A Brief Introduction to Kanban and How It Can Improve Company Productivity
Before we delve into the functional aspects of Kanban, it is important that we understand what it means first. Developed originally by Taiichi Ohno, Kanban can be defined as a visual system for managing workflow at various steps of the concerned process.
Often used in software development, the system is usually visualised as a pipeline where feature requirements are put into the pipeline from one end, and once the process (the metaphoric pipeline) finishes, the end software comes out from the other end.
Kanban workflow software involves visualizing the various steps of the work and the process as a whole to identify problems (referred to as bottlenecks) and solving them to keep the work flowing through the proverbial pipeline.
In simpler words, Kanban can be defined as a method to incrementally improve any process within a business to minimize down time and maximize productivity. While software development companies are the businesses that use virtual Kanban software the most, they are not the only ones that stand to benefit from adopting a Kanban software with metrics.
Operations, staffing, marketing, sales, recruitment, procurement and many other departments, as well as various businesses are adopting a Kanban Software Tool these days with impressive results.
The Kanban Software
The traditional Japanese method and the term itself literally means “billboard,” which makes sense because at its base form, Kanban involves the use of a board with multiple cards on it in numbered columns, where each card represents a step or a work item in the pipeline, while the number on each column is representative of the limit on that column.
Thanks to Kanbanize though, we no longer have to physically use a billboard and sticky notes, because given the scale of modern operations and workflow, it would require a lot of space, time and effort. Instead, the Kanban board software by Kanbanize emulates the physical billboard and its cards seamlessly.
Being one of the best Kanban software available today, it allows for visualisation of the dependencies and makes it possible to take a look at the entire workflow of a company process as a whole. As you get to see both the big picture and the various smaller steps in the process, identification of bottlenecks, finding solutions and predicting completion dates become a much easier and faster process with a Kanban tracking software like Kanbanize.
Understanding the Rules of the Kanban System
Now that we have a basic definition of what the Kanban system actually is, it is time to understand the simple rules that govern the system.
- On the board, there are multiple columns, each with a heading and a number
- Each heading represents the section of the process the column is dedicated to
- Each number indicates the maximum number of cards that can be put in that column
- The number limit helps to detect bottlenecks, as they become evident when the same cards stay in one column for too long
Advantages of Using an Advanced Kanban Software
As explained earlier, things have become too complicated and too streamlined to make use of the physical board and cards approach anymore, and that’s why we use software for Kanban nowadays. To know what we are talking about here, consider the following advantages that a flexible Kanban software like Kanbanize has over the classic whiteboard approach.
When you are using a whiteboard and notes, the system is accessible only at one site and at just one location, but anyone can access Kanban software online and from anywhere in the world. This means that software for Kanban makes it accessible from multiple sites at once, as long as there’s an active internet connection.
The very purpose of using a Kanban system is to speed up, streamline and improve processes; something that is made even more productive by the accessible nature of an online Kanban software. It doesn’t matter whether all the people in a project are sitting at the same office or not, they can always collaborate and communicate with each other through the Kanban board Software in real time to keep things updated and evolving.
A Much More Developed System
As an advanced Kanban software, Kanbanize doesn’t change any of the basic billboard concept that was brought forth in the 1940s, but improves the flow analytics immensely by offering detailed information about each card, column and progress in metric data.
Another huge advantage that an advanced Kanban software tool has over the traditional system is that the software can be programmed to automate many of the processes and dependencies in the system, which further speeds up the entire project and makes it more accurate.
What Should You Look for in the Best Kanban Software Tools?
There are a few options out there, but how do you know which Kanban Software tools are actually good? Well, for starters, you need to look for the following features which are shared by all the best Kanban software tools like Kanbanize:
- Option for work assignment to multiple employees within a team
- Simultaneous support for multiple boards and teams
- Option for setting work-in-progress (WIP) limits
- Intuitive collaboration features
- Compatibility with other essential company software systems that are already in place
- Availability of mobile application for ease of collaboration, accessibility and portability
- Variety of options for card and board customizations
- Availability of metrics and analytical data
- Option to automate processes, interactions and dependencies
Always check for compatibility with your existing software systems before committing to a software for Kanban or it could become a real problem later.
One of the fundamental concepts that has driven the human civilisation so far is the constant effort to streamline, improve and maximise effort.
Most major inventions in society were made to minimise input and maximise output, which is precisely what a Kanban Software with metrics data aims to achieve for an organisation.
The visual representation of the progress and the problems in the path of that progress, alongside the accumulated data helps businesses maximise their efforts and increase productivity