Success of any company directly depends on the methods and tools it uses. When managers have a powerful method and a reliable team, they have increased chances to get great deliveries. This is all about Kanban – one of the most popular Agile management approach.
Kanban represents a visual way to create, track, and manage tasks and workflows, engaging a special board with columns and cards. These cards contain tasks, and the columns organize the tasks by their progress or current stage in development.
The fans of Kanban may address their thank-you vibes to a Japanese manufacturing plant where the method was born. In plants, Kanban boards and cards served as visual depictions of various parts and processes. They contained the text describing the part, a picture of the part, and additional info.
There is a strong belief that Kanban boards are applicable predominantly to software companies and startups. If you think that a Kanban board is the tool for developers, then it’s time to face the reality that shows that more and more companies today apply Kanban-like boards to manage their internal and external processes.
The method itself allows achieving full top-down transparency, managing multiple projects, and connecting all your plans with execution.
How Kanban became digital
Kanban boards moved from the manufactures and plants to offices in 2004. It was related to Microsoft’s efforts about applying the Kanban concept to software development. In 2010, David J Anderson presented a Kanban Method, continuing to develop it to software and service delivery.
Nowadays applying the concept looks much simpler and more accessible than Anderson might have imagined it could be. Kanban is widely used all over the world. You may find the appliance of Kanban board examples in various industries and in companies of all sizes and philosophies. Now we are going to describe the cases of the most popular spheres, where the popular Agile method can be used – IT sector, healthcare, construction, and education.
So, we’ll not waste your time and will dive into details right away.
Kanban Boards and Project Management
Effective companies must take advantage of the massive audience and propose effective and compatible solutions. Many departments and line managers can no longer imagine their activities without convenient Kanban boards. For example, project managers.
Project management is a streamlined process of managing online projects from their concept to completion. Today the adoption of professional project management tools is gradually changing. Some years ago, the percentage of companies using spreadsheets for managing their projects dropped from 74% to 67%. A large number of companies businesses have successfully moved to online Kanban board software.
Any project requires budget and resources and involves planning, monitoring, delegating, reviewing, and measuring results. Regardless of industry and application, all these are done better with Kanban-like online management software.
Kanban boards for software development 💻
The era of digital transformation forces more and more managers and specialists of the IT sector to throw-away pens, papers, and whiteboards and equip their digital workplaces with the latest tools and frameworks.
Every software development project has its own goal, but the key objective is to grow business and get valuable ROI. IT projects constantly evolve as customer behavior and technologies evolve as well. The software development world requires delivering projects online where companies and brands interact directly with customers.
Kanban boards allow combining two different workflows and placing them on the same spot. Project managers and developers get a quick overview of the whole process sequence and they don’t need to jump between boards and lose time connecting the data, because it is all in one place.
Kanban boards for construction 🔨
Construction is a complex sphere that has strong authority and weight in the modern business world. The key goal of any construction project is to provide customers with total satisfaction for a viable project in terms of its budget and functionality.
Online Kanban boards assist construction project managers to keep their projects moving according to a plan. The boards allow them to finish all the tasks on schedule and within budget, meeting defined plans, building codes, and specs.
For example, here’re typical stages of a project in the construction sphere:
- Initiation, where the project manager evaluates the business case to define if the project is relevant and feasible.
- Planning that includes writing a project roadmap for all parties involved.
- Execution – starting the work when the manager organizes a kickoff meeting and the team begins the work of assigning resources, implementing plans, tracking systems, completing tasks, etc.
- Performance tracking that may happen concurrently with the execution phase. It is aimed to measure progress and performance.
- Project closure when the project manager holds the final meeting to discuss what parts of the project did and didn’t meet the goals.
Kanban Boards for Healthcare 🩺
Healthcare project managers deal with various projects within a healthcare organization. Their responsibilities include scheduling departments’ work, securing medical supplies from vendors, managing an addition to a hospital, planning an increase in emergency response rate, budgeting, and many more issues. The healthcare project manager also manages a team and delegates tasks, tracking their progress, and trying to stay on schedule.
One of the most important parts of their work is communication. They have constant deadlines and manage more than one project at a time. Their typical project may also contain such essential stages as initiation, planning, executing with monitoring, and project closure. Handy Kanban boards provide healthcare managers with a chance to gain a more comprehensive point of view of their affairs. Kanban task boards can be based on the team’s progress and ensure efficient diffusion of information relevant to the entire team.
Kanban Boards for Education 🎓
Educational projects require constant communication between professors, teachers, students, and other involved participants. It is not only about writing schedules but also about anything from lesson and curriculum planning, to working on a new building or campus.
A virtual Kanban board in educational project management helps to overcome problems with organization, communication, and task tracking. It is the best-advanced alternative for sticky notes and sketches on a whiteboard.
Friendly workflows help teachers to brake courses down into single lectures and track all program contributions. Therefore, students may get a transparent breakdown of all their assignments for every lecture.
If you represent another industry and your team is completely new to Kanban boards, it worth starting with the basics before delving into the more mature Kanban concepts.
Make sure your team members have a solid understanding of the method’s principles – respect for people and continuous improvement. Help them understand all the elements of a board and how they will enable them to improve their workflows. Explore Swimlanes and Work in Progress (WIP) limits all together and help prevent your colleagues from feeling overwhelmed. Try any powerful Kanban-focused tool such as Hygger, Trello, JIRA or ZenHub.
Once a basement is established, the Kanban board examples described above will be helpful for the overall discussion. Over time, your team will be advanced in analyzing and refining the process.