Do you remember what tv character George Costanza’s father occasionally used to scream when things got heated in a hugely famous ’90s sitcom? Even if you litterary haven’t done the same, I bet you have felt like screaming “serenity now!” more than once. Ask yourself what’s your schedule like this week, and start to do something about it.
Plenty of actions to get through on your project and not quite sure how you’ll manage it? There’s no denying that projects are becoming more complex – with the workload creeping up and resources either remaining stagnant or shrinking – you’re not alone if you sometimes find yourself struggling to manage.
In today’s complex business world, project teams can often feel bombarded with information from hundreds of sources at once. Not to mention the masses of emails going back and forth about any one project at a time. The result is information overload, and pretty much everyone will have experienced it at some point in their job. It’s not beneficial and can leave teams confused, as well as result in missed deadlines and inefficient use of resources.
Despite the worries over the complexity of projects, there is an old approach which can help. It’s nothing new as it’s actually a 60-year-old method that dates back to post-war Japan. The Kanban, which is Japanese for ‘card wall’, is an approach used by the country in the late 1940s to revive the industry through production efficiency.
The system features a board on which cards can be placed in different columns to represent workflows of projects. As the tasks progress, the cards move through the columns until they are complete. Think of it like a traffic light system, where the simplest boards have three columns:
- To do – red light
- In progress – orange light
- Done – green light
Today, the Kanban approach has become hugely popular in the business world and is used by the likes of Toyota in the automotive industry. The car manufacturer has since become a role model for productivity and efficiency in the sector. Toyota builds a car every 66 seconds in its factory in Burnaston, Derbyshire, with every item or box of items used in production carrying its own Kanban card as it moves through the workflow.
Kanban in the workplace
We can’t use the traditional physical Kanban board in today’s workplace as it wouldn’t work as a central hub with geographically dispersed teams. Luckily, we at Projectplace have taken the Kanban board ‘digital’, allowing teams across the globe to work on one platform to manage their projects. Sharing the board online means that teams can easily visualize work and absorb large amounts of information quickly – all in one place, on any device and from anywhere in the world!
Did you know that the brain can process images far more easily than text? Group physiology and behavioural sciences have found that visualising information can neutralize cognitive overload and dispel uncertainty. The digital Kanban board is laid out in an intuitive fashion with this concept in mind. Offering teams a visual picture of a whole project, with each action belonging to one of three columns, can help to keep the team on track and focused on however many activities need to be completed.
Beyond the visual benefits of the Kanban board, is how much timeit can save teams on a reporting level. Having all the projects in one digital location eliminates the need for endless meetings and the constant influx of emails about project progress. The board facilitates an open work culture with full transparency, allowing managers and team members to see exactly who is working on what and delegate activities where necessary.
Projectplace’s Kanban board is underpinned by social features to keep users engaged, with conversation chains, feedback features and activity steams. Bringing social features into the board means that teams and project managers can work together to ensure projects flow smoothly, encouraging self-organization and independent decision-making.
So what are you waiting for? If you want to consolidate your projects, get your team working better together and experience a moment of serenity. Try online collaboration, you can start a free trial of Projectplace here.