Kanban board is one of the agile project management tools used by remote teams and in-office agile teams. Putting your tasks on the Kanban board and envisioning/visualizing the workflow helps teams better understand the procedures and obtain an overview of the workload. It helps in removing useless and wasteful information. You can quickly identify the problematic work stages, and your team will work efficiently.
Over the internet, you will find many kanban board examples, but how you will identify which methodology is suitable for you? What are the best ways to use the kanban tool, and how do successful project managers utilize the online Kanban boards?
If you have no answers, we’ll figure this out together and discuss the necessary details, whether you are a pro or beginner.
Keep Calm, and Let’s do Kanban Board!
What is a Kanban System?
As per the principles of Kanban, it is a method of scheduling that boosts the visual use of the imagination to organize the task work in advance, pre-planned deliveries, and much more. The name of the Kanban system is created and derived from the Kanban Cards that tracks the production. You can improve the workflow consistency and offer reliable yet faster delivery to clients by confining the work in progress (WIP) and applying specific policies in the team.
As mentioned before, Kanban is a project management tool that processes improvement methods. Software teams use kanban boards to enhance the efficiency in software development. The primary purpose of the Kanban system is to eradicate the bottlenecks and backlogs in the workflow.
What is a Kanban Board?
A method of work management that utilizes a digital kanban board or physical board with cards and columns is known as Kanban Board. The columns organize the tasks with the help of their present stage or progress in the development; on the other hand, cards represent the tasks.
Kanban is a Japanese word that means Billboard. Toyota developed this concept in the 1940s to execute just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing. Nowadays, this to-do tool is used in almost every industry but most notably used by the software development teams. Agile teams use this tool due to its visual interface, ease of use to reduce work, and immediately seeing what everyone is working on. Plus, it offers visual signals into the task’s progress and what a particular task is holding up in the project.
Elements of the Kanban Board
Kanban boards use the WIP limits, cards, columns, and swimlanes to manage the workflows and allow the team to visualize effectively.
- Kanban Cards: These cards represent the tasks visually, and each card has information about the task and its status, including assignee name, description, and deadline for the work.
- Work in progress limits: This helps limit the maximum number of tasks in different workflow stages as restricting the WIP allows you to complete the work items faster by limiting the team to focus on the present tasks.
- Swimlanes: The horizontal lanes you can use to split the different activities, services, teams, and more.
- Columns: Every column on the board depicts the workflow at different stages, and the cards have all the workflow mentioned until their completion.
How does a Kanban Board work?
This task management board works by charting the work items to digital or physical sticky notes placed into the columns on larger boards. The columns of boards portray a value stream- specific products or steps sequence that must go through from start to finish. The work items are written on the cards and then positioned in their columns.
For different types of work items, cards of different colours are used, whereas swimlanes are used to organize the workings of the team on one board. Also, WIP limits are placed on the few columns’ capacities to make sure the flow of work is smooth, and team members pull the cards and shift them through columns from left to right with the progress of work.
Columns of the Kanban Board
A typical Kanban board has three sections/column:
- To Do
This section has all the tasks that need to be done. The task initialization is done based on the task conceptualization. Then the task is added to the column and the lead time starts when the tasks are added to the To-do column.
This column has those tasks that are currently are in development by the specific team members. The amount of time required in-progress stage is called the “Cycle Time”.
Now, the tasks that are in progress are completed and delivered. The amount of time invested in the whole task, i.e. from initialization to the done stage, is known as “lead time”.
Different methods of using the Kanban board, and different teams customize it according to their workflow. But these are some of the typical steps of using the Kanban Board:
- Determine and visualize the workflow of your team. After defining the workflow, your team can imagine the work so everyone can follow.
- In the second step, break the workflow into different stages by personalizing the Kanban chart and splitting the workflow into more small stages. This way, you will capitalize on the team’s efforts to achieve the tasks successfully.
- Always consider each stakeholder input and use the stakeholder mapping to know whom the most important people are involved.
- Make sure all the stakeholders understand each stage as due to the workflow openness, each member can recognize who is working on what task in each separate stage only by looking at their Kanban Board.
- You can enhance the flow of work by limiting the work in progress. By implementing the real-time metrics, you can work together with the team members to predict future problems.
- In the last step, you can measure effectiveness by tracking the flow, lead time, and quality of the task by comparing it with the other criteria. Plus, in the whole process, the metrics should be analyzed.
No doubt, kanban boards are the true saviour when it comes to project management. This board can help manage tasks, organize the work items, enhance the quality and time of delivery, and optimize the team’s efficiency. There are many kanban project management software available in the market like Trello, Jira and kanban tool that helps the management to work effectively.