Do you know what you are doing? Do you know what you really need to do? Kanban didn’t just help Toyota to become the automotive industry’s role model for productivity and efficiency; it can help you to prioritize and get things done too.
In today’s always-connected world, with smartphones, tablets, social networks and the cloud, we have the potential to be more creative, collaborative and productive than ever before. Kanban, which is Japanese for visual card, is a simple but really effective way to manage your life and work visually. And to get things done.
A Kanban board consists of cards that represent ideas, tasks and issues that need to be taken care of. You can change the status of the cards by moving them between columns as the work progresses. You can set up whatever columns you need, but the classic set up is ‘to do’, ‘doing’ and ‘done’. By looking at the Kanban boards, you see where specific work items are in the process, potential bottlenecks and where there is a good level of flow. As simple as that. Why didn’t anyone think of it before? And why does it work at all?
1. Agile – not just the tech industry’s secret
Agile principles of management are now being implemented across industries, around the world. The principles are as simple as likable:
The empowered, learning team is the core. Involve customers and stakeholders in the process; do not wait until it is finished. The people doing the work should be the ones planning it.
Kanban has emerged as the tool of choice for agile teams as it visualizes workflows and empower by sheer transparence.
Lean is another approach that can benefit from Kanban. The IT sector, especially software development, has adopted values, principles and concepts from lean manufacturing and product development. Lean originated in the Toyota production system; it is a scheduling process developed to determine what to produce, when to produce it and how much to produce. Software developers are embracing lean principles too, and due to the prevalence of software developers and IT teams in general in organizations globally, we’re seeing these working methods spread organically to other teams and parts of organizations too.
2. Be smart, even if your workplace is stupid
The expectations on you are clear: be smarter. The expectations on your employer are more complex. As the market puts increasing pressure on organizations when it comes to higher productivity and competitive edge,
Visual management can be the cure for many employees, project managers and teams. The beauty of Kanban is that it can be used to visualize any type of work item. It is a simple visual representation of work in progress, and it gives up-to-date information on how work is flowing through the process. This leads to insights of areas to improve, such as eliminating bottlenecks and streamlining processes in general. they are forced to become more efficient by doing more with less. Meanwhile, a study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group shows that the number of procedures, vertical layers, coordination bodies and decision approvals in companies has increased from 50 to 350 percent over the last 15 years. No wonder employees are struggling to find their way through the information overload.
Kanban boards are gaining ground because they stands for something new. They make it possible for people to focus on the right tasks by self-organization. The board simply makes it easier for us to prioritize, which iscrucial when it comes to efficiency. And even more crucial for engagement and team spirit.
3. Why work together?
True and effective engagement amongst internal or external stakeholders is very hard dictate. Everywhere in society, there is a growing interest in how people behave in different situations and what influences our actions, from behavioral economics to CBT. For managers, of course, it is of great interest to unlock the engagement that turns your employees from drones to creative missionaries. The key is to access the link between formal workflows and informal information.
Technology is an unprecedented tool to reinforce behavior and reach out to stakeholders. The omnipresent use of social networks has taught us a lot. Not just in theory but also in practice, how all of us are using it in our daily lives and how to manage workspaces that boost collaboration.
By introducing additional elements to the Kanban methodology, such as a higher level of interaction, the tool can be refined and people’s positive behavior shaped even further. How? Think about the success behind social media, where visibility, feedback functions and a feeling of belonging are important features. What it is really about, is that social technology, such as conversation tools and activity streams, has created new opportunities for showing, rewarding and shaping actions. Essential behaviorism.
4. Control through transparency
One concept of the Kanban methodology is especially appealing. By being open, you gain control. Management, regardless of industry, is the act of getting people together to accomplish agreed-on goals while using available resources in the best way. However, many managers spend far too much time on detailed planning instead of focusing on issues of strategic value. And as we all know, things change all the time. Ultimately, time and money is wasted.
With Kanban boards, your team become empowered. We self-organization to get the job done. As the level of involvement raise, so does the level of engagement. Managers and stakeholders get full insight by review the cards, without struggling with details or attending endless touch-base meetings.
Managing a mobile workforce, where an increasing proportion is part of multiple teams, requires trustworthy tools for real-time information sharing. Considering this, digital Kanban boards can provide the real-time visibility, collaboration possibilities and transparency required.
Nowadays, we are armed with all kinds of smart devices. Most of us qualify to be appointed power users of social technology, from social media to mobile technologies. Taking the step to allow these technological advancements to help us manage work and life is smaller than ever. You just need to accept that there are more effective workspaces these days for your own and shared tasks than Outlook, Excel and Linkedin.
Online conversations in chat rooms and forums, links and documents sharing or ‘like’ buttons reinforce positive aspects of collaboration. Put those tools and features into a digital Kanban board and you get all the social power you need. Technology will continue to drive networking and collaboration across organizational, geographical and cultural boundaries. The speed and ease of informal communication in personal networks has just started to be adopted in our professional lives too.
Ok, now it is time for you to start kanbanizing your life, right? Projectplace has launched the free tool, bringing smooth collaboration to your fingertips without hassle for a team of up to 5 people. It is easy to upgrade when your needs grow, so check it out.