Kanban board – organise work with this popular visual tool

Simpris allows you to organise your work with this increasingly popular Kanban board visual tool. Kanban is a simple yet visual and powerful way of organising tasks into various statuses.

Kanban board columns

The detail of the board shows your tasks as follows. Note that on the right is a panel with which you can search for tasks assigned to you and move them between statuses:

Kanban task management

It is thus easy to find your tasks and add them to the board.

Advantages of the Kanban Board

Kanban means ‘billboard’ in Japanese. The tool was developed by the Toyota motor company in the 1950s to help with their lean manufacturing processes.

Soon Kanban had spread throughout the world to many industries and sectors. The Kanban system has the following advantages:

  • Time flexibility – there is no set duration of phases
  • Event driven. Rather than things happening at a preset time, things happen when the item of work has completed a previous stage
  • Processes split into identifiable phases
  • The kanban board can be shared between teams
  • In industries where documentation is produced, kanban usually reduces the need for documentation
  • Especially where used between teams, problems can be seen quickly in processes
  • The board itself is a peristent thing, even as work flows through it
  • Intuitive and easily grasped by staff
  • Staff know to take work from their part of the process as soon as it arrives in that stage
  • This visual system seems to encourage communication in all directions between participating staff
  • The board needs to be based on an existing process with a set of clear stages, and can adapt to any broadly linear process
  • The flow of work through this system can go in either direction. For example quality rejections can go backwards into the previous stage for further corrective work
  • By limiting the number of items being worked on in each stage i.e. setting a capacity for each stage, kanban can be powerful in managing team capacity.
  • The board can have stages purely for waiting The number of items in these stages can serve to warn management of blockages in the overall process

More about time management.

A YouTube video about Toyota just-in-time production.