Project management can be approached using many different methodologies and tools, but if you are seeking to visualize a project while continuously improving during the project, then Kanban is the ideal choice. Let us explain…
The benefits of using Kanban for project management
Here are few examples of common practices used in Kanban that can help you avoid common project management mistakes: breaking down projects into smaller tasks, clearly prioritizing these tasks, focusing on reviewing and improving your process, etc…
Visibility and Transparency for Better Workflow Management
Flexibility and Responsiveness
Shortened Cycle Times = Increased Output
Resource Allocation and Budget and Waste Reduction
Continuous Improvement and Delivery
There many more reason why you should use a Kanban board. At a minimum, it can help keep project tasks organized in a visual way. We also strongly believe that when a team can focus on seeing everything needed on a single Kanban board, it can naturally improve team collaboration and communicate.
Ultimately leveraging the Kanban methodology for project management will make the journey as important as the destination. It will promote the spirit of Kaizen to continuously improve every aspect of project management. This mindset will have the ultimate benefit of increasing efficiency.
Applying the 4 Kanban principles to project management
Kanban provides these 4 principles listed below, that can easily be applied to the art of project management.
Start with what you’re doing now
Agree to pursue incremental, evolutionary change
Respect the current process, roles, responsibilities, and titles
Encourage acts of leadership at all levels
In essence, applying these Kanban principles to project management is not intrusive and therefore will not cause any radical changes to the way you deliver projects. Half of these principles are about not “rocking the boat” by continuing to work the way you do now and respecting everything currently in place. Although this might sound like a status quo, it’s actually a healthy way to establish a clear “as is” state that can then be reviewed and improved by embracing the other half of the Kanban principles… Agreeing to pursue incremental, evolutionary change by proposing a “to be” state and getting there by encouraging acts of leadership at all levels, which is the key premise in Agile of empowering people.
Without an Agile mindset, teams are assembled for a specific project and people are used in a matrixed environment, where most members of the project team are also working on multiple other projects. This is not efficient because people can’t accurately report or commit to a percentage for multiple projects all happening at the same time. Inevitably, one (or more) of these multiple projects will get a higher priority or critical issue that will derail the best plans.
Agile teams are meant to stay together during the forming – storming – norming – performing model of group development introduced by Bruce Tuckman. By continuously working and learning from each other, the team becomes stronger and more predictable. Therefore instead of pillaging teams by extracting members for a specific project, projects are presented to already performing teams that can more naturally deliver work that is familiar to their area of expertise. This is what we call in Agile moving from Project Focus to a Product focus and ultimately a customer focus.
The simplest form of Kanban for project management is to map your current process as columns on a board. For example, if we use the Project Management Institute (PMI) five phases of project management listed below: