Developers are very busy people. Not only are their jobs incredibly challenging, but they are also often faced with impossible and inflexible deadlines. And as your business continues to scale up, the demand on those developers is going to increase exponentially.
You might think the best solution for such a problem is to hire more developers to help out your overtaxed team. In some cases, that’s a great idea. But what happens when your teams are already struggling to manage their projects, and the problem isn’t so much the amount of work they have, but how poorly managed they are?
Project management. It’s something every business (and even individual developers) must tackle. It’s challenging, especially with bigger projects that include a large number of teams collaborating on applications with a lot of moving pieces. Who’s developing what and what state is each piece of the project in?
If you can’t ascertain such details at a glance, you’re already behind the curve. With development projects, the last thing you want to do is get behind. To that end, where do you turn for help?
One of the best tools you can employ for project management is a kanban board.
What is a Kanban Board?
Kanban is a method of managing work across human systems. The idea behind Kanban is to create a visual representation of a task and move it along columns as it progresses from start to finish. A set of kanban columns might include:
Below each column heading you’ll have rows for each task. Say, for instance, you have a task named Function X. That task will start in Backlog because it hasn’t been assigned and no work has been done. Once the task has been assigned and work begins, it moves from Backlog to In Progress. That task continues along the trajectory until it’s in the Released column.
You’ll have different tasks at different stages along the board, which might look like:
Any team member could very quickly glance at that board and know exactly where each Function is in the process. That’s the beauty of a kanban board.
So why exactly should your developers be using such a tool? Let’s take a look at the benefits.
Kanban Makes Project Management Easy
Of all the management tools available, none even comes close to making project management as easy as kanban. That’s because it’s not just about getting a quick glimpse of where a task is on the timeline. Most kanban tools allow you to assign tasks to users (or teams) and make use of automation to make them even more efficient. And with user-friendly drag-and-drop features, you can easily move tasks from one column to another.
Most kanban solutions also enable businesses to customize the tools, so you can create a board that’s very project-centric. For example, if your company is focused on cloud-native development, you might have a need for a different set of columns than if you were focused on mobile or web development.
Kanban boards also make collaboration considerably easier. When a team can glance at a board and know exactly how another team is progressing, they can adjust their workflow to match. Even better, kanban boards practically eliminate the need for status meetings, meaning your developers don’t have to wait around to find out where each team stands. The information is always there, at the ready, for anyone to view.
Another benefit of kanban boards is that they encourage focus. Instead of your developers always wondering if they should begin new work, kanban makes it easy for them to see how each piece of the puzzle is coming together. So if one team is working on Function X that depends on Function Y, the team working on Function Y has a visual cue to keep them focused on getting their project complete so the other team can continue on.
When you encourage that level of focus, productivity skyrockets.
As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. With kanban, team members can easily see the status of every task within a project. And considering most people can infer much more quickly from visual representations than the written word, kanban has a considerable leg up over, say, email communication for a task.
You might have project leaders who feel the need to constantly send out emails for each task or team. Although email is a great way to communicate, it’s not always the best way to manage. And given how easy it is for emails to fall through the spam filter cracks, you can’t always depend on that form of communication to be effective.
Kanban boards, on the contrary, aren’t only the most efficient way to manage projects, but they also make communication much easier.
A Flexible Workflow
Kanban is based on the “just in time,” practice, which makes it able to quickly adapt to changes in the workflow. For instance, if something changes in the middle of a project, a kanban board can easily change with it. You can quickly reassign teams and developers to tasks that have fallen behind. With such flexibility in project management, your teams can deliver faster and more reliably.
If you’re not using kanban boards, it’s time you do. This highly regarded and efficient project management tool will easily make your teams work more efficiently, which will allow them to produce more code while helping shorten the software lifecycle.
Hop on board this massively popular management tool and find out why so many enterprise businesses depend on kanban to keep projects flowing.