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Whitepaper

Your Guide to Kanban


Visualize information, simplify project
management, and get work done

Clarity from complexity


How does kanban work?
Tame complexity with
visualization
Streamline communications and
grow accountability
Manage a responsible workforce
The technology is here

planview.info/kanban

Clarity from complexity


Moores Law bears out: every year, technology is speedier, more capable; every year, users must
keep pace faster and accomplish more. But people are not subject to the same evolutionary
standards as technology, so what are they to do with the deluge of helpful information that
threatens to overwhelm?
There is a simple yet revolutionary concept that brings clarity to projects and project data.
Nearly 70 years old but entirely modern, kanban Japanese for visual card is a method that
helps teams achieve their potential and projects, their goals.
Kanban was originally developed by Taiichi Ohno of Toyota Motor Corporation in 1947 as a
just-in-time system for Toyotas warehouses; the idea behind it was to control production and
increase productivity by being more flexible and efficient. Seeing its great success, project
managers saw how the concept could be leveraged for project management, and ran with it.

Kanban boards allow teams to visualize work and absorb


large amounts of information quickly, while providing
instant clarity to even the most complex projects.

How does kanban work?


Project management kanban systems feature a board onto which cards can be placed in
different columns to represent project workflows. The simplest boards have three columns
To do, In progress, and Done. As tasks progress, cards move through the columns.
Kanban boards allow teams to visualize work and absorb large amounts of information
quickly while providing instant clarity to even the most complex projects. Because all team
members can see who is working on what, the status of every task, and what is next in the
queue, the approach has been shown to engage team members, facilitate collaboration, and
boost team productivity.
Now digitized to accommodate mobile workforces and todays always-on culture, kanban
boards often serve as the pivot point for geographically dispersed teams, giving them
clear, up-to-the-moment, visual insight into project goals and status. Often cloud-based
and allowing mobile device access, digital kanban boards can improve both individual
performance and the management of projects by clarifying and simplifying processes.

Office workers are more productive nearly 20% more


when the information they need is visually displayed.

Tame complexity with visualization


In a complex business environment, project teams often feel bombarded by data from many
sources often too many to keep up with, and all of them seemingly important. What results
is information overload, inevitably followed by confusion, missed deadlines, and inefficient
use of resources. This last, according to CIO.com, is the number one reason for project
failure.1
These challenges can be mitigated. It has been scientifically proven that office workers are
more productive nearly 20% more when the information they need is visually displayed,
rather than the way traditional office software usually makes it available.2 This is not
surprising. Studies show that individuals process visuals 60,000 times faster than text, and that
60% of people are visual learners.3
Kanban boards, with their visual approach to information distribution, can help neutralize
cognitive overload, create certainty, clarify next steps, and promote easier buy-in and team
spirit. Over time, a ripple effect can take place. Knowledge transfer, joint problem solving,
and the ability to coordinate individual commitments is transformed.

1 Florentine, Sharon. "Why Are So Many IT Projects Failing?" CIO.com. 1 Dec. 2013. Web.
2 "Scientific Experiment Reveals Office Workers Are Wasting 20 per Cent of Their Mental
Resources by Using Traditional Office Software." MindJet. 2015. Web.
3 Wilson, Ken. "Infographic: Why Visuals Communicate Better than Words." SmartDraw. 1
Jan. 2014. Web.

The best digital kanban tools are underpinned by social


features such as conversation chains, feedback features,
and activity streams.

Streamline communications and grow


accountability
Open communication and transparency reinforces good behavior and develops personal
accountability. The best digital kanban tools are underpinned by social features such as
conversation chains, feedback features, and activity streams. Among other things, these allow
team members to discuss issues with each other issues that may have bottlenecked projects
in the past when discussion was limited to scheduled meetings.
These social attributes provide insight not only into who is working on what and which tasks
have been completed, but who is in possession of what information. This can speed time to
project delivery, and reduce frustration for individuals tasked with ferreting out key data in a
timely manner.
Using these tools effectively can help project managers show, reward, and shape team
behavior. They will benefit from a work atmosphere characterized by the will to help, the desire
for project and team success, and members who feel accountable for their own performance.
Kanban tools can help team members obtain information and make swift decisions, then
connect effectively to others within the organization who can contribute to their work.

Companies with 9 engaged employees for every


disengaged employee experience 147% higher earnings
per share than their competition.

Manage a responsible workforce


Research conducted by the Boston Consulting Group shows that managers in complex
organizations spend up to 40% of their time writing reports and up to 60% coordinating
meetings.4
The kanban ethos is one of self-organization and engagement. Team members are
empowered to get started on projects; they can view project and task status, and dont have
to wait for permissions to engage with each other. Once the project manager sets the goals
and milestones, the team can move forward. And with insight into the project and resources
from anywhere, the project manager wont have to schedule or attend endless touch-base
meetings.
A modern, increasingly popular alternative to traditional, top-down management is the
flatter organizational structure. Digital kanban boards can be key to facilitating this process.
Managers can prioritize tasks as team members become more involved in decision-making
and self-organization.
The upshot of this approach is that individual employees feel like team members, included in
the process and as part of the decision-making mechanism. Engaging employees isnt just a
workshop exercise: theres value in it. According to a Gallup study on employee engagement,
companies with 9 engaged employees for every disengaged employee experience 147%
higher earnings per share than their competition.5 In todays market, every edge over the
competition is one worth fighting for.

4 Trapp, Roger. "Operating In A Complex World Does Not Have To Be Complicated." Forbes.
31 Mar. 2014. Web.
5 Sorenson, Susan. "How Employee Engagement Drives Growth." Gallup. Gallup, 20 June
2013. Web.

It supports goal-driven team collaboration with an


intuitive approach that empowers teams no matter
where they are in the company or geographically, to
deliver work on time.

The technology is here


Todays world is 24/7. Near-ubiquitous connectivity creates an ever more compelling case for
a better approach to project management, one that strips away complexity and shows whats
needed in a format thats easy to act on.
For organizations looking for a new way to get work done, theres Projectplace, a part of
Planview, kanban-driven, project collaboration. It supports goal-driven team collaboration
with an intuitive approach that empowers teams no matter where they are in the company or
geographically, to deliver work on time.
This secure and scalable tool was designed to help organizations by:
Empowering teams to self-organize
Using intuitive kanban boards and integrated Gantt charts to plan and execute projects
Streamlining document collaboration with robust sharing, security, and version control
Supporing collaboration across and beyond the enterprise even beyond the firewall
Teams can kick-off projects in minutes, including members across the aisle or time zones.
No matter if teams are coordinating a product launch between Marketing and Engineering,
managing the day-to-day activities of IT, or creating professional services SOWs, Projectplace
can help organizations manage, communicate, and collaborate on projects to drive results.
The secure platform encourages communication and document sharing, and its integrated
Gantt chart autocreates timelines, including milestones and activity scheduling, that maps
to the kanban board, for complete visibility and management oversight. This complete
approach enables virtual teams to move communication out of siloed emails and gives all
members a more visual and complete understanding of project scope, status, milestones,
and issues.

Take Projectplace for a test drive and see if


its right for your organization.
Visit Planview.info/kanban to experience it.

About Planview
Planview is a global leader in portfolio management and project collaboration. From small teams
to large enterprises, leaders in every industry rely on the company's cloud solutions to empower
organizations to reach their goals and drive results by optimizing the capacity of their people
and financial resources. Planview's singular focus fuels a deep commitment to innovation and
customer success.
For more information, visit Planview.com and Projectplace.com.

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