The kanban is a project management technique that makes it possible, visually and with few resources, monitoring of production flows. The simplicity of the system, which uses colored cards or post-its placed in a large and clearly visible frame to indicate the status of tasks, makes it very useful in IT projects.
It is an alternative that is easier to use and understand than the complex systems that include to-do spreadsheets, to-do lists and endless emails. Using kanban in IT it is possible to obtain information about the status updates of the activities of a project in a simple and fast way.
To help you learn more about this technique, which, although very old, remains innovative, we created this post. In it you will know its history, the importance of kanban in IT , as well as some tips to implement it in your projects. Good reading!
The history of the kanban
The kanban was born in Japan in the 1950s. Toyota engineer Taiichi Ohno, inspired by Henry Ford’s book “Today and Tomorrow” and the method of replacing goods on American supermarket shelves, developed two methodologies: JIT (Just in Time) and the kanban.
At the time, Toyota was going through a crisis that could have driven it into bankruptcy, and it needed to reinvent itself to resume growth. In this scenario, the two methods, which guaranteed the acquisition of materials only when needed and the agility of the production lines, were crucial for the company to be saved.
The importance of kanban in IT
And when it comes to agility in the production flow , the competitive and almost chaotic IT environment comes to mind, where the news becomes old in a very short time. For this reason, project management methods that guarantee speed in the execution and monitoring of tasks are indispensable for a PMO . See below how kanban gained importance in IT.
The ease of visualizing the progress of tasks helps to identify bottlenecks, causing the investigation of their causes. With these discoveries, it becomes possible to optimize the truncated processes and, consequently, increase the productivity and quality of deliveries.
Has higher productivity
The system has 4 basic principles, which are:
- easy viewing;
- limit on the number of tasks;
- focus on flow;
- continuous improvement.
If these 4 principles are followed to the letter, the dynamism of the project will be guaranteed, which combined with the improvement of processes, will increase (and a lot!) The productivity of the team, since all members will have access to their to do list quickly is easy.
More efficient IT management
The improvement in processes and the increase in productivity are already clear signs of greater efficiency in IT management provided by the use of the kanban. This is due to the simplicity of the method and its visibility, dynamism and ease.
5 tips on how to deploy kanban in IT projects
1. Map the current workflow
The first step in implementing any methodology is to understand what is currently being done. As each stage of the project is identified, it becomes easier to organize the tasks that need to be completed and assign them to your manager. At this point, it is also important to define how the flow will be from now on. The most common is:
- to do (to do): it is the project’s backlog, which lists all the tasks that must be performed regardless of type, priority and responsible person;
- today (to be done today): here are the tasks that should be prioritized at that time. It is interesting that they are classified, for example, as testing, improvement, correction, among others, and each category has a maximum time on the board;
- in progress (being done): in this column are the tasks in progress or that are waiting for some dependency, for example, the acquisition of specific hardware for its accomplishment;
- done: here are the tasks that have already been completed. It may seem irrelevant to keep in sight what is already ready, however, in addition to helping to get a sense of how much has been accomplished in a given period, it still serves as a motivational trigger for the team.
Of course, other steps can be inserted in the flow according to the needs of each project. And this is one of the great advantages of the kanban, as it is extremely easy to adapt it to changes in flow when necessary. That is, the task flow management itself is subject to continuous improvement during the execution of the project.
2. Define what will be monitored with the kanban
Here is the time to list exactly what needs to be done , that is, to describe each of the tasks themselves. Note that even if new activities arise in the course of the project, they can be added with the same ease with which they are being listed now.
It is important that they are specified very objectively, so that their description can fit on a post-it or card, so that they can be easily visualized and identified on the board. More complex processes must be broken down as much as possible into small tasks to assist in the objectivity of what is being listed.
3. Bring the team together
Now that you know what your initial workflow will be like and what tasks need to be done, it’s time to get the team together and start assigning them to their respective managers. At that time, deadlines and priorities must be defined with the same clarity with which the activities were described.
4. Define the card template
The most common is to use colored post its, each color corresponding to a category of tasks or a member of the team. In this case, you can still combine the color with different post it sizes, achieving an easier visualization of who the task is and how long it should be delivered.
5. Measure and improve
With the project in progress and tasks moving from one column to another in the kanban, it is easy to understand what is and is not working . In addition, opportunities arise to detect ways to improve the workflow, based on the mistakes and successes of what has already been accomplished.
As you can see throughout this post, kanban is a dynamic method, easy to implement and low cost, which can be adopted for both the management of smaller and more complex projects. This makes kanban in IT an important tool for achieving success.
And now that you already know how to deploy kanban in IT, how about meeting 4 functions of a manager and further improving the project management of your projects?