Why We Like Kanban Boards So Much (And You Should Too)

If there’s something we need to recommend as a complete must in any business, it would be Kanban boards. Make it twice as important in the context of doing digital-based business (we’re looking at you, startups, eCommerce ventures and other new types of small business). Let’s just say that for us, Kanban is a true organizational gift to every horizontal of a business. Business owners, supervisors, project managers, employees – all draw benefits from the Kanban method.

Kanban boards are so awesome due to 5 simple reasons:

  • The Kanban concept rests upon a clean, easy-to-understand layout. No clutter.
  • They visualize all those workflows that might have your head spinning otherwise.
  • They boost team communication and improve the delegation of employee responsibilities. No employee overload. Clearly identified areas to be improved. A steady, balanced pace of work that ensures smooth advance to a project’s goals.
  • They help you identify challenges/impediments and tackle them in an early stage.
  • They make your team’s productivity skyrocket.

Going further, let’s dig into what is a Kanban board actually.

The Extremely Lean Concept of Kanban Boards

A Kanban board is a simple means to visualize the workflow of your business. It helps you oversee every single step involved in this workflow and segment your operations properly. Have you ever used sticky notes? There’s a high chance you have. Well, think of the Kanban board as an intelligent way to organize your sticky notes on a whiteboard…something you can now do online too. Here’s the basic “skeleton” of a Kanban board:

Kanban boards and their functional simplicity.

In other words, these are a) the tasks awaiting production, b) the tasks in progress and c) the already completed tasks related to your business’s operations.

Seems like a simple concept, right? Maybe it is, but after all, genius is often found in simplicity. The Kanban method was inspired by Taiichi Ohno who is the brain behind the infamous Toyota Production System. Ohno utilized the Kanban method for Toyota’s sake with great success and we can count the Just In Time concept and Lean Manufacturing amongst his groundbreaking creations. Which means you can do the same for your small business or startup too, drawing from what he found works flawlessly.

So Where Does a Kanban Board’s Secret Lie?

We already mentioned that, but Kanban is extremely clean. No clutter means you can focus on the important things. And focusing on the important things is way easier when you’ve got everything visualized. Both physical Kanban boards and Kanban-based software frequently use specific colors suited to a certain workflow for additional visual cues.

So for example, you can use a green colored visualization for the work in progress across all your divisions while the completed tasks are yellow. Or you can “reserve” a color for the whole workflow of a department (e.g. Software developers get red and digital marketers get purple).

Kanban boards’ simplicity is more than crucial as we’ve seen way too many people who overburden themselves by using too much or too complex tools. As you can guess, such a situation actually does more harm than benefits.

But isn’t Kanban too limited, you might ask.

Not at all. The beauty of Kanban’s simplicity is that it’s incredibly flexible and expandable. If you think about it, the “Awaiting production”, “In progress” and “Completed” graphs can be applied to every single compartment of any business. They can be fitted to your business’s operational narrative like these two Trello-based examples show:

Kanban Board layout type 1

Kanban board in small business and startups.

On Kanban software and Cronforce

We’re mentioning Trello for two reasons. First, it’s one of the best tools utilizing the Kanban method and doing so with extreme finesse. Second, because we’re actually in the finishing stages of integrating it into Cronforce’s rich portfolio of 3rd party integrations. Combining Trello’s lean approach to workflows and project management with our abundance of features will provide any business of any scale with a powerful tool to tackle organization.

In addition to everything mentioned beforehand, the Kanban method is especially valuable for remote teams. It facilitates better delegation of responsibilities and improves the flow of communiacation among teams (and especially between supervisors and the employees they oversee). A trend that’s becoming more and more common, remote-based companies are the ones who benefit the most from organizational tools like Trello or Cronforce. There’s a reason most of the digital-era businesses you’ll encounter utilize Kanban boards and improve the concept’s benefits with an intelligent software tool.

A piece of advice from us if you haven’t tried out Kanban boards yet: grab a whiteboard and some sticky notes or a Kanban-type software. Give our free trial a shot to complement the Kanban way of doing things. It will be a completely free testing period to check out how much more organized your business and team, could be. We know Kanban boards definitely made a change to our workflow – and how productive we were. There’s a high chance the same will hold true for you too.

The Cronforce.com team.