Benefits of Practicing Kanban Project Management with a Digital Tool
Assuming that you already know how to apply Kanban in the context of project management, you should consider how to maximize the effect of the method. If you ever tried to run a flow on a physical Kanban board, you know that it is awesome at the beginning but becomes difficult to maintain in time.
Although physical boards are great for getting started with Kanban, they fail to meet the needs of advanced project teams that seek to push the boundaries of their efficiency. In case you haven’t realized the benefits of using digital Kanban boards over physical ones, here are a few specific examples in the context of project management:
- Kanban tools eliminate the need for status reports. This is possible with the help of 3 key components that are part of most of the available solutions: Kanban boards, search engine, and report mechanism. Kanban boards serve as an information radiator and make transparent every task that goes through the flow. Every Kanban platform is equipped with some sort of a search engine. It will allow you to find any information about assignments that are or were in the flow very quickly without having to bother your team members. In case you need to present data to stakeholders with no access to the tool, you just need to filter the information of interest and export it in a convenient format.
- Kanban project management tools apply WIP limits for you. The habit of multitasking dies surprisingly hard, especially if it’s not blocked constantly. By adopting a digital solution, you won’t have to enforce the limits on the work in progress manually and track whether your team complies with them. You just need to set up the desired limits and the system will either block any attempts of breaking them or notify you as soon as that happens.
- Kanban project management tools allow you to manage queue stages of your process easily. Queues are a major culprit that contributes to low team efficiency. Applying a Kanban project management tool will make it easier for you to keep them running. You can monitor the stability of your flow with the help of analytics like the cumulative flow diagram and restructure your project board with just a few clicks when needed.
How Do I Get Started with My Kanban Tool?
- 1.Choose the Right Kanban Project Layout
When you are considering to adopt a Kanban software, it is crucial to find one that fits your particular case. For example, whenever you get started in Kanbanize, you’ll be asked to specify what kind of project you intend to run. This way, the system will be able to help you set up the most appropriate type of Kanban project. You may choose between 2 different scenarios: Team Kanban and Portfolio Kanban
- 2.Customize Your Kanban Board
Selecting a layout will load a suggested project template that is designed to provide guidelines on how to structure your workflow. The templates are highly customizable and of course removable so that you can map your process in the most convenient way
For example, the portfolio template allows you to create a master board for tracking large assignments and as many team boards as you need. While you are setting up your boards, you can create cards on each of them and link the smaller tasks on the team board to the large assignments on the master board. The setup aims to show you how you can easily run complex projects without losing focus and keeping maximum transparency of the process.
- 3.Automate for Efficiency
When you are done setting up your workflow, you can automate routine tasks that are done mechanically by the team and don’t require much thought. This is possible with the help of the wide variety of runtime policies. It works on the “if-this-then-that” principle and allows you to set up automatic actions in your Kanban project management tool triggered by predefined occurrences.
This is a perfect way to illustrate the example of applying WIP limits. You can set up the automation to immediately block a card that violates the limit of a column and send a notification to the project manager.
Digital Kanban tools bring another serious benefit for project teams. They can be integrated with a great number of other software solutions that your team uses. This way, you can connect all of your tools and maximize their value.
- 4.Analyze & Improve
Finally, after your team has started using their Kanban project management tool, you can monitor their performance with the help of a wide variety of analytics that is at your disposal. With their help, you can observe the stability of your process, track the cycle time of assignments, and even project the future throughput of your team.
In conclusion, Kanban project management tools are a superior choice for advanced teams that wish to take their game to a new level. They provide more flexibility and transparency of the workflow. You can have a more transparent look at how your project is progressing toward completion and monitor performance with just a few clicks.