Kanban is a workflow management method intended to define, manage, and improve services resulting in knowledge work deliverables. Kanban was created in Japan during the 1940s and applied to Toyota’s just-in-time modeling for their manufacturing teams. In the more recent decades, the practice has been adopted as an Agile methodology. This workflow system has been successfully applied to other complex commercial and technical industries such as information technology, software development, R&D, and similar roles.
In order to best utilize Kanban in a work setting, it is practiced with two varieties of elements together; board and cards. While different in format and function, each depends on the other to process workflow more efficiently.
Boards: These boards are often a large-scale whiteboard separated into categories to apply visualization to the workflow needing to be fulfilled. Boards are ordinarily divided into three main categories to designate the stage in the process a given task is currently occupying. For example, a simple board would show To-Do, In Progress, and Complete for tasks and projects.
Cards: Cards represent the individual task to be completed within the overall project on the board. These cards are usually minor sections of the board that are moved throughout the storyboard as assignments are started, worked on, and then completed.
Theoretically, the board is the project outline process itself. On the contrary, cards are the pieces needed to move the more extensive outline along more easily towards project completion. Each of these two segments, the board and cards both serve a valuable purpose for the Kanban method to work successfully for the team.
Countless team meetings often start with a plan or a rundown of goals and tasks to be done. Working from a simple punch list like this can quickly bog down under the weight of unproductive discussions and excessive focus on details. Cultivating a Kanban practice can help keep assignments prioritized and flowing without being overpowering.
There are significant benefits of using a Kanban system in the workplace. Using Kanban in a team project setting can often improve project assignment flows, team collaboration, and the individual task delivery timeframes of the projects. Additionally, working in a Kanban flow method allows mistakes to be minimized with regular feedback and improves the predictability of common projects. Utilizing a Kanban method can also increase the delivery timeline for customers and clients and create greater team and company success in the long term.
With the increased online work environment nowadays and remote working, Kanban can efficiently be executed with online platforms and applications. Some of the top-rated Kanban-style online platforms and applications are Trello, Kanbanize, and nTask Manager. These applications bring Kanban to an online platform by allowing team projects to flow more smoothly yet bring this successful project management methodology to many other industries.