Physical Kanban boards are useful but lack flexibility for modern-day businesses. On the other hand, the digital Kanban board can be more efficient and productive in a knowledge work environment.
Is it time to upgrade your physical board to a digital Kanban board? Your team might have been successfully using physical boards based on Kanban for some time now, and you've been happy with them. However, the charm of a whiteboard with sticky notes has faded away quickly.
Should you switch to an online Kanban board? If yes, what is the best Kanban board online to go with? Furthermore, what are the benefits of the virtual Kanban board over a physical one? Answers here.
When it comes to Kanban, physical boards are a great solution for small teams working in the same office. However, some inconveniences may occur.
One of the first things you may notice could be that when many cards are accumulated, they get messy, and the board itself will become more difficult to maintain.
When the ‘Done’ column needs to be cleaned, cards usually get thrown away, and there is no possibility for tracking back in time. This would be problematic for larger projects with many related cards to them that take months to execute.
Another drawback emerges when you need to manage remote employees, freelancers, or consultants involved in the process.
Since they are unable to access the board, it may occur that two people are working on the same task without knowing. The time needed to communicate externally and the impossibility to apply WIP limits would harm the whole Kanban process.
On the other hand, using a digital Kanban board lets you apply WIP limits per column, swimlane, and even user.
Analyzing workflow indicators on a physical board is a difficult task compared to an online Kanban board. Cycle times can’t be easily compared with previous periods, affecting the idea of continuous improvement. If you are not writing down results consistently, it would become impossible to track each person’s personal cycle time.
As a result, sooner or later, many teams discover the need for an electronic Kanban board. Some make it an Excel file so that they could manage data more easily. Even though it is a slightly more convenient solution than a physical board, there is a better way.
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Kanban software solutions could really help you apply the method in a whole new way and develop it further. Kanban thrives in the digital world, and here is why.
The greatest benefit of using a Kanban board online is that all the information is stored in the same place. This is impossible to achieve with a physical one. Every description of a card or attached files will be stored and available to retrieve at any given moment without flooding the space.
If a card is created, moved, or completed, each action happens live on everyone’s boards without delays or someone having to synchronize anything. All the information for the different tasks is one click away, and there is no need for status reporting, which helps you reduce wasteful meetings.
Using a Kanban board online allows us to access them easily from any device with individual login credentials. This allows for tracking urgent situations even outside the physical office and synchronization of the team.
Physical boards create opportunities for cards to get lost. Moreover, if a team is working on a project containing sensitive data or confidential information, a physical board could not provide an adequate secrecy level.
On the contrary, Kanban online boards may have an option for role-based access, and each user could have specific rights and restrictions on the board. Most online solutions also have additional single sign-on and two-factor authentication to guarantee security even on an enterprise level.
Having a digital Kanban board will allow you to make a sophisticated analysis of the work process. There are some key metrics to track, which are invisible on a physical board. One of the most useful is the cumulative flow diagram, which allows you to track your process's stability.
A cycle time scatter plot and histograms will help you effectively measure cycle times. If you are interested in digging deeper into analytics, the predictive Monte Carlo simulations can even estimate when or how many work items your team will be able to deliver.
Another valuable advantage of having an Agile board online is that it is easy to integrate with other existing systems that are being used. The board can be integrated with email, so tasks could appear directly there instead of creating them manually. Consolidation with CRMs and other software tools can also save you a lot of time.
The possibility to automate processes is definitely worth exploring. A policy configured as if-this-then-that dependency can give you the freedom to choose the most useful combinations for you.
You can trigger reminders, make cards switch columns when a deadline approaches or when an email is received, block cards if a subtask is not finished, and much more. You can explore automation combinations in Kanbanize and determine which would be useful to translate to your process.
If your team has encountered some of the issues with a physical Kanban board, you now have a reason to switch to a digital solution, which is the online Kanban board. Try it. You won’t regret it.
The online Kanban board is a tool for mapping and visualizing your workflow and one of the key components of the Kanban method. Kanban online boards will help you:
During the 30-day trial period you can invite your team and test the application in a production-like enviroment.