Thursday, December 3, 2020

What is kanban and how can it help your business?

Digital technology has made the way we work a lot easier, but complexities remain in our workflows. These complexities are one of the reasons why businesses are now turning to kanban. Below, we will look at what kanban is and how you can take advantage of it in your business.

Kanban: an overview

Kanban is a technique that is used to manage projects effectively. Kanban can be as simple or as complicated as you like, but all iterations of kanban use boards to manage workflow pipelines. Using kanban, teams can see all the tasks that are in various stages in the workflow. For example, you can have columns labeled To Do, Doing, and Done where individual tasks are placed. Depending on where they are in the workflow, these tasks can be moved up and down the priority list or left and right to the different columns that denote their status.

Because of the visual presentation of tasks, kanban is easier to understand and most teams that are introduced to it end up switching because of how easy it is to use. Additionally, Kanban can also be used to find bottlenecks in a team’s process, thereby helping remove them and improve efficiency.

If you are still not sure about using kanban, here are some ways in which it can help your business.

Transparency

Due to its visual nature, Kanban allows teams a lot more transparency while enhancing communication and collaboration. Everyone on the team can see what everyone else is working on or any tasks that are unassigned so they can work on them. Additionally, project managers can see where team members are stuck and provide potential solutions.

Because information is not confined to the team, other stakeholders can look at the kanban board which makes communication flow more readily from and to all parties involved.

Prioritization

A kanban system that is being used to its full potential allows tasks to be better organized and prioritized. If a task requires urgent attention, a project manager can move it to the top of the stack and a team member can work on it as soon as they have an opening. This ensures that the most important tasks – the ones that have the biggest impact on the product – get taken care of first.

It encourages leadership and input

A key principle of the kanban system is continuous improvement at all levels. This means that leadership does not have to come from the top as all team members can provide leadership at their capacity. No matter what level a team member is, they can provide leadership and direction to help the team continue to improve how it works as well as deliver the final services or products.

It makes it easier to manage remote teams

A common problem for remote teams occurs when two team members are working on the same task, or a task is not assigned because a team member thinks another member is working on that task. Using an online kanban board helps eliminate this problem.

When using a kanban board online, everyone sees what everyone else is working on, which eliminates the two problems outlined above. In addition to increasing visibility across all projects being worked on by a remote team, the kanban system makes it easier to automate existing dependencies, projects, and interactions.

Streamline processes

When using Kanban, it is easy to see if any bottlenecks exist because they present themselves on the kanban board. This is usually through tasks piling up in one column. When a project manager sees this, they can assign more team members to that column which helps streamline the workflow, thereby increasing the team’s efficiency.

Kanban makes your business more responsive to changes

Market requirements and directions change all the time. Because of this, businesses have to be able to adapt to these changes quickly or they will fall behind their competition. Kanban allows businesses and teams to focus on tasks that produce the most value.

When anything changes in the business, the priorities on your kanban board should follow, with changes not being a problem because this system is designed with flexibility in mind.

Better output

Kanban forces team members to understand that their output and productivity are not measured by how many tasks they complete. This ensures they value quality over quantity, which means the final product and services are of a much higher quality. Because the quality of the final products and services is much higher, there are fewer repeats and corrections, which saves both time and money.

Better feedback cycles

Kanban also heavily favours continuous integration. This means that features are released to users and customers as soon as they are completed. This allows team members to receive and work on the feedback received faster and keep improving their products.

Kanban offers businesses a myriad of benefits if implemented correctly and if the team using it has the right mindset. Kanban can help you improve and streamline your processes in addition to saving you time and money.

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