Why is Kanban Such an Efficient Scheduling System?

If you’ve ever worked in a team environment, you’ll understand the problems associated with improving their efficiency. You’ll have no doubt tried many different ways to ensure tasks and schedules are kept up to date, milestones met and, importantly, that people know what everyone else is doing.

Of course, “knowing what everyone else is doing” is a bit of a trite statement. Do we really need to know what everyone is up to right now? Do we need to know what they’re doing tomorrow, next week, the week after? Is it relevant and will our own work be affected by it? Or will it simply give us more clutter?

The first thing that happens when a team gets together to work on a project is that everyone shares a calendar. And suddenly everyone’s calendar is a mess, full of clutter and bright colours.

And, because a few people haven’t switched off their personal details, you also know that Geoff has a date with Maria on Thursday night. Enlightening.

Kanban aims to be the solution to this.

Kanban’s roots are in lean manufacturing, and it developed out of a need to keep things simple. Manufacturing and the acquisition of supplies and components were cumbersome and complicated and often inaccurate. Because the stock was ordered in advance based on forecasts, it meant that changes further down the line would result in stock that was no longer needed. And this meant costly waste.

Kanban translates from the original Japanese as “signal card”, and that name hints at its origins.

In its most simple state, when a line was running low of stock, a card was taken to the operations manager who would arrange for more to be made, or order the resources in. It was simple, so simple the same concept has now found its way into other areas of business.

From software development (where it found a natural home) to training and planning, Kanban has revolutionised how things get done.

Visual, uncluttered

The beauty of Kanban is that it allows for all the benefits that a shared calendar promised, without all the clutter.

It gives a visual snapshot of what needs to be done, what’s being done and what is complete, and it’s simple. What’s more, when coupled with the power of Visual Planning, it gives managers and stakeholders unprecedented control over their own tasks and a simple way to update everyone at once.

Visual Planning 5.3 brings Kanban to visual scheduling and makes it even easier.

Using a well-known and understood card system, much like any other Kanban solution, the status of all current plans is visible. A double-click is all it takes to drill down for more details, and you’ll never see the things that aren’t relevant or important to your current schedule.

What’s more, if you need to change the status of a card, simply drag it across and it’s updated immediately.

Say goodbye to meetings

Status meetings should no longer happen. All the information the manager needs is now at his or her fingertips. There’s simply no need to update them, no need to give detail to the summary, everything is right there.

The efficiency benefits from this new addition to the Visual Planning toolkit alone make it a release worth watching, but there’s even more on the way.

Visual Planning is about to revolutionise the way you plan and schedule everything.

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