Working with Kanban — Frequently Asked Questions

Project management as a concept can be extended to anything from running an enterprise to following a personal to-do-list.
The idea remains the same throughout all of these and it’s only the scale that changes.
After working on Kanban Tool and with Kanban as our sole PM tool for a decade, we’ve come to associate project management with visual management. Unless the process is visually available and readable at a glance, no-one has a full view over what is going on.
Therefore for us, project management means a visual way of organizing consecutive or neighbouring steps needed to be fulfilled before a set goal is reached.

What project management challenges companies have to face and how does Kanban help?

  • Inability to tell where exactly each person’s responsibilities lay
    With Kanban: Each employee’s assignments can be looked through, giving a good sketch of what they normally deal with.
  • The organizational overhead and delay that frequent staff changes produce
    With Kanban: Having a visual record of all processes, makes it easier to enrol new employees and guide their understanding of how they’re expected to work.
  • Inability to gauge both individual and team efficiency
    With Kanban: Individual and team efficiency can both be measured with the digital Kanban Tool board’s metrics. That’s innate to digital boards only — they do the measurements for you, making it no extra work at all.
  • Lack of understanding of the entire process a company is following
    With Kanban: Thanks to its visual nature, everyone gains insight into what is the process that the company follows, making their role clearer and easier to understand.
  • Difficulty in achieving employee focus in busy, interconnected, “always up-to-date” times where multitasking is exercised on a daily basis and still thought of as beneficial
    With Kanban: It’s easier to concentrate on a single task, when a clear Work In Progress limit is applied. With Kanban, multitasking is not considered a good thing, as it regularly slows down the overall throughput and decreases the quality, since no task gets your full attention. Also, with numerous disruptions and constant buzz from social media and smart phones, when people are stopped mid-task, it’s easier for them to get back to what they were doing, if they are visually tracking their work.

What common mistakes do project managers make?

What’s to be gained from use of an online project management tool / app?

What makes Kanban so effective?

What makes Kanban so versatile?

What’s the role of visual thinking in planning?

Are we seeing a move towards more visual project management methodologies in general?

Any tips on increasing productivity?

  • 2. Do not multi-task — though there are situations when this will make sense, most of the times it’s more hindrance than help.
  • 3. Take regular breaks. You will feel better and work more effectively.
  • 4. Do the most difficult tasks first. Have a day that will get easier with each hour.
  • 5. Limit meetings to the absolute minimum. Everyone will thank you.
  • 6. Switch your phone to silent when working.
  • 7. Prioritise tasks on a daily basis, making the order match your current needs.

This article was originally published on the Kanban Tool Blog.