Kanban is now widely used in IT for Agile Software Management. The method helps teams communicate transparently and manage information. In addition, the associated teams are organized autonomously in their work, which often makes Agile project management more efficient for Kanban. For these reasons in particular, it has long since become a popular method in change management.

Origin

Kanban originally came from the automotive industry, but can easily be transferred to other industries. The term translates to the meaning “visual map/panel” (“kan” stands for “visualization” and “ban” for map or board). It is native to Japanese and was developed by Toyota. It has long since recognized the power of illustrating tasks to work more effectively. In this case, maps with project steps at any time indicate the need for tasks that are still to be performed. This allows the teams themselves, but also across departments, to communicate better. For example, information can be easily exchanged with neighbouring areas such as development or production.

Functioning

But Kanban is much more than just using maps to visualize current needs. It also enables a continuous Worfklow which is explicitly based on the respective needs. As the basis for cross-departmental cooperation with increased transparency and communication, as well as the planning of tasks and the optimization of processes, a project can be divided into several building blocks from different tasks. This ultimately closes the circle by visualizing the tasks for all team members using a kanbanboard.

Kanbanboard

The kanbanboard serves as a collection point for all tasks, process steps and sub-elements. Simplified, it can be divided into the three categories “TO DO”, “IN PROGRESS” and “DONE”.

However, the kanbanboard can also be made more complex by adding more categories. For example, tasks whose processing time is uncertain can also be included. However, categories such as additional, unplanned development steps or testing are often integrated.

After the design of the kanbanboard, the cards with the individual tasks can then be moved forward on the board depending on the processing status. The individual members of the project team are free to choose the cards they want to complete. At the same time, they can also work together on the processing of substeps. Kanban thus requires a high degree of initiative and responsibility as well as an autonomous organization in the team for a successful success.

Conclusion on Kanban

Kanban is a good way for many companies to ensure greater transparency in the way teams work and improve the work. But the open method is nciht suitable for any team. Despite its easy implementation, it can only work if there is a need for cross-departmental cooperation and if the individual work steps of a project can really be divided into subtasks. In addition, Kanban calls for good time management so that deadlines can actually be met. However, if this is the case, Kanban can be used in many areas and situations and has great potential for improvement for agile project management.

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I blog about the impact of digitalization on our working environment. For this purpose, I present content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday work. I am a manager in an SME myself and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the chair of IT Management.

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