The Kanban approach is now used in virtually every environment, especially now that digital Kanban boards and platforms have become very popular. The tools you can now use to organize tasks into Kanban cards are also more advanced than ever.
Kanbanize, one of the leading lean project management solutions, now offers a wealth of features with its digital Kanban board platform. You can have an initiative with multiple boards, customized boards designed for specific parts of the project, and even cards with plenty of details.
Switching to the Kanban method, however, is only the beginning. To really benefit from it and the use of digital Kanban boards, you have to know how to push the approach to the limit. The tips and tricks we are about to discuss in this article will help you do just that without a problem.
One of the things we really love about Kanbanize is the ability to create dependent tasks across multiple boards. Let’s say you are working on an app development project and you have separate teams handling different parts of the projects like UI/UX design and development. You know that some parts of the project rely on the others to continue.
This is where dependencies come in handy. The front-end developers, for instance, can mark their development task as “Waiting” to show dependency. When the UI designers finish the design for the app, the developers can then use the output of that process and begin working on creating a usable user interface.
As a project manager, you have a bird’s-eye view of the situation. You know which tasks depend on other tasks and whether those dependencies are affecting the flow of the entire project. It is also easier to calculate the time required to complete parts of the project when you take dependencies into account.
Lean Project Estimation
Speaking of calculating time required to complete tasks, the use of a digital Kanban board also enables you to make accurate estimates before the project even starts. Once again, Kanbanize adds this feature as part of its tools so that you can be more meticulous when assigning timeframes and determining the length of the project.
The method for calculating estimates is known as the Monte Carlo simulation. What is a Monte Carlo simulation? It is basically a process of calculating decisions in a project that takes into account risks and other factors, including data from past workflows and tasks. You can measure throughput and analyze cycles accurately with this method.
In a project management environment, what is a Monte Carlo simulation useful for? A lot, actually. You can, for example, calculate accurately the time you will need to complete a certain number of tasks. You can also simulate throughput and cycle time based on predefined parameters, allowing you to organize tasks based on your team’s actual capacity.
Design the Board for Specific Requirements
The basic Kanban board is useful for managing a wide range of tasks. The standard Planning – Doing – Done structure is handy indeed, especially since the majority of workflows and processes rely on this 3-step approach for management. After all, every task has to go through these three stages before they are successfully delivered.
However, sticking with the three-step approach isn’t always the best way to go. While you can still manage your project with this design, there are better Kanban board designs you can use to gather more insights and maintain more control over the tasks. Using the previous example, the board for UI/UX design can be structured differently than the board for content creation for the app.
This means you have complete freedom to define your own stages. A UX design process can have research, in progress, done as the stages, with each stage divided into more detailed steps. Content creation, on the other hand, can benefit from vertical levels more than the horizontal stages. Once again, it is up to you to design the board for specific requirements.
Tools like Kanbanize let you add more dimensions to how you use the Kanban method. Rather than having a two-dimensional board for every project, you can define a portfolio and have multiple projects inside it; yes, you can have multiple portfolios with different designs too. Each project can then have detailed tasks assigned to different people.
The multi-dimensional approach makes digital Kanban boards suitable for wide use. The method can now be used to manage different departments within an organization. The same multi-dimensional approach can also be used to structure different projects, create dependencies between them, and improve flow in general.
This approach, and the improved flow it brings, now comes with an added benefit.
At the end of the day, the goal of using the Kanban method isn’t just for improving how you handle projects and tasks, but to find ways to improve workflows and processes in the long run. This is where advanced analytics become very useful. As mentioned before, you can perform analysis and review your team’s performance based on details recorded by the Kanban platform.
Based on the time required for a card to move from In Progress to Done, for instance, you can analyze the workflow for bottlenecks and potential problems. You also have the option to look into how each team member performed in the past; more specifically, you can monitor how team members handle different types of tasks assigned to them.
Improved analytics lead to another big advantage: improved predictability. When you have a lot of insights to work with, every decision you make become data-driven. As a result, you will end up with better, more accurate decisions, made with the state of your team and how projects are coming along taken into consideration.
Supercharge your projects by switching to a smart and digital Kanban board solution like Kanbanize. The wealth of tools you will have at your disposal – from the moment you make the switch – are well worth pursuing if you want every project you run to be effective and efficient. Your team members will love the clarity provided by digital Kanban boards as well.