Kanban board is excellent for enhancing productivity in a team environment. Source: Shutterstock

Kanban board is excellent for enhancing productivity in a team environment. Source: Shutterstock

How can your business benefit from a digital Kanban board?

KANBAN, which is essentially a visualization of work processes, is already a popular project management tool.

Originally developed and implemented at Toyota as part of a scheduling system for lean and just-in-time manufacturing that revolutionized the automotive sector, the method has since been adopted by many other industries and proven to be especially useful in the tech industry.

However, you do not have to have an office full of software developers to benefit from Kanban boards. However, in order to effectively deploy and benefit from it, companies must first know what is it exactly.

Understanding the Kanban Board

Kanban board, as mentioned previously, is a visual management and scheduling tool which is part of the Kanban method. The method itself is part of the Agile framework that manages iterative and incremental projects.

Heavily emphasizing on the visual, the tool helps stakeholders paint a picture of the development process and identify any bottlenecks it in the planning stages itself, which enables teams to deliver quality outcomes in a timely fashion.

Organizations have the flexibility to deploy the tool however they want, but the Kanban board does operate on six general principles which include: limiting work in progress, workflow management, explicit policy-making, utilizing feedback loops, and collaborative project evolution.

The board also typically consist of three columns (or more, depending on workflow), indicating the stages or status of a particular task within the workflow, labeled as “To-do,” “Doing,” and “Done.”

A simple Kanban board, illustrated. Source: Wikipedia

A simple Kanban board, illustrated. Source: Wikipedia

Further, the Kanban board also consist of three main components as well, which are:

  • Kanban board – The main where which all the processes are outlined and visualized.
  • Kanban cards – Individual Kanban cards marks work items and progress or tasks that are moved between the columns based on the progress or completion.
  • Kanban swimlanes – Swimlanes on Kanban board runs horizontally and are used indicated organizational levels which allows for tasks to distinguished and categorized even further.

Benefits of an online Kanban board

Many modern productivity solutions already have integrated Kanban boards as a feature, which also include mobile capabilities that enable your team to collaborate on the go.

By implementing the board, companies are not only practicing the tested and proven Agile method but facilitating continuous improvement of their workflows and processes.

The increase in visibility and transparency will allow and encourage team members to be aware of everyone’s progress in the project so that they can plan their individual workflow as well.

Any mistakes or oversight could be easily corrected and rectified before they cause serious long term damage.

Beyond that, the Kanban board empowers every member of a team and allows them to share responsibility and ownership of the project.

It also fosters a degree of accountability within the business unit or organization which enhances collaboration and communications skills.

Further, the general principle of Kanban, which limits the “work-in-progress”, ensures that only tasks that are in highest priority get on the board, thus eliminating the menial tasks which could risk work overload and reduce productivity.

In conclusion, the Kanban board is a customizable, flexible productivity tool that any business could deploy to optimize their workflow.

Companies, specifically SMEs, stand to immensely benefit from the visualization of their workflow, ensuring that teams become productive and achieve the best possible results, each and every time.