A lot of startups and companies – departments and organizations – now use the Kanban method to manage projects and organize tasks. The method was first used by Toyota to streamline its manufacturing process, but it has since been developed into a truly robust project management approach. Everyone uses Kanban in some forms these days.
The use of online Kanban boards makes the whole approach even more robust. You can now set up and customize the board to better suit the need of your team. Using digital Kanban boards is also incredibly easy since you can add additional details – and even attach files – without daisy-chaining “Post-It” notes together.
If you use Kanban boards frequently, knowing how to make the most of the system can boost your efficiency level even further. That is why we are going to take a look at the best tips on mastering the Kanban board in this article.
Know the Design
The traditional Kanban board has three main stages for organizing Kanban tasks: to-do, doing, and done. These stages are flexible enough for most teams. After all, the Kanban tasks – represented by cards on the board – always go through these three stages before they are completed.
However, you can actually customize the design of your Kanban board freely. You are not limited to just three stages. In fact, you are not limited to horizontal classification. Kanbanize, for instance, lets you add vertical division or levels to further separate the Kanban tasks you need to handle.
The result is endless project management possibilities. You can customize the Kanban board to the specific needs of your team, whether it is for organizing an app development project or running a complex digital marketing campaign. You just have to design the Kanban board correctly.
The digital Kanban boards are also very popular because of their visual nature. Project managers and team members can always see the progress of the project being represented by the cards on the board. You can assess workloads and figure out how to better improve the process based on the visuals too.
Since visual cues work really well with the Kanban approach, using colors to separate different Kanban tasks is highly recommended. For example, you can divide tasks by their nature (i.e. video content, photos, articles, etc. in a content creation Kanban board) using different colors. Team members can immediately recognize the tasks they need to do based on those colors.
Colors can also be used to prioritize tasks.
Sort by Priority
Sorting is another fantastic feature to use when using digital Kanban boards like Kanbanize. You can add priority levels to the tasks in hand. You can also set deadlines for individual tasks, adding more details and making Kanban estimation possible.
To make it even better, you can now sort tasks based on different parameters, including based on priority levels. You also have the option to group tasks using the same parameters, which means you always have a clear view of your projects and tasks after a quick glance.
And yes, you can mark task priority levels using colored tags. With colors added, you immediately see tasks that need to be expedited and low-priority ones to postpone when you do have priority tasks to complete immediately. This makes using the board even easier, doesn’t it?
Evaluate and Tweak
Setting up the Kanban board is only the beginning. You should not fixate on the structure or design that you use from the beginning. Depending on how well the tasks are managed, you actually have the option to make changes to the board itself.
You can add more stages if necessary. In fact, you can divide a stage into several sub-stages so that you can track the progress of each task in a more detailed way. As an added bonus, you now have the ability to create levels vertically, all for the purpose of arranging tasks in a more seamless way.
Evaluate how team members use the Kanban board too. You’ll be surprised by the kind of insights you can get when you start taking use cases into account. Team members should have the ability to recommend changes that can improve how the Kanban board is used.
Learn to Spot Bottlenecks
Evaluating the board isn’t just good for optimizing the board itself. Regular evaluation of the board will also help you optimize how projects are handled; in other words, you can optimize workflows and processes based on what you see on the board.
When a task stays on the board (in a particular stage) for too long, you know that there is an issue with that task. When multiple Kanban tasks suffer the same fate, chances are you have an issue with the way those tasks are managed.
You may be looking at a bottleneck caused by team members (or the lack of them). It is also possible that the bottleneck is caused by the complexity of the tasks, in which case you want to divide them into smaller, more manageable chunks.
Connect Multiple Kanban Boards
A Kanban board is best used to represent a workflow or a project. The former is repetitive, while the latter is often one-way and linear. This is where it gets exciting. You can actually connect multiple Kanban boards and transfer cards from one to the other.
When you have multiple workflows that affect each other, for example, you can use multiple Kanban boards with interconnected stages. Since tools like Kanbanize also allow automation; you can streamline these workflows even more through the use of dependencies.
Tasks are automatically created when certain parameters are met. Team members can work in a more effective way since they don’t have to wait for those tasks to be manually created. The use of attachments and cloud storage optimizes this approach even further.
Mastering the Kanban board is easy. With these six tips and tricks in mind, you can use the Kanban board to your advantage. it will not be long before you start managing your projects like a pro.