Kanban is an increasingly popular tool for optimizing workflow, but managing your business processes using Kanban will only be effective if it is implemented correctly. Kanban is much more than simply placing post-it notes on a Kanban board; it’s a switch in mindset and a move towards greater organization, productivity, and waste elimination through a steady workflow.
To establish and achieve this steady flow of work, it’s important that there is a high level of trust between leadership and teams. For this to happen, clear expectations should be set and there should be a clear guide for everybody in the team. These rules of Kanban are designed to help guide teams towards successfully implementing this process in their work.
Only Produce the Exact Required Quantity
Overproducing leads to excess inventory that can waste both money and time for a business. When your business overproduces, there’s not always a guarantee that you will be able to do anything with the excess inventory, which can mean more costs and less profit on the resources and money that is spent to manufacture or build the item, not to mention any additional costs for transportation or storage. Overproduction also increases the risk of the product deteriorating or becoming obsolete over time if it cannot be used quickly. In terms of knowledge work, it can help to have a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) mindset; focus on the minimum requirements and don’t add extra features that aren’t demanded by the market at the time.
Take Only What’s Needed
Successfully implementing Kanban means that downstream processes should only pull what is necessary, in order to lower costs, reduce the risk of overproduction, and ensure that operations are clearly reflective of market needs. This rule is quite straightforward to apply in terms of manufacturing processes; for other types of work, it means only working on customer orders or requests when needed, and following the priority in the backlog.
Don’t Pass Defective Products
Products that fail the expected standards and quality levels should never be passed. Any defective products should be swiftly removed from the production line and dealt with separately, to ensure that customers only receive high-quality products. As a result, this reduces wastes and minimizes the risk of customer complaints. It’s important to have clear policies in place to ensure that the desired quality level is maintained at each step. For example, when using Kanban for developing software, applications should go through stringent quality control checks before release.
Regular revision of your Kanban board allows for the adoption of better practices that you can spread across multiple teams and organizational levels. Ultimately, this will lead you to scaling Agile in the organization and increasing the survivability of your business. You can learn more about scaling Agile and how Kanban can help you do this at Kanbanize. Kanbanize offers a wide range of informational articles and resources to provide your business with everything that you need to get started with these processes and methodology. Always keep the status of all tasks on the Kanban board updated, so that the board always serves as a clear tool for transparency and synchronization of work. Ensure that tasks are moved to different columns as soon as necessary. Remember that keeping the Kanban board up to date should be everybody’s responsibility.
Make Sure It’s Accessible to Everyone
Your Kanban board should be strategically placed so that everybody who is involved in the execution, planning, and revision of tasks, including team members, management, and stakeholders, are able to easily see it at any time. This saves time for the team in terms of productive work and helps to avoid status requests from stakeholders. If you work with an analog Kanban board, it should be placed in a room that everybody can access easily. Digital Kanban boards should be available for everybody to view effortlessly online with login credentials or stored in a shared folder.
Keep it Simple
You should avoid creating several different Kanban boards wherever it is possible to achieve your desired goal using only one. Duplicating boards or having the same task across different boards will only lead to extra, unnecessary effort for the team who need to then work to keep the boards synchronized or ensure that the tasks between the two boards are disconnected. This can lead to misunderstandings, confusion, and delays that can seriously slow down workflow or cause serious errors.
Kanban is all about continuous improvement of the workflow and ensuring that tasks are done with the least possible waste and offer the highest possible value to the customer. If you have decided to implement Kanban boards for your future business project, keep these rules in mind to ensure that they work well for you. In addition, get teams together on a regular basis to come up with ideas for improvement, and regularly add new measures that add value for the team.