5 reasons why your team should work with Kanban
Do you know the feeling of endlessly searching through your documents to find the one where you, as the project manager, recorded who's working on what tasks? Whenever a team starts a new project, the question always arises: What is the best way to document and structure tasks so that everyone is up to date and knows who is working on what? In order to maintain this clarity and avoid constant searching for documents, the use of Kanban can be a suitable solution.
What is Kanban and why is it important for teams?
Kanban is one of the agile project management methods used to define, distribute and optimise tasks. This is achieved by visualising the work on a Kanban board. The board serves as a tool to increase efficiency and continuously improve the workflow. Different work phases are represented on the board, each with cards representing specific tasks. Depending on the work phase, the corresponding card is placed on the board. As a result, the card moves from one phase to another until the task is completed. In this way, team members can see who is working on which task.
The clarity provided by this approach offers a number of benefits, which illustrate why Kanban should be incorporated into a project.
Reason 1: Increased visibility and transparency in the workflow
Every project has a number of tasks that need to be completed. These tasks go through different stages of work before they can be delivered. By using a Kanban board, all stakeholders can directly track how tasks move through the process. When a digital board is used, even remote workers can see the current status of their colleagues in real time. This is particularly beneficial when tasks are interrelated or time-critical and require communication with a colleague.
Kanban boards are also a great help for project managers who tend to get lost in the details. They don't have to constantly check everything through direct enquiries because all relevant information is visible on the board. Ultimately, it allows project managers to let go and delegate because they have a clear overview of the progress of the entire project.
Reason 2: Better control over the work in progress
As described earlier, visualisation provides a clear overview of current work progress and the status of ongoing projects. This allows potential problems to be identified early on if something is not going as planned or if the team is stuck on a task. This transparent view promotes effective control of the workflow and prevents bottlenecks that can occur when certain tasks are not progressing. Inefficient areas are identified and turned into efficient ones, resulting in smoother operations and increased overall productivity.
By moving the cards, cycle time can be measured - the time it takes for a task to go through the entire process from start to finish. At the same time, it's easy to see how many tasks have been completed in a given period of time. Increased efficiency inevitably leads to increased productivity, and both aspects improve continuously over time.
Reason 3: Flexibility to respond to changing priorities and deadlines
Especially when Kanban is introduced, it becomes clear that it is a continuous improvement process where the team learns to use Kanban with more flexibility and dynamism over time. The transparency provided by the immediate visibility of all tasks enables flexible responses to changes. For example, if there are sudden changes, a team member can start working on a task immediately after finishing the current one. This allows quick adaptation to new situations and spontaneous re-prioritisation and scheduling, which is particularly important in agile project management where resource adjustments are often required to implement new plans.
Unlike Scrum's Sprints, Kanban does not impose a predetermined time frame for completing individual tasks. Instead, Kanban is a guideline that can be implemented very flexibly, allowing the team to introduce as many practices as work best for them. If certain practices prove effective, there's no need to change them. However, if something is not optimal, the process can be adjusted accordingly. This adaptability is another advantage of Kanban, as it allows the workflow to be continuously optimised to meet the individual needs of the team.
Reason 4: Improved quality and customer satisfaction
Kanban emphasises working where demand is greatest. This focuses attention on what is most important and enables the product to be adapted to meet customer expectations. Through continuous process improvement and efficient resource allocation, the product becomes better and more powerful over time. This results in faster and higher quality product delivery, thereby increasing customer satisfaction. Customers receive their products on time and in superior quality, leading to long-term loyalty to the company. Satisfied customers are more likely to return, making this customer-centric approach a key to Kanban's success.
Reason 5: Improved motivation and empowerment of the team
Having tracking data for each task allows the team to understand the problems and work on solutions. In some cases, some team members may be overworked, while others may not have enough to do. In such situations, the project manager can distribute tasks more fairly, increasing motivation in the team as everyone feels that the project is progressing efficiently. This encourages continuous improvement and collective learning within the team, as it is motivating to see that even small adjustments lead to positive results. This dynamic helps the team to self-organise and take responsibility for their tasks.
When using Kanban, it is not necessary to pre-define what tasks the team must complete within a specific timeframe. Instead, the pull system allows team members to take a task from the queue and work on it only when the team has the capacity to do so. This also helps with motivation as team members do not feel pressured.
In addition, task limits prevent multitasking, as constantly switching between tasks consumes valuable time that accumulates over time. Enforcing task boundaries makes it easier to concentrate and allows tasks to be completed efficiently, as energy is not wasted switching between tasks.
As you can see, Kanban can enrich many areas of a project and help the team to complete tasks successfully. There may be occasional challenges as the project progresses, but over time you will become more experienced and understand how to get the most out of the Kanban board.
Learn more about Kanban here
Keywords: Project management, Kanban