Kanban! What is it? What is its significance in life of a project management professional?
In this article, you will get all the answers in the light of project management professionals’ experiences and recommendations.
Life of a project manager can be very hectic, if he is not smart enough to handle the workload and meet the deadlines. Automation of processes is a key which can lead to ultimate success of the project.
He may use variety of tools for betterment of processes, but he may need to adopt project management methodologies as well.
Kanban is actually one of the project management methodologies. Kanban is not a process framework.
You can say it’s a model through which you can introduce change by various iterations.
Kanban methodology suggests use of Kanban boards containing columns (States) from left to right.
In short, purpose of Kanban is to visualize work and monitor work in process.
Best responses from project management professional have been curated in this article as below:
Peter Ambrosy , Sr. Project manager at Atos Information Technology says:
Kanban Boards are part of Visual Project Management. If taken seriously,
it provides a great basis for the team (and also other stakeholders) to see the project progress and it supports communication.
Andrew Craig, Project Manager/Sr. Business Analyst Chubb says:
Within our team, we had discussed using a Kanban Board to help visualize our project queue – assisting with a simpler overview of where each sits, modify prioritization, and resource allocation.
But thinking at the organization level, Sergio brings up an important point. Tools cannot just be implemented without a proper process. Change is very difficult for employees, so it is important to do the work up front to help ensure the move is right for the organization.
Kiron Bondale, Sr, Consultant World Class Productivity, Ontario, Canada Says
Two benefits of proper use of Kanban boards are:
a. They provide quick, visual understanding of work progress which can reduce effort for communicating status updates and increase transparency.
b. Setting work in process limits ensures that wasteful inventory is not built up and that continuous flow is maintained. These limits need to be monitored and adjusted based on the productivity and capacity assigned to each stage of the workflow.
Kanban boards can be used with any type of project life-cycle – while they are popular on projects following an agile delivery approach, nothing prevents their usage on more predictive projects.
Niclas Klintfalt, PM Consultant, Sweden says:
Kanban board (whiteboard or paper) close to the team. The team then updates it with “Post-it”. Very visual and easy for interested Managers to see progression. When project reports arrives to them, they already know part of the Project Progression.
Stéphane Parent, Sr. Project Manager, MAXIMUS, Prince Edward Island, Canada Says:
I find Kanban boards are great for managing your work flows. Given a certain amount of resources, you can easily see you what capacity remains for additional work.
Eric Ebert, worker in marketing and communications, Zenkit says:
Kanban is a visual indicator of each step of a process. With a quick glance, you can see where your tasks are and where your project bottlenecks are. This allows you and your team to be able to quickly adjust to changes in a project.
For some projects, this flexibility is great. The free flow of information and the ability to focus on a single task can help productivity.
But like Chuck Cobb said, you should find a blend of traditional plan-driven and Agile practices.
For more on Kanban: https://techbeacon.com/why-you-s…
(Full disclosure: I work with the developers of Zenkit, a software that has Kanban)
Symantha Gates, technical project manager at Scribe says:
Kanban can be used well when teams are fairly even stacked – very evenly skilled engineers, for example. The premise is that everyone, and anyone, can work a story on the board. The highest priority story gets worked on first. This is probably effective in shops that has steady stream of work, evenly stacked engineers and some throughput/velocity. At its worst, it’s a pile of stuff that needs to be done and is used as a kind of arbitrage system to dole out stories.
To me it’s another tool in the project management toolkit. I’m not sure it has a particular significance.
Chuck Cobb, Agile Project Manager,Author and instructor says:
Kanban boards are commonly used to manage flow in a project.
In a traditional plan-driven project, there is typically an emphasis on structure rather than flow using tools such as Work Breakdown Structures, Gantt Charts, Pert Charts, etc.
In an Agile project, there is typically a much higher level of uncertainty and flow is much more important than structure.
Project Managers need to learn how to blend Agile and traditional plan-driven project management principles and practices in the right proportions to fit a given situation based on the nature of the project rather than force-fitting all projects to a traditional plan-driven approach.
Tools and techniques which help in Viewing Kanban Boards may save a lot of time. TaskQue provides you interface to visualize your workflows and project performance on a Kanban Board as shown below:
You can sign up on TaskQue for Free. It will let you enter in a world full of features for making Project Manager’s life easy.
In the light of above statements, it can be concluded that:
- Kanban boards help in visualizing project’s progress.
- Kanban helps in reducing stress of communication for updates and helps in increasing transparency as well.
- They are helpful in a way that when project managers see project reports, they already have an idea of it.
- They help a lot in managing workflows.
- It’s a visual indicator which gives you a quick idea about bottlenecks. It helps in rapid change management as well.
The above conclusion is in the light of project managers who participated in this survey. If you want to add a value about this topic, you can give your valuable opinion in the comments section.