Visualizing the workflow is critical to the success of a team and is the most important aspect of the Kanban method. Arguably, the strongest reason is this immediately impacts a team is the transparency it makes possible.
With all work items visible on a shared board, everyone knows what’s to be done, who’s working on what task, and potentially – depending on the nature of the board – when certain items should be done.
Delivering work quickly and efficiently can be a challenge. For this, Kanban is a good alternative to help. After all, it’s a visual method for managing workflow at the individual, team, and even organizational levels.
In this article, you will learn how you can develop a workflow with the Kanban board. GitScrum has its own Kanban board and many other great features to help you organize your team’s workflow and productivity!
The advantages of Kanban in the process and work efficiency
What kind of benefits does it provide? How can we use it to bring more efficiency into the workflow? Below, we list the 6 main points:
1- Cost Reduction
With Kanban, all inputs allocated in the workflow are monitored. With this, we were able to reduce not only costs but also the idleness of the workforce.
2- Prioritized Tasks
Through the color system, Kanban can demonstrate exactly which tasks must be done and put in focus at that moment. Therefore, we were able to quickly reach the proposed goals.
3- Ease of information circulation
The Kanban board is easy to understand and view. Practically and quickly, the information is assimilated and passed on. This contributes to the cooperation being increasingly strengthened within the organization.
4- Increased Productivity
When tasks are prioritized and delegated to each responsible sector and enabled to deal with each one of them, the company’s productivity grows exponentially.
5- Primacy of Autonomy
The Kanban system allows information to flow quickly and dynamically. Thus, individuals have greater freedom and security to make decisions, without depending exclusively on their superiors.
6- Improved internal communication
And finally, a factor that unites all the other five reasons, which is communication between sectors. As with information, with Kanban, communication occurs with the necessary fluidity to adequately promote the balanced growth of the company.
Kanban promotes workflow organization
Another relevant point to be mentioned is that Kanban can be fully incorporated into the technology, including existing business and process management applications inspired by the methodology. However, we can also do the method in a simple Excel spreadsheet, reiterating its inherent simplicity.
Regarding conventional Kanban, we can see that the ease of storing information in the “cloud”, the quick ability to assign tasks and delivery dates, in addition to detailing the exact time each command is performed, are favorable points for Online Kanban, and that should not be ignored.
How to visualize your workflow?
A workflow is the typical sequence of steps that tasks or products go through from the beginning to the end of the work. From a more abstract point of view, a workflow is also the act of actual work items flowing through that sequence.
Humans process visual information much better than any other form of communication. In Kanban, visualizing the workflow means mapping the different work steps into columns on a Kanban board and tracking work items as they go through them.
You can visualize your process with just a few basic steps. You may be surprised, but even the simple act of naming all the steps in your process can reveal facts about your workflow that you didn’t know before.
Step 1: Identify the value stream
Value stream mapping is the process of identifying the value-adding steps a team or person takes to initiate and complete some work.
No matter the process, there will always be a list of activities that transform an item, document, or quantity of raw material into a product, performing actions that increase the value of the material.
The value stream brings clarity and produces high-level instructions, so you can more easily know which actions to focus on and which to minimize, as they have no value for the end customer and therefore do not increase your revenue and should be considered a waste.
Step 2: Identify the scope of work
Once you’ve determined your value stream, you need to decide which part of it you have control, you want to focus on and visualize on a kanban board. The value stream is your map, now you need to find and mark the path that travels the most on it.
A good choice would be the most repetitive parts of your value stream that involve specific groups of employees. The more specific and uniform the group of people involved in the scope of work considered, the simpler the management work.
Step 3: Map workflow steps to columns in a board
Once you’ve identified the value stream and its scope, it’s time to get things visual. Take a whiteboard – it could be a conventional whiteboard, a digital Kanban whiteboard, or just a space on your office wall.
Then divide it into columns – one column for each step of the workflow, from left to right. Write the name of each step at the top of the respective column. If you have separate teams or projects that perform the same process, split the board horizontally to introduce lanes.
Step 4: Define the types of work and what “done” means to them
After preparing the layout of your Kanban board, you need to define the types or classes of work items that will go through it.
Likewise, for the process steps where a transfer of work occurs – especially in the final step – define the conditions that each type of work must meet to be considered complete.
Once you’ve identified all of this, assign a color to each job type to visually differentiate it, and make sure the team knows what each color means and what your completed job definitions are.
Step 5: Choose a card template for each type of job
Then, for each type of job, you should decide what information is essential and should be on a card.
Kanban boards are highly visual and, apart from using colored cards, it is ideal to have different card templates for the various types of work and that highlight and facilitate the sharing and reporting of relevant information.
Step 6: Place work items on Kanban cards
Now that you know the colors and shapes of the cards, start visualizing your work. Take a handful of colored cards, format them however you like, and fill them with tasks – each on a separate card.
Then affix the cards to the appropriate columns on the board, according to the work stage they are currently in. Within each column, arrange the cards according to their priority – the most urgent card is at the top, followed by the second most urgent, and so on.
Step 7: Track workflow and periodically review process
Tracking the status of work items as they go through the process will allow everyone to see bottlenecks, roadblocks, and points where the team is overwhelmed.
That’s why it’s crucial to keep the board where everyone can see it. Open access to the Kanban board will promote good communication between the team and make everyone aware of each other’s responsibilities and availability.
Be sure to also keep an eye out for any incremental changes that come up in the process. For the board to remain a useful help tool, it must be accurate, so when the process changes, reflect this on the board.
GitScrum supports your team to better and understandable self-organization!
Set your workflow and board to guide your Agile team, assign Tasks, Subtasks and keep in charge of the whole process evolvements. Allow your Agile team to collaborate.
Be able to adapt to workflow changes, use Kanban boards and Gantt Charts to monitor vital information and team performance.
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