O Kanban is a method of processes management, created in the 60 decade by the Japanese company Toyota, which literally means "card." Another synonym used is the term "Visual Management".
The Advantages of Kanban
The use of Kanban has grown in the last decades and has assumed different formats from physical frames to hang on the wall (its original application), passing software and even, as in our case, excel spreadsheets. This growth is based on the benefits it generates:
a) Visual Tool: Kanban, because it is a frame, allows a very quick visualization of what needs to be done and also facilitates the alignment among the team members.
b) Reduce Waste: The benefit of communication invariably leads to reduced waste and rework, as all activities are always visible to all concerned.
c) Improvement in Prioritization: Being constantly being manipulated and, consequently, revised, the board of Kanban guarantees a permanent prioritization of the activities that must be carried out.
Modern Kanban Board Application
Although the use of kanban has begun in factories, it is nowadays most commonly associated with agile software development methods. Within different methods, the largest partner is the SCRUM. Without going into this other great topic, it is only necessary to understand that the SCRUM is premised on the weekly organization of development through development SPRINTS. Typically in software, you have 3 types of activities: features, activities and bug fixes.
How to use Kanban board?
Kanban is a super simple tool that has two great elements that you should know before you start using:
a) Columns / Process Steps: a Kanban framework accompanies a business process. Although there is no universal standard, because each process is unique, in a generic way, you will find the following structure: Backlog, To Do, To Do, and Done.
b) Cards / Cards: the cards are the activities that must be positioned within each column. The cards must contain the relevant information to be able to carry out that activity and also maintain a history. Typically it has a description, date of insertion, term and responsible.
Driving the Cards through the Columns
In Western countries, the picture is read from left to right. That is, you always create a new activities in the backlog frame that is nothing more than a large database.
If you are using SCRUM, weekly you and your team will discuss what activities to join the next SPRINT. At this point, you will choose some backlog activities and move them to the next "To Do List" column.
Within the principles of agile development, each team member can freely pick up the tasks that were assigned to the sprint and drag the card to the "Doing" column. At the end of that activity, simply drag it to the "Done". The process should be repeated until all sprint tasks are completed.
There are several ways to assemble a Kanban frame. Drawing on the wall, hiring software and more. Here in LIGHT, we are specialists in spreadsheets and excel, so we could not fail to create a Kanban board worksheet in Excel!