How To Use Kanban for Project Management
How To Use Kanban for Project Management
With the vast majority of company projects failing, Kanban is an Agile framework designed to let projects flourish.
Join the DZone community and get the full member experience.Join For Free
1. 70 percent of projects fail.
2. The failure of IT costs the U.S. economy about $50-$150 billion annually.
3. Around 97% of organizations believe project management is critical to business performance and organizational success.
What do the above statistics signify?
These numbers reveal that the project management landscape is changing and is increasingly becoming unpredictable day by day. With teams getting dispersed and projects becoming more complex, project managers are constantly looking for ways to plan and manage projects in a visual way and achieve continuous improvement.
That’s when Kanban boards enter the picture. To understand Kanban boards better, let’s go a little back and learn about its history and origin.
What is Kanban?
Kanban is a visual system for managing work as it moves through a number of stages. Kanban visualizes both the workflow and the actual work moving through those stages.
The Kanban board was originated in the early 1940s and the first Kanban system was developed by Taiichi Ohno for Toyota automotive in Japan.
Ohno created Kanban boards with the sole intention to manage work and inventory efficiently during production. It’s a cost-effective way to identify bottlenecks before they create problems in the future.
4 Main Principles of Kanban
To improve your project management with Kanban methodology, it’s essential to know about the core principles of Kanban, so let’s check them out:
- Visualization of work: This is the most basic and crucial step of the Kanban method where one must visualize the work either on a physical board or online. It helps you see who is working on what with just a glance at the workflow.
- Work-in-progress limits: Managing projects often include multi-tasking that could lead to errors or discrepant results. Whereas the Kanban method encourages team members to first complete the work at hand than taking up new stuff. You have to mark a task done before you change the stage of another task.
- Maintaining flow: As stated earlier, the motto of the Kanban method is to achieve continuous progress. The key aspect here is to monitor work, identify bottlenecks and eliminate them at that specific stage.
- Continuous improvement: The best part is that you can customize the Kanban method as per the needs of your team and streamline your efforts in such a way that you continue to improve in the overall scheme of things and become more productive.
Kanban Boards for Project Management
A Kanban board is an Agile project management tool designed to help visualize work, limit work-in-progress, and maximize efficiency. They use cards, columns, and continuous improvement to get the right work done. Some of its uses in project handling and management are discussed below:
Managing projects can be frustrating with so much stuff always going on. However, speed doesn’t always ensure progress but with a Kanban software, one can monitor progress, streamline workflow, review process, and make sure the team is focused on things that matter. The visual nature of a Kanban system makes it easier for people to analyze and make continuous improvement.
Every project is different. Some are small and simple while others are bigger and complicated. That’s the beauty of Kanban boards and systems — they are flexible and customizable in nature. Whether yours is marketing, development, or engineering team, you can adjust and create a workflow as per your needs and requirements.
Reduction of Wasted Time
The Kanban system heavily revolves around to the concept of reduction of waste, whether it’s over-processing, over-production, defects, and waste in other forms. In the world of project management, the waste can take the shape of unnecessary tasks or tasks producing no value. It encourages team members to focus on the things that produce results and increases your productivity and efficiency.
The Kanban method implements the work-in-progress (WIP) limits that puts a limit on how much work can be put in progress. Firstly, it stops team members from taking on too much work to accomplish what’s already on their plates. Second, it creates a sense of unity and harmony among team members to work together in unison to achieve a common goal. When there are fewer distractions, members can collaborate better and achieve more.
Effective project managers use Kanban boards to assign work and allocate resources in order to avoid unwanted delays and miss deadlines. Kanban boards are helpful in creating work-related tasks, assigning them to team members, and prioritizing in a way that you can seamlessly collaborate with other resources and get work done. If you see team members stuck and taking more time than usual, Kanban boards represent this information quite effectively so that you can apply the right resources in the best possible manner.
Workflows play a crucial part in project management. Project managers and project coordinators can manage workflow with online Kanban system like ProofHub which allows them to streamline their process, move tasks through stages, and get better visibility across tasks. This visual information help project managers to comprehend information better and come up with smarter ways to manage work and collaborate.
How to Choose the Right Kanban System
With so many Kanban software available in the market, it could be head-spinning to narrow down your choices to select the best pick. While choosing a Kanban system, make sure you look for the following things:
- Ease of use: Make sure it is easier to design a Kanban board in your selected software. The interface should be intuitive and easier to navigate.
- Flexibility: If different teams in your company can use the Kanban and customize it to their requirements, go for it without even batting an eye.
- Security: Make sure the Kanban system provides enough security and access management controls and also works well in the cloud.
- Integrability: Make sure the app integrates with existing tools for collaboration, file sharing, project management, etc.
While buying a Kanban system for project management, we recommend you to do your research first. Read project management software reviews, compare products based on your features and budget, and get a free trial to see if it meets your expectations or not.
Go for a Kanban system which is visible, user-friendly, flexible, and secure, and adapts to your workflow. Today’s market is filled with a large number of Kanban system; choose your pick wisely.
Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.