Kanban process management improves productivity and team involvement without pushing your employees past their limits. Continue reading to find out what your company can accomplish with this time-tested approach.
Using Kanban Project Management
It has been proven many times over that focusing on the most important part of a project first improves productivity. Not surprisingly, this is the core concept of the Kanban system.
Each task has its own board and anything connected with the task (comments, checklists, descriptions, etc.) stays in one place. You can then customize your workflow by arranging task boards in the order you want them finished. From there, you can assign boards to the team members you want working on them. Each member will receive notifications when they are assigned tasks or mentioned in a comment.
Strengths of Kanban Project Management
It’s with good reason that employees work better as a team when tasked with a Kanban project. This is because Kanban project management is designed to maximize efficiency in the following ways:
- Uses segmented project management techniques for easier presentation
- Encourages focusing on one task at a time for maximum efficiency
- Systems become more streamlined, with practice
- Fully customizable for team optimization
- Works across industry sectors
- Cuts down on employee multi-tasking
Kanban is great for self-motivated teams looking to evolve their existing process. It also teaches users about the role that interdependencies play in a given project.
The Downside of Kanban Process Management
Despite the success that many companies have experienced using it, the Kanban approach to project management might not be for everyone. Here are a few of the reasons why:
- Kanban is less structured than other styles of project management.
- Teams might not have much experience working on fewer tasks at a time.
- Kanban’s inherent lack of structure may take people off task.
There are many other project management solutions available, and every one of them has its own set of ups and downs. The Kanban approach is no different.
Kanban Boards and Cards
Kanban work best for those who work well with visual systems. Each board lays out all the tasks that make up a particular project. It’s very easy to track progress in this way.
When creating a board, you must first set a goal. Then you break that down into tasks. From there, you create a column for completed work, a column for projects you’re working on, and a column for tasks that you haven’t started yet. When making Kanban boards in person, post-it notes are a common tool for this part of the process.
It’s up to you to decide how long it should take to be finished. It might represent tasks for a day, a week, or even a month. The boards can contain every task involved in a project.
Kanban boards make it much more likely that employees execute each task thoroughly. When all the tasks are right in front of you, nothing will be forgotten or fall through the cracks. Once all tasks are in the “done” column, the whole team can share a sense of accomplishment.
Organizations that Benefit from Kanban
Kanban can be used across industry lines. Here are some of the groups that tend to excel using the Kanban method:
- Students who arrange their homework using task boards
- Lawyers who track the progress of cases using Kanban
- Software developers who implement Kanban boards to track coding
- Salespeople who track sales quotas with these methods.
- People who use Kanban boards at home for chores and housework
While most people think of Kanban in the context of software development, it can actually be used in a variety of life areas. Streamlining projects and maximizing productivity is universally beneficial, and this is an area where Kanban project management truly excels.
Are You Using the Kanban Approach to Project Management?
Kanban is based on common-sense principles that visibly reward progress and team involvement. Many businesses utilize at least a few of these principles already.
Adjusting to Kanban can be a struggle. There are many great Kanban-based software options that will help integrate this system into your workplace. As you use these methods more, make a note of what works best for your team. Eventually, you’ll see why Kanban project management is becoming so popular.