Kanban is famous for enabling teams to boost their process efficiency. We have witnessed cases achieving as much as 300% efficiency growth. Still, not every Kanban story has a happy ending. With all the good that the Kanban method can do, there were some limitations that have been troubling managers interested in it.
For example, it was difficult to have real-time visibility across multiple teams, break down and delegate work efficiently, and scale Kanban across the whole organization.
These problems were making it hard for managers to make the most of the method and achieve a 3-digit improvement of efficiency.
As you’ve probably guessed by the use of past tense, these problems are now in the past and in the following paragraphs, you will learn about the solution. But first, let’s look into the problems to understand their significance.
Problem 1. Limited Visibility Across Multiple Teams
The Kanban board is a great tool for visual management but as a leader in your company, you’ll likely need to keep an eye on what’s happening on multiple boards. This requires you to switch context and spend time investigating what’s going on with the projects that your teams work on.
It becomes even more troublesome when the team becomes experienced with Kanban and cards start moving at a quicker pace due to the improvement of flow efficiency that comes as a result.
Digital Kanban solutions made it easier to stay in the loop, but the problem was not completely solved. Although you could switch between boards with just a few clicks of your mouse, keeping an eye on the big picture was still difficult.
Problem 2. Work Breakdown and Delegation
Breaking down work and connecting it across multiple boards is another problem that has been bothering managers interested in Kanban. In the past, you had to decide how to break down the work, prepare the necessary cards and put them on the proper team boards. Also, there was the issue of connecting these cards to the big project that they are part of.
The typical solution was to create a portfolio board where large projects were visualized as Kanban cards. When there was progress on the team level, the manager had to manually update the status on their board, which required more context switching and distraction.
Problem 3. Scaling Kanban Across the Whole Organization
As a result of the problems we laid out so far, scaling Kanban across a whole organization has always been difficult. Especially without a coach to guide you through the process. This was among the major culprits that contributed to the belief that Kanban can’t be used properly beyond the team level.
Understanding the magnitude of these problems, we were determined to find a solution and support managers in changing their organizations for the better. That’s how the Management Workspace was born.
The Solution: Management Workspace by Kanbanize
The Management Workspace is the star of the latest product update in Kanbanize. It is a feature that allows you to achieve complete visibility across all of your boards and break down work in a seamless way so you can scale Kanban across your whole organization.
The Management Workspace provides a way to distribute and track work across multiple teams from a single place called “Management Board”. This way you can keep all the important information required to manage large projects efficiently without having to switch between boards.
To understand the power of this new addition to the platform, you must be familiar with the Initiatives Workflow that we introduced a while ago. If this is not the case, it is important to know that it allows you to dedicate a separate swimlane for big projects. You can connect small tasks to the large initiative, which gets updated automatically when there’s progress with the smaller cards.
The Management Workspace is a board consisting entirely of Initiatives Workflows. It is broken down into a couple of vertical sections. The first is an initiatives workflow, which is practically a swimlane where you visualize the projects you are responsible for and keep track of their progress. The second one is a section dedicated to the Initiatives Workflows of all related boards connected to the Management Workspace.
When applied, this workspace allows you to visualize your projects and start breaking them down on the team boards by just drag and dropping initiative cards on top of the related Initiatives Workflows.
As a result, new initiatives will be generated on the related boards and your team can proceed to continue breaking them down to individual tasks.
It is only just to illustrate this with an example. Let’s say that you are in charge of developing a new website for your company. You have to work with both development and marketing teams to complete the project.
In the Management Workspace, you create an initiative for that purpose and connect the boards of the above-mentioned teams. Then, you just take the initiative card and drop it on top of the development Initiatives Workflow. Inside the newly generated initiative for the team, you fill all the important information and proceed to repeat this for the marketing team without having to switch boards.
When the teams break down the work further, you will see all new cards linked to the initiatives of each team. Logically, when there’s progress, the status will be updated there as well and you will have complete visibility, again, without leaving the Management Workspace.
With this system in place, you have a central base of operations, which is applicable on every organizational level. This is what makes this so exciting. You can scale Kanban across your whole organization seamlessly and keep everybody in the loop from individual contributors to the company executives themselves.
If you are as eager to try this as our team was when we had the first chance of testing the Management Workspace, you can find out how to apply it from the dedicated tutorial that we prepared.
Have fun! 🙂