Kanban has been the methodology of choice in many situations. As more companies and organizations streamline their operations and try to be leaner in order to stay competitive in a fierce market, Kanban, as an approach and a mindset, makes more sense. The visual nature of Kanban also helps bring flexibility.
The implementation of Kanban is further amplified by the cloud-based solutions we now have at our disposal. Whether you are managing a small team of digital marketers or an entire business, being able to put your processes in virtual form and in the cloud brings a long list of advantages you don’t want to miss.
One of the first advantages you will notice when using Kanban to manage workflows is flexibility. While the basic version of Kanban consists of three stages on the Kanban board, online Kanban software allows you to customize everything. You can have as many sections as needed by the process. Some online Kanban tools even allow you to divide each stage into micro-phases for better and more detailed tracking.
Kanbanize, the leading web application for Kanban, has an interesting way of making sure you benefit from the flexibility of this method. It allows you to use portfolio Kanban to help manage multiple levels and hierarchical work. This means you can have dependent tasks transferred from one department to the next.
The flexibility of Kanban can also be seen in the way that it is designed to be transparent. Every member of the team can get a clear view of the tasks in hand. They can offer help with other tasks once their own are completed. The bird’s-eye view allows leaders to be more flexible with how resources and tasks are assigned, all for the purpose of achieving maximum efficiency.
It’s for Everyone
Kanban is traditionally implemented as a way to manage processes in an organization or a team, but that doesn’t mean you cannot use the approach to be more productive. In fact, solutions providers are starting to offer personal Kanban boards and better productivity tools.
Sticking with Kanbanize as an example, you can now use Flow-E – the company’s personal Kanban suite – to be more productive with not just tasks, but also emails and communications in general. The suite integrates well with Gmail and Office 365, and it allows you to manage tasks as fluidly as you would in a team.
Emails can be marked as requests and the tasks in them are automatically added to the To-Do or Requested side of your Kanban board. You can then work on the tasks in hand and continue to update every card on the board as you go along. The result is not only a productivity suite that gives you that bigger view of things, but also one that makes emails and communications better. You no longer have to search through your inbox again and again just to be extra certain that you have completed all requests. It even integrates with your calendar and to-do list.
In a business setting, using a personal Kanban board alongside the business board means you can maintain better work-life balance. We all know how difficult it is to achieve the right balance, especially when you are the owner of a new startup or venture. Kanban is the tool to get you there.
Agility is a factor that gets tied to the use of Kanban very often. For many organizations, the main goal of using a Kanban board to manage tasks and projects is to be agile on the market. However, Kanban does more than create the right environment for maximum agility.
What it really does is allow the organization and the individuals in it to be more responsive. It allows team members and different parts of the organization to respond to business needs in a better and more efficient way. Let’s not forget that Kanban is designed to help members of a team work together to achieve mutual objectives. The added responsiveness allows for the organization to achieve its objectives faster.
In a market as volatile as today, responsiveness is an asset you need to have to succeed; it is clearly an essential trait to the survival of the business. With the tools offered by the best Kanban solutions, you can now go a step further and be quick in your responses to market changes.
Another major benefit that many Kanban users vouch for is continuous learning. Kanban, when implemented correctly, allows the processes to be monitored in great detail while maintaining that bird’s-eye view of everything. This unique combination of perspectives makes it easier for business owners and leaders to find more ways to learn and improve.
What many don’t always realize is how the Kanban method also helps the entire team learn in a managed, simultaneous way. Everyone can observe things from the same set of perspectives, which means all members of the team can learn at the same time.
The result is a feedback loop that will catapult the organization to a whole new height. Rather than relying on the owner of the business or the leaders of the organization, members of the team can work together in improving operational workflows and parts of the processes they interact with. More feedback means more insights, and that leads to even more learning for the entire organization.
Better Business Intelligence
Let’s not forget that an effective learning process brings a vast array of benefits on its own. Combined with the basic principles of Kanban and the best tools on the market right now, you can achieve so much in so little time. For example, the organization can learn more about each team member and how the team works together. These insights lead to better understanding of how to keep the business lean and efficient.
With the insights gathered, forecasts are easier to make; they are more accurate too. As a decision maker, you can rely on statistical data and insights gathered from past tasks and processes when it is time to allocate resources and make other big decisions. It is even possible to predict workloads and prepare for spikes in demand based on the data gathered by the Kanban board and system.
Returning to Kanbanize as an example, the online Kanban software actually has an interesting flow analysis tool that brings to the table improved predictability. When a new task is added and assigned, for instance, Kanbanize can look back at the insights it has gathered and predict cycle times and other details about the task, taking into account the team members handling the project and other factors.
Room for Automation
Automation is the way forward. Automation allows mundane tasks to be handled without manual input, which means mission-critical team members can direct their energy towards more important tasks. The use of cloud-based Kanban software brings automation to the methodology too.
Rather than creating tasks manually and adding cards to the board in a simple manner, you can now automate dependencies and create complex boards on the fly. A new task can be automatically created when a previous one reaches a certain point on the board. You even have the option to create business rules for better interactions between tasks and processes.
Kanban started life as a way to streamline Toyota’s manufacturing process, but it has grown into a tried and tested methodology empowered by cloud computing. These benefits are only the beginning; there are so much more you can gain from using Kanban in the cloud.