If there’s a guiding light for Agile project management, then Kanban is the Northstar project managers turn to for direction. As a visual management tool, Kanban enables teams to get more done on demand without unnecessary steps. It’s especially helpful for teams working with Agile project management or product management methodologies.

Kanban has had a significant impact on the world of project management, so much so it’s the preferred planning method of teams spanning various industries across the globe. There are many ways Kanban is driving the development of Agile project management.

Easy Interfaces

Increasing your project’s chances for success calls for employing an interface your team can easily use. When you use software tools that infuse elements of Kanban, you can help better manage your projects. One primary reason for an improved workflow process is Kanban focuses on visualization. Drag-and-drop card boards use foundational elements of Kanban you can often find in robust project management software.

This element helps make interfaces easy-to-use for Agile teams regardless of the industry or organization. For example, Project Manager’s Kanban boards feature a drag-and-drop interface with customizable cards and columns. The action of dragging and dropping cards into columns is intuitive and helps make it easier to place cards in the preferred columns quickly.

Quick Visualizations

When you work with an Agile team, it’s important everyone is on the same page to ensure the project moves along. However, continuous improvement of processes requires a fast way to identify issues or the next steps necessary for advancing the project. Kanban helps make quick visualizations of the workflow possible when you use a project management tool that incorporates it.

Kanban boards support visual mapping techniques, making it easy for your team to determine valuable steps in the workflow process. For example, you can set up columns for team members based on various categories, such as To Do, Doing or Completed. Instead of using text-only lists to facilitate the workflow, Kanban boards make it easier for everyone involved in the project to have a better overview of when a team member completes a task crucial for new team members to proceed. It’s also a quick way for project managers to determine if an assignment is taking longer than expected.

Flexibility

Thanks to its flexibility, Kanban is a favorite among Agile teams. Traditional long-term planning requires great effort to employ modifications. However, you can make changes on demand when implementing Kanban. That’s because Kanban is flexible enough to accommodate changes when you need to make them, unlike more traditional project management methods.

For instance, you can easily assign a task to a new team member if it requires a higher skill level than what an existing team member working on the task has. You also have the flexibility to shift due dates thanks to single-style tasks when using project management software with Kanban boards.

Consistent Workflow

Design sprints and iterations that are fixed are often included in the flow of processes for product development projects. This often means project managers may have to reset project boards and adjust schedules to accommodate several meetings that can interrupt and extend the product development process.

However, implementing Kanban in the Agile methodology helps simplify the product development process. That’s because Kanban facilitates consistent workflow. Consistent workflow means you won’t have to worry about needing to plan for sprint meetings on a regular basis or unnecessary demonstrations. Instead, implementing Kanban helps you to keep your project running with less fuss.

Work-in-Progress (WIP) Efficiency

Projects often have multiple tasks; Agile team members must complete. But too many tasks can bring on inefficiency. Research has shown multi-tasking can require various components of the brain, and may even take up to 40 percent more time than if a person focused on completing a single task.

Instead of simplifying the project workflow, having too many tasks makes the project more complex and may even lengthen the time needed to complete your project. Thus, it’s critical to have a system that helps limit the number of tasks your team members can tackle at a time to enhance work-in-progress efficiency.

Luckily, Kanban helps to address this issue. Kanban allows the addition of new tasks only when there is space that needs to be filled, thus limiting WIP.

For instance, you can use Kanban boards to limit the number of debugging tasks your developers can complete before moving to the next phase in testing your product. By restricting the tasks each Agile team member can achieve at a time, you can help the work that is in progress to flow easily and helps your developers become more productive. This helps to align better with the principles of Agile project management and enhance the overall project efficacy.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to making your projects more efficient, it’s vital to employ strategies that can help you lighten your workload. The great news is that you can take advantage of the benefits that Kanban brings to your Agile team by using a robust project management tool, such as Project Manager.

ProjectManager.com offers Kanban boards within its latest release, to complement the software’s existing suite of comprehensive project management tools. Visit their website to learn more, and try out a free 30-day trial of the software.

Kris Hughes

Senior Content Marketing Manager

Kris Hughes is the Senior Content Marketing Manager for Austin, Texas based project management software company ProjectManager.com where he leads the site's social media and content initiatives. Kris has been quoted and featured on websites including Forbes.com, Huffington Post, Yahoo!, ShareThis, Tech Republic and TechTarget.