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What is Kanban? This is the question many entrepreneurs asked themselves right before achieving great success for their business. This Agile Management method has its origin in Japan and it works with visual (Kan) signalling (Ban) on a board that shows the existing workflow in a project. Like so, everybody can check its current status at a glance.
The Kanban technique technique allows the company to efficiently deal with the workflow, and that is why it’s becoming more and more popular among the business community. Its motto is “Stop starting, start finishing”, a mantra to improve efficiency and the capacity of prioritising tasks. The whole team will be involved in the process since they all will be able to know the real phase the project is in and to face any eventuality.
“Stop starting, start finishing” is the Kanban motto
What should you consider when implementing Kanban in your company?
Of course, the Kanban methodology has a recipe to follow step by step if you want to make the most out of it. Here you’ll find some essentials you’ll have to keep in mind:
- Train your team on Kanban, it takes time!
First of all, buy a board and place it somewhere accessible! This way, the team will be able to adapt to this new system asap. Do not forget to explain Kanban very carefully to everybody, highlighting its benefits. We know changes may be difficult sometimes, but they are for the best!
Remember, keep it simple! The Kanban board will only display three columns: “to-do”, “ongoing” and “done”.
- Visualize workflow
According to the Kanban method, each task will go through the same three stages. Kanban encourages you to actually put them on paper to hang on the board and physically move the sticky notes when a task changes its state. Each note represents and element to work on.
- Set up meetings from time to time
Giving and receiving feedback from the team will always be helpful, so set up meetings from time to time so the project can move forward properly.
- Apply Work-in- Progress limits
We are sure you think this is obvious, but don’t tell us you aren’t a bit workaholic! WIP limits are key to Kanban. Working on two different tasks at once means your mindset has to change every five minutes from one thing to another… and that is not efficient at all! WIP limits help to keep the work pace stable, avoiding multitasking. Focus on your thing and forget the rest for now!
Don’t forget to check out our latest article on work efficiency if you need some extra advice!
Will Kanban work in your company?
Although the Kanban method is applicable to companies of every kind, results won’t necessarily be the same. There are some productive processes this method is specially thought for. Here you’ll find some examples so you can weight up whether your company is among the best matches or not:
- The organizational structure of your company is clear and structured by tasks. A functional organized company would be a great example.
- The demand for your products or services is predictable, meaning that sales are stable.
- Yours is not a varied catalogue of products and services.
- Material flow is clear and well defined.
- Production processes are uniform and, again, with no significative variation.
- Your suppliers are trustworthy and delivery times are met.
Kanban methodology: pros and cons
Whether you are a libra or not, making decisions like this must come after drawing a pros and cons list. Let’s make one for Kanban as well! Find here some benefits and disadvantages of this Kanban methodology.
- Stable and well-organized workflow.
- Always meeting your deadlines.
- All the info at a glance.
- Avoiding accumulated workload
- It is a limited method and some employees may be left unoccupied because of it.
- Its effectiveness won’t be the same in different projects.
- It won’t allow your company to anticipate unexpected changes.
Lean Management and Kanban methodology
One sec… what does Lean mean, then? We could say Lean Management is the second step after implementing Kanban. Its main goal is to optimise and speed-up mechanisms, erasing everything that won’t add value to the final product.
Thus, combining both Kanban and Lean will help your company losing what we call wastes, and improving the product’s quality. Once tasks are well organized and everything that doesn’t quite work is clear, it will be easier to identify and eliminate those wastes.
I you want to know a bit more about this Lean Methodology, click here to an article we found very interesting! Do not miss it!
Lean Management is the next step to take after implementing Kanban. Its main goal is to optimise and speed-up processes, erasing elements that just won’t add value to the final product.
Have you made up your mind yet? If you finally decide to bring Kanban on board, we hope it meets you and your team’s expectations. Best of luck!
“It’s not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: what are we busy about?”
Henry David Thoreau