Kanban boards are a method of managing tasks in a more visual, engaging way. Originally designed by Toyota to improve manufacturing efficiency, Kanban is now used across many sectors to visualise and streamline workflows.
In this post we’re exploring the tangible benefits that Kanban boards can bring to your organisation. We’ll be talking about how they can improve productivity, flexibility and engagement within your team.
What are the Benefits of Kanban Boards?
As one of the principle methods of agile task management, Kanban boards are designed to offer a multitude of benefits for all kinds of organisations.
1) Visual display of progress
Kanban boards are first and foremost a way to visualise workflows. Many people gain a better understanding of processes, and workflows, when they can visualise them, and Kanban principles offer exactly that.
The core principle of Kanban boards is how a task must pass through stages of progress before being complete. By creating a card for a specific task, it can then be manually moved between various stages as it is completed.
This visual display of progress is an excellent way for everyone to stay updated with the progress of every task, and the project at large.
2) Great for collaboration
Managing workflows in a Kanban board is a fantastic way to foster collaboration among your team. With a Kanban board, you can encourage your team to manage their own tasks, so you’ll find communication opening up where dependencies arise.
With each member working towards a shared goal, your team will treat the Kanban board like the shared hub for everything related to their work. With each member moving tasks around, the board will begin to function as a hub for collaboration.
3) Highly efficient
Kanban boards are a visual presentation of your workflow, and highlights how every task is moving along. This makes it easy to keep tabs on which tasks are taking longer and lagging behind.
It then becomes obvious where the team needs to focus their efforts to avoid a backlog or a bottleneck. Tasks are never lost to the ether, because they are always on the board. Nothing should be put to rest until it is either completed or archived.
Team members can communicate on the board itself, which reduces the need for back and forth elsewhere. In the interest of keeping the board tidy, teams will be discouraged from leaving irrelevant comments on cards, and comms will be made more efficient as a result.
4) Perfect for delegating tasks
When using a Kanban board, managers can assign individual tasks to specific (or multiple) team members. This ability brings multiple benefits to the effectiveness of a team.
First of all, it becomes easy to delegate tasks. Managers can see how many tasks are assigned to each member, and assign new ones based on who has the space. Team members who specialise in particular areas can be given tasks that suit their skill set.
Names are attached to tasks for as long as they are active and tasks can be re-allocated at any time. This also makes it easy to encourage collaboration as tasks can be assigned to multiple members making a collaborative effort necessary.
Verto 365’s Kanban functionality also includes a notification feature so if you are tagged on an activity, or something changes on a card you are tagged in, you will be notified without you having to constantly check the boards for changes made.
5) Increased focus & productivity
When a team member is given ownership over a handful of tasks on the board, it gives the incentive to truly take ownership of their work. By delegating autonomy in this way, you can instil a greater drive and focus into your team.
Due to how efficient and streamlined your workflow will become, you will find a greater degree of productivity follows suit. By constantly reviewing your cycle time (the time it takes for cards to move to complete) you can identify pain points and lend support where needed.
6) Increasingly versatile
Kanban boards were originally invented to provide a visual display of progress for tasks. However, they do not come with a rulebook. People have begun to use their boards for a wide array of purposes.
These could include general day-to-day management of our lives, such as contact books, recipes, home improvement tasks and more. There have been tales of private boards being used to manage finances or other personal things.
The core of the Kanban method is to visualise and streamline. Beyond that, they can be used to do pretty much anything.
7) Good for multitasking
Multitasking is often one of the most stressful aspects of managing our work. Having too many tasks active at once is a one way ticket to disaster for your teams. Kanban boards avoid this completely, mainly in two ways.
Management can easily see who has the space to take on additional work, meaning that nobody is given more than they can handle at any given time. When a team member completes a task, their capacity opens up for a new one.
Secondly, individuals can always see how many tasks are assigned to them through how many cards they are tagged on. Because of this, tasks will never be neglected or discarded.
Verto 365’s Kanban boards can link to a personal dashboard, providing a snapshot of progress based on the number of cards you have assigned to you. These can be collated from any number of boards so you can understand your capacity across a number of projects or pieces of work.
8) Promotes an inclusive work environment
Encouraging collaboration among your teams, results in better company morale and a more inclusive environment. One advantage of the task assignment system is that everyone can then see what their colleagues are working on, and recognise that everyone is doing their part.
Kanban boards encourage team members to control their own work and value the initiative needed to do that successfully. By delegating tasks to specific individuals, you can both take advantage of existing skills and help to foster new ones.
9) Stable method of work management
A Kanban board is an incredibly stable way to manage long term workloads. Despite being flexible and versatile, it creates a centralised area where all ongoing tasks can be managed in the same place.
Never again will tasks be lost or forgotten, so long as the board is managed and maintained effectively.
10) Reduces waste
One of the reasons that Kanban was first invented was to reduce waste. In the methodology, waste is defined as anything that consumes resources without adding a proportionate benefit.
A key example of this is any task that takes time, but does not contribute any value. Within Kanban, value is defined as a billable deliverable, or something that contributes to the completion of a project. These tasks are easy to identify within a Kanban board, and can be assessed on a case by case basis.
11) Prevents an overload of work
Backlogs are easily avoided with Kanban boards. If you are using the board in the standard way – with progress columns – it becomes immediately obvious when a bottleneck is forming. If any column aside from ‘Complete’ is getting filled, you have a backlog on your hands.
This makes it easy to identify where team members need to devote their attention. You may choose to spend a week unclogging the backlog rather than focusing on tasks almost completed. Another solution may be to not start any new tasks until the backlog is relieved.
12) Promotes a varied workload
With any workflow you will find a range of tasks that need to be completed. Some may be design tasks, some may be analysis tasks and so on. If you have a team where multiple skill sets are present in each role, it becomes easy to promote a varied workload for each person.
Each team member can be given tasks that are different from each other. If you have three people, each one can be given the same variation of specific tasks. It becomes clear when using a Kanban board if any team member spends more time on a certain type of task, and easy to rectify that.
13) Acts as a hub for information
As we’ve mentioned a few times in this article, a Kanban board can function as a centralised hub for your workload. When a task is added to the board, alongside it can be added all information relevant to the task.
You can also use the board as a hub for documents and resources, as files and links can be added to individual cards. Having all relevant documents accessible from one location is again, great for collaboration , and will encourage your teams using the board as a hub for their work.
14) Fun to use!
Perhaps one of the easiest benefits of Kanban boards to overlook is that they are simply fun to use! When progress is made, you can drag a task from column to column and feel that little boost of serotonin that comes from achieving something.
Kanban boards can be customised to look the way you wish them to.We are about to re-launch Verto 365’s Kanban boards to include a host of new features and upgrades including the addition of background and colours for the cards, lists and boards themselves within the Verto 365 app. Match them up to your company’s branding, or even let your teams get creative with it.
Are Kanban Boards Right for You?
So there are just a few of the amazing benefits that using Kanban boards can bring. Do you think your organisation could benefit from using them? If you are looking to improve productivity, efficiency and engagement, Kanban boards might be right for you.
Verto 365 is available via the VertoCloud website as an online or Microsoft Teams app. The free option allows you to access personal Kanban functionality or have as a shared option to begin collaborating with team members.