When Taiichi Ohno first designed this board to improve and maintain Toyota’s production in a high level, I am sure that he couldn’t imagine that this board would be used from almost all kind of businesses and would be a fundamental tool in managing and organizing teamwork. KanBan in Japanese means something like the card you see and to be honest; it is not something more than this! However, no matter how simple it may sound, it can cause lots of problems if it is not used in the right way. So, we have collected all these tips that will guide you to the “right” KanBan way and will be the Holy Bible of effective Project Management.
Set Priorities and Deadlines
First of all, it’s really important to rank each task with a priority of importance, according to Randy McCabe from Papaly and after that to also define the duration of each one. It’s also useful to schedule stand-up meetings daily to keep track of the scheduled and actual tasks duration and generally for efficient project tracking. However, a well-scheduled KanBan doesn’t mean that it lacks of flexibility. The team or project leader should be able to re-prioritize work without disrupting the team.
Quincy Smith from Uplift ROI underlines the importance of having well-trained employees in every Project Management app; “ensuring that you have a defined set of usage guidelines” is the most important aspect of using a KanBan board. “Every employee that might use the board should understand their respective lanes, weights given to each card and the statuses applied to them”.
Furthermore, one more factor that really affects negatively KanBan’s efficiency is multitasking. The more tasks displayed at a certain time, the more changes will have to be applied and thus their completion will be delayed. The key is to limit the amount of tasks in progress in order to highlight bottlenecks and backups in team’s process due to lack of focus, people, skill sets or project management tools.
Reports and Continuous Improvement
KanBan philosophy is based on visualization, but making the metrics extracted from it also visual helps a lot. Creating reports for tasks’ duration for example makes it easier to spot bottlenecks and get rid of them as soon as possible. In addition, defining the weaknesses of a project with the appropriate reports helps in the right way to continuous improvement of the board’s usage firstly and secondly the whole project.
Since the first time a KanBan has been used a lot of improvements have been made in the way it work and the tools that are being used, but it is and will be still the core of the “just in time” manufacturing