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Kanban Board : Visualize Your Project Work and Workflow

Kanban Board : Visualize Your Project Work and Workflow

What is a simpler and far more effective way for project team members to visualize their project work and update it? The most common answers we hear is

  • Calendar
  • Email notifications
  • MS Excel / Spreadsheet
  • Gantt chart

To me, above list appears to be in the order of increasing difficulty & complexity to understand & update project activities (from team member’s perspective). We believe Kanban board is much easier technique for team members to visualize their own project work. Kanban board is indeed much simpler way to stay on top of your project activities. <>

What is Kanban Board?

For those who are not aware of Kanban board, let’s understand basics of Kanban Board?

A Kanban board is a work and workflow visualization technique that helps project manager optimize the flow of project work and helps team member visually understand project activities in different states.

Toyota Way – Lean Manufacturing

Lean Manufacturing and Kanban Board[1]

Kanban Board is not a new concept, people in manufacturing (especially automotive industry) have been using Kanban board for decades to align with lean manufacturing practice.

It began with Toyota Motors which started experimenting with lean manufacturing concept. Taiichi Ohno, industrial engineer at Toyota developed Kanban as lean manufacturing process to improve and maintain a high level of production.

Automotive Lean Manufacturing - Use of Kanban Board

In earlier days project planner would plan activities to perform on a white board and use sticky notes to identify/move activity. Obviously manually managing white board is not an efficient process in fact it would turn board management into a laborious process and counter-productive one. Having said these, new online Kanban board software provide awesome snapshot of current work situation, easy to manage/update cards in Kanban boards.

Online Kanban board not only enables us to clearly visualize project activities in a team environment but also simplifies communication and help us improve effectiveness of project execution.

Why Kanban Board Is So Trendy/Popular?

The answer lies in the Value Proposition Kanban board offers

  • Kanban board is the simplest tool to visualize work activities pending across different states
  • One can briefly glance through the Kanban board & immediately know status of project activities
  • It is far more easy to move cards from one state to another and update progress work progress

You know it already – you get so many emails every day. Tracking multi-project work activities using email is insane. If you are a project manager who believes Microsoft Excel is the best project management software, I wish you a good luck. But seriously, it is not the RIGHT project management, collaboration tool for you, your team or your management. Managing multiple versions of project activities using excel is hell of activities, not only for you but for your team members and customers.

And finally – Gantt chart is not best suited for everyone; especially team members; team members get overwhelmed with Gantt chart. It is not easy to identify your own activities among entire project’s timeline, color coded task bards, dependencies, milestones, % completion/ progress indicators within task bars, baseline, critical path, etc.

Look at the illustrative Kanban board below. It is quite visual, clear to know work/activities, assess load/overload in a specific state and manage work-load. Everything VISUAL, at one place and simple to understand/ take action.

Kanban Board

Image Source: [1]: SCMEP.Org


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Zilicus offers the best project portfolio management tool ZilicusPM, with robust project management tools capabilities and easy ways to track project management KPI,

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I am a co-founder of Zilicus Solution and I write about project management, collaboration, productivity, project management software, cloud computing, requirement management and business empowerment.

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