Whether you work remotely or in an office setting, organization is key. Digitization has made it incredibly easy to use more than your typical pen and notepad or paper planner. Applications like Trello, Asana, and Basecamp allow for users to keep track of current projects across a company through a constantly updated system.
Over two years ago, we started using Trello and Kanban boards to manage projects and collaborate on tasks as a team.
At the time, I didn’t fully understand the history of Kanban boards and the larger philosophy behind this process of optimizing workflow- I just came across it as an obvious example of how our Trello project management system could be organized. It intuitively made sense to me.
A Kanban board is a visualization tool that optimizes the flow of your work. I love using the Kanban board & card method because it inherently has client focus built in. The visual flow allows you to pull tasks from what your client needs “the ‘To Do’ list,”, show what needs to be done, what’s being worked on, and what needs review. This flow removes error and repetition in the process of completing a task or project. It also empowers team members to continuously improve processes, keep track of their own projects, cuts down on meeting time once used to provide “updates”, and makes following up on projects or asking for feedback a dream. If you want to get into the nitty gritty, you can read more about the principles and processes of the Kanban method here.
This Summer, everything came full circle for me and Kanban. I took formal lean process improvement training, and came to understand Kanban in more of a philosophical and historical context. In 1953 Toyota developed Kanban to improve manufacturing efficiency at their machine shop. Now it is widely adopted across industries and typically used in Agile project management to coordinate tasks in software project teams. Who knew!?
Kanban boards have been a simple and straight-forward way for us to manage our projects, however they are not for everyone! When looking for project management tools and methods, it is important to take into consideration your team culture, the type of work you are doing and your organizational philosophy in order to best assess the situation and plan which tools and method will work best for you.
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