Bottlenecks are the reason why your projects are costly and slow. Learn how to find and resolve process bottlenecks to establish a smooth, predictable flow.
When was the last time your team delivered a product on time? That is without a delay or any overtime effort from certain members.
Process bottlenecks are among the reasons why projects get delayed, budgets burst from the added cost of delays, and the whole process becomes unpredictable.
Instead of fighting the symptoms, all that a manager needs is a simple bottleneck analysis and a set of prevention measures to save the day.
In this article, you will learn how to use Kanban and Lean to identify and analyze process bottlenecks to establish a predictable flow and put you in control.
In the simplest definition, a process bottleneck is a work stage that gets more work requests than it can process at its maximum throughput capacity. That causes an interruption to the flow of work and delays across the production process.
In other words, even if this work stage operates at its maximum capacity, it still can’t process all of the work items quick enough to push them to the next stages without causing a delay.
The workflow bottleneck can be a computer, a person, a department, or a whole work stage. Typical examples of bottlenecks in knowledge work are software testing and quality review processes.
Unfortunately, a bottleneck is often acknowledged only after it has caused a blockage in the workflow.
There are simple yet effective analysis tools in Lean Management and Kanban that can help you both prevent work congestion and spot an existing bottleneck.
If you see that your workflow is unpredictable and operates in bursts, you have a bottleneck somewhere instead of a smooth flow.
The real issue lies in pinpointing it and setting an appropriate countermeasure. In Lean Management, to detect a bottleneck, you can use several Kanban bottleneck analysis tools.
At times, you can easily resolve the bottleneck by allocating more resources or people to that work stage or process. That could mean hiring one more QA tester for the sake of more streamlined production flow.
However, what if the bottleneck requires a particularly scarce resource or hard-to-find expertise? In some cases, the cost of the solution to the bottleneck can be too high.
Leaving a bottleneck untreated will always cost you more than resolving it.
What should you do next then?
The key to a healthy and productive Flow is the absolute minimum interruption to the process. The work has to stream through it freely powered by the Pull power.
Following the Lean management concept of continuous improvement, bottleneck analysis should also be an ongoing process.
After all, in the modern ever-changing markets, every time the relative balance in the production system is disturbed, you will need to review the workflow to see if any new congestions occurred and what needs to be done to reduce their effect.
Get your work under control with Kanban workflows and Lean bottleneck analysis tools to reach an unprecedented level of flow predictability.
If your team is permanently stressed, delivery dates are consistently missed, and work items never truly flow, you might want to perform a bottleneck analysis. Luckily, in combination with Kanban tools, Lean management empowers you to discover and resolve bottlenecks quickly.
Start your free trial now and get access to all Kanbanize features.
During the 14-day trial period you can invite your team and test the application in a production-like enviroment.