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Kanban Project Management

Sanya Malhotra| Project Management | 8 months, 1 week

Kanban project management is one of the leading product management methodologies which companies of all sizes used internally for various projects. Kanban essentially helps you manage the flow of Ad-Hoc task as your team drives towards certain objective. Project management since the beginning has been marred by executional inefficiencies despite having strong strategic outlines and guidelines. Kanban offers a great solution for complex project management in small to large teams.


So it is how you get things done that really defines the end outcome of your productivity and kanban serves a great way to manage tasks in a project. Kanban board originated from Toyota's just in time production system which basically means do what is needed when it is needed and exactly in the amount which it is needed. The core principles around which kanban is built focuses on elimination of wasteful work and unreasonable requirement at the same time making process highly efficient and teams extremely productive. 


If you deploy kanban process while managing your project, you will realise that the work gets highly visual and everybody on the team will be on the same page and know exactly who is doing what and at what time. The core tenet of kanban project management system is that you focus on one thing at a time. This shift in thinking improves productivity massively all across the team and helps to deliver projects on time. 


Let's take a look at some of the core advantages that kanban work management system offers :


1. It allows you to do work in a highly focus manner 

2. Kanban can be applied to different industries and different type of projects whether it is automobile manufacturing or software product development 

3. The complex work gets divided into smaller and manageable task which can be done delegated two different members of the team 
Kanban is highly customisable and can adjust according to the specific workflow that you follow 


Toyota had applied kanban system for factory floor where its essential goal was to align the inventory levels of the factory to the actual consumption level of the materials. The kanban cards were used by workers to specify exact requirements in real time and they were posted on a board. So the workers demanded only the material which was required at that particular instant of time from the suppliers. This just in time manufacturing process helped produced waste heavily and at the same time increase productivity massively for Toyota 


The same principles of just in time development for kanban falls under Agile Software Development methodology. This helps Software teams to plan flexibly, to improve the output ,to have a clear focus and it builds transparency all across the stakeholders. Although kanban process can be applied to any particular industry but software development teams have found it extremely useful in context of the Agile methodology. 


The work for kanban teams focuses around a kanban board which is a tool used to visualise the work by means of kanban cards and also defines the process flow which will be followed by the team. Kanban board can be a physical board but nowadays software development teams prefer digital versions of kanban boards to easily have work traceability, collaboration and to use it across different locations. Kanban board essentially have three columns at the very basic level which are To do, In Progress and done. The idea of having a kanban board is to standardise the workflow process which is being followed by the team and to identify any blockers and dependencies which arise while working. Kanban board should be dealt like a single source of truth for the entire team in the stakeholders. 

Kanban board has something called kanban cards which represents a unit of work. Kanban cards allow teams to visualise the work item in a very intuitive way. Kanban card in Japanese simply means visual signal. A kanban card features all the relevant information regarding that particular work item such as who the task is assigned to, what is the title of the task, summary of the task, different subtasks in that particular task, what is the priority of the task, what is the time required for that particular task,. In a typical kanban flow these kanban cards are moved from left to right as the work progresses, creating a very clear pattern of progress of work project which everyone in the project management team, stakeholders and people who are doing it can see. 

Although Kanban can be applied to different industries, but it is particularly suited for certain industries such as software development, lawyers looking for ways to keep track of their cases, sales people who are trying to convert leads from the top of the funnel to Sales conversion,  students who are doing home assignments and different projects, human resources teams who are tracking applications at different life cycles of engagement etc. 

So Kanban is a great project management methodology which you can surely implement to get productivity gains across your team.

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