Kanban is a project management method that is considered as one of the methods of Lean manufacturing. In simple words, it can be defined as a system which used for managing the workflow of a project.
This is a very effective method for managing projects and has great potential in bringing out an exceptional change in the way projects are managed and executed. A regular project management requires certain steps to be followed with certain prescribed time lines and deadlines. However, in Kanban, these time lines are not fixed or pre-decided and they can be changed as per requirement.
In many cases we have seen that certain tasks get stuck at some point and no further progress is made. This leads to a delay in completion of the project on time and this means that the client's need remains unfulfilled even after expending huge amount of money. But using Kanban methodology will ensure that there are no such delays and bottlenecks.
Finclock has introduced a Kanban Board in project management system specifically for Project Management. The software is an online tool that allows you to visualize your work in a variety of ways and focus on what is most important at any given time. Finclock allows you to create multiple boards for different projects, allowing you to separate the tasks and focus on each individual project separately.
A Kanban board consists of four columns, these are:
- To Do – Tasks that have not started yet.
- Doing – Tasks that are currently being worked on.
- In Progress – Tasks that are currently being worked on by a member of the team.
- Taken Away – Tasks that have been completed and if needed will be delegated again to another team member.
All tasks that are entered into the board start off in column 1 (To Do). As tasks are completed they are dragged across to the next column (Doing). When all tasks in a column have been completed they are moved across to the next column (In Progress)
Benefits of Kanban in project management
Kanban has been used with great success in a number of projects. It can be applied in a wide variety of environments, where the project is not necessarily software-based. Its principles can be adopted for a wide range of applications, including business management and even personal use.
Defining WIP (work in progress) limits is a key element to the application of Kanban. Limiting the amount of work that is being worked on at any given time will make it easier to schedule work, establish priorities and optimize workflow. In addition, it makes it easier to spot bottlenecks, which are often the main cause for delays in delivery and poor quality. Establishing these limits requires having an accurate workload forecast as well as a clear understanding of the capacity available for each task type in order to avoid overloading the team or creating bottlenecks.
Creating a visual system to represent work items along with their progress provides insights that otherwise would not be visible without the ability to track progress and identify bottlenecks visually. Work items should be represented by swimlanes (in Scrum terminology) or columns (in Kanban terminology).
Kanban in project management system also makes it possible to easily visualize how urgent tasks are because they are located at eye level: Tasks within a process are represented as cards on a three-column kanban board or as entries in a kanban software tool. The columns represent the workflow states "to do," "in progress" and "done." Cards move from left to right across the columns in a first-in, first-out (FIFO) manner. Completed tasks are placed into a specified archive area for future reference.
New cards are created when user defines new tasks or when existing tasks change status. Typically, this means that new cards are added automatically to the leftmost column at the end of each process cycle. Cards must be manually moved through the workflow state columns by users.