Created in Japan, Kanban is a visual workflow management method for individuals, teams, and organizations. Let’s say you are at least somewhat familiar with the concept. In that case, you know that discussing the best Kanban practices causes some controversy as the application of the method differs from project to project.
However, based on the latest data by State of Agile 25% of survey respondents plan to remain fully remote in a post-COVID world. Another 56% are considering a hybrid working approach. Such a change requires companies worldwide to implement effective project and task management processes.
Therefore, our team has compiled a list of the best Kanban practices for your company to potentially improve your management.
#1 Decide to use Kanban as the entire team
Let’s start with the basics. The critical struggle that stops many companies from taking advantage of everything Kanban has to offer is the team’s lack of willingness to implement Kanban and its best practices.
In fact, 46% of State of Agile survey respondents share that the key Agile challenge they face is inconsistent processes and practices across teams. As Kanban, just like Agile, focuses on effective project management, we can conclude that the same challenge applies to Kanban users.
The main question is how do you overcome this obstacle?
Organize meetings within your team and present Kanban with all the pros it offers. Emphasize improved workflow, better time and task management, and more clarity in day-to-day tasks.
Only upon completing this step and having the entire team on the same page could you move to more tangible practices.
#2 Choose the best Kanban software for your needs
To achieve peak productivity in your team, choose the appropriate software.
Our team has recently compiled a list of the best Kanban software for 2022; hence you can go and compare over 20 different software and pick one that suits your expectations the best.
Keep in mind that there is no ultimate software for everyone. You can find value in any software, depending on your specific tasks and goals.
To make the right choice, we recommend considering the following aspects:
- Customisation and adaptability.
- Variety of templates.
- Visualisation of complexity (amount of information on one screen).
- The richness of item details.
- Time tracking.
PS: Teamhood has all of these features, and it’s a powerful tool that helps you organize and optimize a variety of processes, no matter the industry you are representing or the size of the company.
#3 Choose the proper Kanban templates and boards
To succeed with Kanban, make sure you go for the templates and boards best suited to your needs.
Take a look at our previous article on Kanban templates to get the right one for you. With these predesigned workspaces, you’ll save time and effort and start your Kanban journey on the right foot.
Also, in the beginning, using Kanban may seem intimidating. To help you out, our team has previously collected the best Kanban board examples; hence, you are free to use them!
With the proper templates and boards, you are increasing your chances of taking full advantage of all the pros Kanban offers.
#4 Set up rules and follow them
Kanban is only effective when clearly defined rules are in place. To do that, you first have to discuss the practices with your teammates and decide to follow them as a team.
For instance, it is critical to define when the task is completed and move it to another board. That way another responsible person can take up the task and make the necessary progress on it.
Also, make sure to discuss different aspects of task dedication, management, and completion. Decide what labels will you use at each step of the process and stick to your agreement.
Doing so will help to ensure a better workflow for the entire team and company.
#4 Organize your cards
Kanban is all about bringing more clarity to your day-to-day tasks. Using cards and giving them the proper names is a sure way to ease your workflow.
Say you are a PR agency. You could use the following card types to track your progress: Editorial Research, Potential Writers, Ideas, Events, etc.
Moreover, take advantage of the Kanban swimlanes to further categorize your items. Each swimlane can be dedicated to a different project, team, product, or type of service.
#5 Add due dates to each card
Having well-defined deadlines is another crucial aspect of using Kanban effectively.
Add due dates to each card to make it crystal clear for all the teammates when the task must be delivered.
Implementing this Kanban practice will be lifesaving to all the team leaders and managers as they’ll be able to manage their employees more effectively.
When it comes to employees, adding due dates will make it easier to track their progress and stick to the deadlines.
#6 Implement the best practices for blocked tasks
Some tasks must be blocked due to the lack of info at some stage of the process. That’s why it is vital to implement the proper practice of dealing with blocked tasks.
For example, a copywriter has to prepare an article about the company’s annual results, but the top manager hasn’t yet delivered the report and any related info.
Such a task must be blocked for a top manager to see that their input is missing and the task cannot continue.
The easiest way to mark a blocked task is by adding a bright color label (choose red or orange), as it will instantly attract attention when visiting a Kanban board. The idea here is to ‘encourage’ a teammate whose input is missing to take action immediately and get the team back to the regular workflow.
When using a Kanban tool like Teamhood, you will be able to block or suspend an item by using a specifically designed feature.
#7 Experiment with the templates
When you start getting a hold of Kanban, make sure you constantly improve and experiment with its different templates.
For example, use different Kanban templates to set up your team’s OKRs or track your company’s accounting information.
Each template is crafted to give the most value to you; hence, stay open and keep testing different templates for various tasks and processes at your company.
#8 Evaluate your team’s experience with Kanban regularly
For your company to experience the most benefits of Kanban, make sure you review your workflow on the platform regularly.
You can organize bi-weekly or monthly meetings to discuss what’s working and what’s not and could be improved or eliminated.
Getting feedback from your teammates will help you make the necessary adjustments and take your Kanban experience to another level. Learn more with this article on Kanban cadences.
Best Kanban Practices Conclusion
Implementing the best Kanban practices is a sure way to improve your workflow and results as a team.
Using Kanban to its full potential will make both smaller and more extensive tasks at the company more manageable. Moreover, the team will benefit from higher clarity and improved efficiency.
Take time to understand this task organizing method, and enjoy its benefits on individual, team, and company levels.
Passionate content marketer looking to bring better solutions to the project management space.
2020 - Present Marketing specialist at Teamhood.
2014 - 2020 Marketing manager for Eylean.