Kanban Software for Project Management: Should You Switch?
The Kanban system isn’t a new thing. The approach was first used by Toyota to streamline its manufacturing line. Over the years, however, we’ve seen different iterations of the Kanban methodology being implemented for different purposes.
The latest trend is using Kanban for agile project management. Kanban tools now come with more features. The fact that they run in the cloud and function as holistic solutions for project management certainly make digital Kanban boards much more functional.
Despite the extra features that come with today’s top Kanban tools like Kanbanize, switching to one is still a big decision to make. Should you switch to a Kanban board to manage your projects? Is the methodology right for your organization? Let’s find out, shall we?
Simple Project Management for Everyone
If you are wondering whether the Kanban methodology is right for you, the added flexibility offered by modern Kanban tools should convince you. Cloud-based Kanban boards like Kanbanize are incredibly flexible. You can have custom boards designed specifically for your processes. On top of that, you have the ability to make adjustments to the boards on the fly, meaning you don’t have to stick to a workflow set in the beginning.
This allows for refinements in the way you manage projects. For example, you can switch from the standard 3-stage board (To-Do, Doing, Done) to a 5-stage board (To-Do, Doing, Review, Deploy, Closed) depending on your needs. Each stage can be fully customized, and you have complete freedom over how you organize your boards.
A Collaborative Platform
The Kanban methodology also allows for better collaboration between team members, and the modern iteration of the system makes collaborating on the board even easier. For starters, you can now assign tasks to specific team members while keeping the entire board visible. Everyone can view existing tasks and jump in at any point to offer support.
At the same time, the visual nature of the Kanban system gives team members the ability to keep track of projects in real-time. Add features like dependencies and deadlines and you have a complete set of project management tools that also function as an exceptional collaborative platform to use. Dependencies, in particular, are handy for making sure that all team members are working at a similar pace.
Visual Approach to Problem-Solving
That brings us to the next reason: easy problem-solving. Dependencies between cards allow project managers to anticipate bottlenecks and create smoother workflows while keeping the projects going. Rather than waiting for issues to surface, team members can check each other and work on the projects as a unit.
Dependencies are not the only feature that helps project managers solve problems on the Kanban board. Metrics such as Lead Time are also handy for monitoring performance and managing projects. When the lead time for a task is too long – or when a card sits at a particular stage for a while – other team members can see the task and offer assistance.
Good implementation of a digital Kanban board leads to better transparency. Since both project managers and team members can monitor the state of all tasks in a visual way, there is no need for top-down instructions. Problem-solving becomes something that every team member can do at any point in the project.
There is also the visual nature of the Kanban system. Today’s top Kanban tools have different user interface designs, but they are all designed for a specific purpose: to make managing even the most complex projects more pleasant. Gone are the days of using spreadsheets to keep track of bills of materials or production-related tasks.
Each task is represented by a card. The card can contain a lot of details about that specific task, including key items like deadlines, assigned team members, and task description. You can use tags and other features offered by the Kanban system you utilize to further categorize tasks.
On top of that, cards can have different colors and markers. While how cards are designed depends on the Kanban tool you use, you can almost always add clear titles and touches of colors to differentiate tasks even further. This is why complex projects managed using a Kanban board tend to be simpler to monitor.
Easy Throughput Management
Now that you know how to solve bottlenecks and potential issues using the Kanban methodology, it is time to tackle the next big challenge: managing throughput. This too is a strong suit of the Kanban methodology. In today’s world of highly efficient operations, the use of Kanban cards and a well-defined workflow can help you manage throughput without jumping through hoops.
Kanban can be used as a methodology for a wide range of projects. Whether you are handling an app development project or an actual manufacturing line, you can use Kanban cards to represent individual tasks and visualize your projects on the board. Once the cards are placed and assigned, you also gain the ability to manage the pace at which the project is completed.
By setting different deadlines for dependent tasks, for instance, you can prevent delays caused by smaller tasks. Managing the resources that you have (i.e. your team members) is also easy with the help of analytic features that come with modern Kanban tools.
Making the Switch
So, is the Kanban methodology suitable for your projects? If you have a well-defined workflow and a series of tasks to complete, it is easy to adapt the Kanban methodology to your needs. Of course, tools like Kanbanize make switching to the Kanban methodology even easier.
If you are already using other project management tools, migrating to a Kanban system should not be a challenge. Export/import tools are widely available, and you can automate the process further using services like Zapier. Once the migration is completed, you will have your entire project in visual form on the board.
The real challenge comes in the form of maximizing your use of the Kanban board. There are so many benefits to gain and features to use. This, however, is something we will discuss in another article. In the meantime, start benefiting from the Kanban system and make your switch today.