Planning with Kanban
Why do we need to plan? Well, for the simple reason that human beings have the tendency to forget things! Yes, we often lie to ourselves saying that “ I do not need to write this down, I will remember it” and yet, we end up forgetting about it completely. What if, we had a platform where we can not only make a note of the activities to be done but also keep a track of it on every stage? A software that would enable us to visualize our plans! A software that would never let us forget again! The good news, we do have a system but we are not completely aware of it. Let us decode kanban and how we can use the kanban board in our daily life. You can take a practical approach to know about it with the Kanban Project which is a free kanban tool.
Kanban is a Japanese term that roughly translates to “signboards”. Therefore, you can imagine it this way- A signboard that highlights your plans. Kanban was first used in the manufacturing sector in the Toyota Production System. Taiichi Ohno is credited as the developer of the Kanban system, which he used to achieve a Just-in-time inventory. Therefore, Kanban was first used in the car manufacturing sector and from there on, it has travelled to the software development system to be used as a process improvement tool along with agile.
But, Is Kanban applicable only in these industries?
The answer is NO. Kanban can be used by everyone to plan their daily activities. Let us take the example of a doctor and a teacher and also understand the different component in a Kanban Board. A typical Kanban board will consist of the following: Product backlogs, Kanban cards, Kanban columns, Swimlanes and the delivery points.
Imagine you are a doctor. Now, the first thing that you would do when a patient comes to you is record it. This is recorded in the product backlogs part. Now, the patient would pass through various stages like initial consultancy, conducting tests, Operations, recovery stage. These stages are what comprises the Kanban columns. Therefore each of these stages would be a column in a Kanban Board. Now comes the kanban cards. These are kind of sticky notes that one would place in the Kanban board inside the kanban columns to highlight the work to be done. For example, a doctor can have a kanban card that says “run blood test” or “check pulse rate” inside the column “conducting tests”. Similarly, he can have cards that say “remove blood cloth” and “insert stent” under the “operation” column.
Now, what if a new patient comes? How do you record it?
This is where the Swimlanes in Kanban comes into play. These swimlanes are horizontal lines in a Kanban board that separates one product from the other. In our case, one patient from the other. Therefore, when a new patient’s data has to be recorded, a swimlane is created and the patient is entered into the backlog. The delivery point in a no brainer. Once the patient is treated and ready to be discharged, he or she is moved to the delivery point and exits the board. Thus, your task is completed.
On similar lines, in the education sector, a teacher can use kanban project to plan his classes better. A student can use it to keep a track of the homework and quizzes. The possibilities are limitless. Thus, the common misconception that Kanban is used only in lean manufacturing and software development sector is not true.
Why Kanban Project?
Although there are a number of kanban software in the market, we found some serious limitations and decided to go with the Kanban Project. Imagine for a second that THERE ARE NO SWIMLANES!!. So, in our above example how do you record different patients!. That is exactly the problem with Trello which is a prominent name in the market.
Again, there are limitations on the free version of the other software. None of them is completely free. Therefore to help small teams and everyday people plan better with Kanban, we came up with it after extensive market study.