Kanban boards are one of those things that, once you start using them, you wonder how you ever managed without them. They are deceptively simple: just a board with columns and cards representing the flow of tasks, projects or other activities. But they can be incredibly powerful in helping you organise your work and stay on top of what needs to be done.
Teams often struggle to keep track of all the different activities and requests that need to be addressed, and it can become increasingly difficult to know what is happening at any given moment. The use of Kanban boards is a revelation which has a lasting impact on the team’s ability to manage their work.
The basic idea behind a Kanban board is that you have a visual representation of all the work that needs to be done and the progress being made. The board is divided into columns, each representing a different stage of the work. The items move from left to right across the board as work is completed.
This simple visual representation of the work makes it incredibly easy to see what needs to be done and what is happening with each item. It's much easier to understand the status of a team’s work when you can see it all laid out in front of you.
One of the key benefits of using a Kanban board is that it helps you to focus on the most important tasks. When dealing with a lot of work, it can be easy to get bogged down in minor details and lose sight of the bigger picture. With a Kanban board, you can see at a glance which tasks are the most important and should be prioritised. Bottlenecks also become visible, and the volume of work needed to be done becomes immediately apparent for all to see.
Another great thing about Kanban boards is that they are highly customisable. You can set up the columns and cards in any way that makes sense for your project. For example, you might have a column for "Design" and another for "Development". Or, you might have a column for "Urgent" and another for "Less Urgent". The flexibility of Kanban boards means that you can adapt them to suit your specific needs.
One of the reasons that Kanban boards are so effective is that they are based on a set of principles from “The Kanban Method". These principles include limiting work in progress, visualising the flow of work, and making process policies explicit, amongst others. By following these principles and others, you can create a highly efficient, effective and collaborative working system.
Kanban boards are a great way to organise your work and stay on top of what needs to be done. They are simple to use, highly customisable and based on a set of principles that are proven to be very effective.
But a Kanban board alone is not sufficient. To have a working environment that is effective and improving continuously, three components are needed. They are; a visualisation of the work (usually a kanban board), people (the collection of folks who are executing the work), and interactions (a structured way in which the collection of folks collaborate and communicate in front of the board).
Interested in learning more about how to utilise the benefits of Kanban boards and The Kanban Method itself? Then join one of our Kanban System Design courses, where you will learn the theory of The Kanban Method and build a Kanban system from your own working context. All in a fun and interactive workshop with games and simulations.