Set SMART Goals with Kanban and reach them sooner than you expect!

set smart goals and meet them with kanban boards

Developing and creating new tasks in your teams have been, perhaps, a quest for excellence. Sometimes you might feel lost or disoriented by not having a target to aim in long-term jobs.

Kanban Boards help you organize your tasks and demands and they are top-notched tools to provide you comfort while working. You need to know what’s going in the whole process in your team and that’s why you can add some new solutions to a better functionality to your Kanban Boards.

The SMART goals have been in many business actions because this acronym establishes criteria for setting objectives and goals and supports a good path of growth for your employees.

Since Kanban enables the main control items to be within the entire team, it is helpful in decision-making and controls the workflow.

In this article, you will see how Kanban and SMART goals can work together, observing their meanings and definitions.

Before we get started, let’s check out some Kanban articles in our blog:

How to eliminate bottlenecks with Kanban?
How to diversify tasks with Kanban?
Kanban Board x Scrum: what is the difference?

Meaning of Kanban

Kanban was created by Taiichi Ohno in 1953 and is part of the Toyota production system, where it plays a fundamental role in the pull production system and the Just-in-time concept.

Like ikigai, this word has a Japanese origin, it can be translated as “card” or “signaling”. It represents a system that aims to increase a company’s production efficiency and is essential today.

At the time, markets worked like storerooms, you delivered the list and the market clerk (who looked like a storekeeper) would pick up the stock.

Two types of Kanban

There are two basic Kanban models widely used in industries, but that can be successfully applied in daily business: production and movement.

In production Kanban, the murals or the software are available to all employees responsible for carrying out the tasks in that production phase. Thus, it is divided into three phases:

  1. to do: tasks to be done;
  2. doing: tasks being performed;
  3. done: completed tasks.

The movement kanban is used to communicate the production sectors about the ideal moment to carry out a task or when to wait for the command to start the next phase of the production chain.

Benefits of using Kanban

All over the world, a handful of enterprises are already enjoying these advantages and can find an ideal level of productivity, which remains continuous and with fewer failures. Check out some more benefits.
a. Prevent employees from being idle
Having an idle work team is a common problem to be faced by managers and entrepreneurs. This is because, in addition to representing financial losses, this ends up affecting motivation and engagement at work.

As employees are always keeping an eye on the tasks and actions to be developed, they end up working harder so that their responsibilities are properly fulfilled and registered on the wall.

b. Reduce time to run processes
Another aspect that deserves to be highlighted is the reduction in the time needed to complete a task. By making their responsibilities and deadlines available to all employees, they produce more and faster.

In general, you can see that tasks are completed within a reasonable time, and most of them are completed even before the deadline.

In addition, the division into three production phases prevents the sequence of actions from being changed, avoiding production failures and a drop in the quality of the final product. In other words, we have a faster processor and, at the same time, high quality.

c. Become simple and easy to apply
Both material and methodology applied in this technique are quite simple and easy to reach. With a low investment, it is possible to implement it and enjoy all the benefits presented here.

With clear visual references, all the bureaucracy of a production process is eliminated, since demands are easily identified, without the need to analyze reports, official letters, and memos.

d. Eliminate tasks that don’t add value to the team
When processes are delimited and properly managed, the team is concerned with what really brings results. With this, there is the elimination of tasks and obligations that do not contribute to the success of the activity and represented a waste of time.

e. Reduce costs in the company
Cost reduction is one of the great business goals. Regardless of the size or segment of your business, it is natural that you are always looking for strategies that reduce your operating expenses.

Meaning of SMART goals

SMART is an acronym formed by the initials of the words Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-based.

The acronym was created in 1981 when consultant George T. Doran published an article called “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives”.

In the text, the author reports that managers at the time were confused in defining their goals and proposed a simple methodology to facilitate this task.

Furthermore, the author himself clarifies: not all of your goals will meet all five criteria. For example, many goals may not be quantifiable, as proposed by the “M” of the acronym.

First of all, have you ever stopped by to think about the importance of setting goals in your projects? If you don’t know where to go, you certainly won’t be able to choose the right path.

Furthermore, although this proposal has emerged in the business environment, it can also be used in the individual scope. Increasingly, it has been used to group people in their projects.

Let’s check out the meanings of each letter of the SMART acronym:

S – Specific (be specific)
The first feature that the acronym brings refers to specificity: you must be specific in defining your goals.

That way, it’s difficult to know exactly what efforts you should make to get there.

Vague, generalist, subjective goals tend to be less effective. The tip is to be as specific as possible.

Do you want your brand to be better known? So think about how you’re going to measure this (number of visitors, social media reach, organic search growth, etc.).

This makes your goal more tangible for you and your entire team.

M – Measurable

Once you’ve taken the planned actions, how will you know if you’ve achieved your goals?

Using goals like “more brand engagement” or “more social influence” makes it difficult to analyze the results, as you won’t be able to measure your actions.

That’s why, as the letter “S” says, you must be specific.

Quantifying your goals is important, along the way, to know what remains to be done and, in the end, to be able to compare with the results. Thus, its key success indicators (KPIs) are also defined.

For example, if you want to generate more leads, you should pay attention to a few points: how many leads do you want in the future, how many leads you generate today (to know your growth), and how you intend to measure this number (if you need to use a tool, make some configuration, etc.).

A – Attainable (set attainable goals)
Even though you have big ambitions, keep your feet on the ground to set your goals.

The numbers should be challenging to motivate the team, but don’t be overly optimistic.

Setting unattainable goals generates the negative impact of the team’s frustration, which understands not being able to achieve the expected results.

We know it is not simple to arrive at a number that is both down-to-earth and challenging.

But having experience in the business, doing benchmarking, and getting to know your team well helps a lot.

Following the previous lead generation example, to define the number of leads you want in the future, don’t just think of an ideal number.

Analyze what you can generate today and, with the actions you intend to perform, what the real capacity of your business and your team is.

R – Realistic
You know your reality, your business, and your team. You know what you have already accomplished and what you can still accomplish.

While you’re a big believer in everyone’s capabilities, some limitations should be considered.

So, be realistic in setting your goals. Forget about the ideal you would like and work with reality, even if it is still far from your dreams.

Perhaps, being realistic now, you can motivate your team to exceed expectations and go beyond expected results.

The “R” is closely related to the “A” that we explained earlier: to set attainable goals, you need to know the reality of your business.

For example, if you want to improve your ranking on Google, you must first analyze whether your team has specific knowledge in SEO or whether it will be outsourced, and then set a reasonable goal.

T – Time-based

A project that is infinitely extended, because it fails to achieve the results, consumes the energies of those involved. Therefore, you must set a deadline for your team to reach the goals.

If you notice that the initial deadline projection was not realistic, it is possible to anticipate or extend the deadline. But don’t make changes instantly, so you won’t lose motivation and team confidence.

If you also find that the project duration is too long.  Work on short, medium, and long-term goals that will help you stay focused.

Use SMART goals alongside with GitScrum’s Kanban Boards!

GitScrum has special features to help you to produce more and get efficient results with your team. Use our Kanban Boards to apply your SMART goals in your project!

Sign up now and work with Agile and Scrum methodologies!