Kanban Whiteboards

Let's not start another Kanban Board introduction with how Software Teams can accomplish a lot with Agile Management Kanban Boards! Yes, maybe Software Teams used Kanban Boards statistically more than other teams, just maybe, does not mean that Kanban Boards should have any association with only Software Teams. Remember, Kanban was first invented and used to improve manufacturing efficiency in early 1950s by Toyota, it had nothing to do with Software. That said, Kanban is a popular method and framework for teams and or individuals to implement development steps, iterate the design of process improvement, prioritize and monitor the whole development until closure of tasks. Moreover, one key ways for Kanban to increase productivity is to limit the work in progress, so not only it maximizes the efficiency but also improve the predictability on project timelines and outcomes.

The overall Kanban framework is formed around iterative improvements to a process or a product development! The principals of Kanban methodology entails to the following conceps overall! 

Spot Workflow Bottlenecks on your Kanban Whiteboard

pmxboard LLC

Visualize your workflow

The Kanban method does not encourage any rapid changes to your existing processes or development activities, but you can do it one step at a time. You apply Kanban directly to your workflow, so the small incremental modifications need to occur gradually and at a pace your team is comfortable with. You gather your tasks first in the backlog to help planning and prioritizing.

The first Kanban principle relates to the visualization of your work and projects. Kanban doesn't force you to prescribe the entire workflow you're currently using. It requires you to document all work items in a way that all team members can easily visualize. The board should display all tasks currently in backlog, in progress, or completed.

Depending on the complexity of your processes and tasks, your Kanban board can either be very simple or very elaborate. The visibility of your operations is extremely important when identifying areas where there's still a need for improvement. Most important is that it's clear for everybody how to visualize work and redesign it any time there are some hiccups.

Limit the work in progress

Kanban boards help move every task from one grouped activity to another in a very structured way. To avoid the accumulation of tasks and bottlenecks, you can set limits to work in progress (also known as WIP). The limits should be equal to what your team can perform in a specific time frame and ensure you identify the top priority tasks.

Limiting WIP and prioritizing them can encourage your team to complete the current task first before taking up a new one. If the work issues in one column exceed the limitations, you should be alerted about the amount of work one has taken on. Collaboratively decide which tasks should be postponed or paused, so your coworkers will not feel overwhelmed, and you will prevent their burnout.

Initially, limiting the WIP can be a challenge, especially if the team is just starting to use the Agile method. You do not know your limits unless it is tested, so, why don't you try to start with no limits? As Donald Reinertsen suggested during one of his Lean Kanban conferences, you can start with no limits, but you must monitor the work in progress as your team continues to use Kanban. Once you have adequate knowledge based on the feedbacks and the progress, you can set limits for each stage of the workflow and adapt small changes on iterative basis.

Constantly and continuously improve

Last but not least. Kanban is an evolutionary improvement process. With this method, you can gradually adopt small changes to your workflow at a pace that your entire team or organization can easily handle. It encourages you to try new ways of work and continuously enhance them if needed.

Each time you make a change on the Kanban board, you can observe and even measure the team's performance. You can also evaluate if the changes are helping you or not. After analyzing whether the execution of tasks improves or drops, you can decide whether to keep working that way or try something new with your teammates.


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Kanban Whiteboard

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Monday, 24 June 2024

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