A Kanban Board is the Tool You Need to be on Top of Your Projects

A Kanban Board is the Tool You Need to be on Top of Your Projects

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Monday, 06 March 2017 04:17

We have all being told that in order to be productive we need to write down a list of things to do. As a matter of fact, to-do lists are the most popular thing among productivity junkies.
Unfortunately, many drawn their own list ending up with a cluttered piece of paper that will be forgotten shortly after it is put together.
If you are in that group, Kanban boards can help you to make sense of your list by bringing action into the game...

What is a Kanban Board

Simply put, a Kanban board is a visualization method that adds "depth" to a to-do list.
Kanban boards consist of multiple columns where Items move from left to right, according to their degree of completion.
This way it is possible to understand at glance the status of a particular task/activity and to get an immediate feeling of the overall health and progress of the project.

The number of columns on a Kanban board varies from application to application. In general a variation of the simple "planned - in progress - done" three column style.

A more in-depth definition of Kanban board was given in a previous article and I warmly recommend you go check it out.


How to set up a Kanban Board

The number of columns you want to use ultimately depends on how your productive process is built up. Some processes can involve a large number of stages but it is important to remember that the Kanban board shall be a tool to increase productivity and it shall not enslave your Team in reporting continuously their status.

For example, in order to execute successfully a work on-site, a worker shall:

  1. gather the correct documentation first;
  2. gather the materials and tools he needs for the work;
  3. prepare the area where the work has to be executed;
  4. execute the work;
  5. clean up the area;
  6. return documents, materials and tools to their own place;
  7. inform your supervisor that the work is done.


You can clearly see that this is a seven steps process.
However, it is very unlikely that the worker will update your shared Kanban board at every step of the process... this would actually be a waste of his productive time.
So it makes sense to limit as much as possible the number of times the board has to be updated, reaching a compromise between the level of detail the board gives and the time it takes to keep it updated.

In construction, it is reasonable to change the status of and activity when the workers begin to deal with it (from "planned" to "in progress") and to mark it as "completed" once the workers are done with it and return to the on-site office for another assignment.

The image below illustrates this 4-steps process as it is built-in in the Workplan view of the Leansite Application.


leansite kanban concept


Note that in different working environments (where an employee is sitting in front of a screen the whole day), it might make sense to fragment the productive process into more stages in order to give an even better overview on the overall status of the Project. A typical example is a Sales Kanban board which might contain over 10 columns.
In this case, the user (Sales person) can quickly update the status of his/her own activities and this does not result in a loss of time or concentration. On the contrary, updating the status generally results in a productivity boost since it is seen by the employee as a small achievement.


How to use a Kanban Board

Using a Kanban board is pretty straight forward.
Your entire to-do list is placed into the leftmost column of the kanban board. There it can be re-organized and prioritized as necessary. Each activity/task on the list is called "card". 

The cards can be moved from left to right to the next column (stage of the productive process).
In general, only the card in the top of the pile can be moved to the next column. In fact, as result of prioritization, the first card represents the most important activitiy/taks to be executed.


leansite kanban board workplan


In the same way, activitiy/taks on other columns shall be executed in the order they are listed and moved to the next column (stage) as soon as they are dealt with.

Sticking to these simple rules ensures a constant workflow where the most important activitiy/taks are always done first.


Benefits of using a Kanban Board

Besides the obvious benefit of having the Project under fine control, Kanban boards can help understanding where additional resources are necessary.
The "planned" column (also known as backlog) is the only one that can have a large number of cards. All other columns should have just a bunch of cards. Ideally, only the cards that are due on the day.

When cards start to pile up under a particular column, this might be a sign that more resources are necessary to deal with the work in that particular stage.

Keeping an eye on the Kanban board at all times can greatly impact the effectiveness and efficiency of your productive process. A Kanban board specifically designed for Construction Teams is integrated into Leansite Workplan... you should give it a try :)

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Published in Workplan/

Read 302 times Last modified on Tuesday, 07 March 2017 05:12

Andrea Bronzini

Brilliant and committed professional.
Andrea has been working in construction industry since 2004 and he was certified as Passivhaus Consultant in 2010.
Among other skills, Andrea specialises in Sales and Marketing and collaborates with Leansite in quality of Marketing Consultant.

Website: andreabronzini.com