benefits of kanban for project management

Project Management Institute’s 2018 report, Pulse of the Profession, highlights interesting feedback and insight from over 5,500 project management practitioners, senior executives, and PMO directors, from various industries, and different locations around the globe.

While they share similar drivers of project success, they are also part of some alarming statistics. Namely, 48% of projects are not finished within the scheduled deadline, 43% are not completed within their original budget, and 31% do not meet the original goals or business intent defined during planning and initiation.

Clearly many organizations have trouble during some of the typical project management phases. Even though project teams spend a lot of time initiating and meticulously planning the project, they still somehow fail when it comes to executing the projects as planned.

But with so many project management tools available to help you organize and manage your flow, how do you select the one that works best for your business and helps you overcome your problems?

Benefits of Using Kanban

Anyone who’s heard about Kanban, has heard about the advantages that come with this methodology. It can be used in combination with other methodologies and it works exceptionally well with Project Management. In fact, Kanban can easily help you address some of the most common project management problems and will help you see your projects through, from start to end.

Managing your projects by using a Kanban board has numerous benefits for Project Managers (PM), team members, and the whole organization.

Here are the top 5 benefits of Kanban for Project Management:

#1 Visibility and Transparency for Better Workflow Management

One of the main reasons why Kanban is so popular is the use of visual information representation. This comes with a set of benefits in itself. Having the project displayed on the project management Kanban board helps teams understand the workflow better and the correlation between tasks. Thus, plan better. They can communicate more openly and collaborate better. Which allows them to find a cadence and rhythm that maximize their individual efficiency.

#2 Flexibility and Responsiveness

Kanban is based on the ‘just-in-time’ practice, which makes it flexible to adapt to market changes. Additionally, it focuses on the tasks in progress and adds more work from the top of to the Backlog to the board only after the current work is completed. So the Project Manager can re-prioritize the Backlog items without disrupting the flow.

That allows PMs to match the delivery with the changing demand and allows them to respond to the business needs of the organization, customers and market. As long as the most important tasks are on top of the Backlog, the development team is assured to deliver maximum value.

benefits of kanban method for project management

#3 Shortened Cycle Times = Increased Output

In Kanban, the entire team is responsible for ensuring the work is moving smoothly through the process. The cycle time is the amount of time it takes for a unit of work to travel through the team’s workflow, from start to the moment it’s being shipped. By optimizing the cycle time, the team can better predict the delivery of future work. To do this, teams employ WIP limits that encourage them to focus on one thing at a time and work together to move tasks to the Done column faster.

It is also important for teams to share their knowledge and skills because when only one person has a specific skillset, that individual becomes a bottleneck. When several team members share skills they can take on heterogeneous work and deliver more work with higher quality.

#4 Resource Allocation and Budget and Waste Reduction

Since this methodology is Lean, it is concerned with resource allocation and waste reduction. And this is where the benefits of Kanban are most notable. When the workflow is visible on the project management Kanban board it’s easier to see if some team members are under or overburdened, if the whole team is over or under-producing, or note wasteful processes and bottlenecks. Kanban project management allows PMs to notice these problems and address them properly by having the whole team find a good solution. They can also adapt on the fly while executing the main plan but stay within the budget and time limits.

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#5 Continuous Improvement and Delivery

Continuous integration is essential for maintaining quality, and it goes hand-in-hand with continuous delivery. One of the benefits of Kanban is the ability to marry these two practices successfully. Kanban’s ability to increase productivity and team focus leads to improved efficiency and reduced overhead. This allows teams to find ways to continually improve their work and deliver a more perfect product.

Where to Use Kanban in your Project Management Cycle

Kanban is a versatile and easily implemented in any industry. And as such, it can be applied to any of the five stages of Project Management, but it really shines during project planning and execution. This methodology provides an easy-to-follow, visual representation of your projects. But more importantly, it helps managers avoid some of the most common project management mistakes. Some of the core benefits of Kanban for Project Management enable teams to work with greater focus and more insight into potential issues. But don’t take my word for it, give it a try with Kanban Zone’s free Personal Plan.

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About the Author: Ivana Sarandeska

Ivana Sarandeska is a digital marketer, creative writer and master procrastinator. An Agile enthusiast and a firm believer that thorough planning is key to good execution and even better improvisation. She has a soft spot for technology, so most of her full-time jobs were in IT companies where she was introduced to Agile and Scrum. After she got her Scrum Basics certification she started actively using these methodologies and their main principles. Learning how to organize her time and tasks better has motivated her to dive deeper into these methodologies. Now, she is an avid advocate of Agile and Scrum and happily shares her knowledge and experience to fellow procrastinators.

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