5.0 Learning Kanban

Before you try to manage a project on your own, it is imperative to get to know and learn about Kanban first. It can be done by taking guidelines from a team working with Kanban, attending specific training and workshops pertaining to the technique. Michael Alexander, the trainer and coach of SolutionsIQ, conceded that in the case that your team is passionate and eager enough to learn, it is possible that you may not need a coach. However, for a project team that is reluctant to change and evolve, the presence of a coach becomes necessary to develop Lean-Agile habits and understanding in the team.

Mistakes in Implementation of Kanban #

There are some serious mistakes associated with the implementation of Kanban. One of the most common one is trying to adopt too many changes at once. Roybal explained it by narrating that companies should aim to go slow and go about only half a mile rather than 10 miles in the first month. Furthermore, Grumbaugh pointed out that another common error is not setting priorities straight and moving in a zig-zag pattern from one process to the other. He recommended that once you have started one process, do not move to any other activity until the first one is completed.

Kanban System Failures and their Prevention #

Anderson presented the view that Kanban has been mainstreamed in the current era. Thus, people want solutions to their challenges in project management rather than adhering to a process like the previous adherents. He gave two key reasons why PM fail with the implementation of Kanban.

  • A manager with sound knowledge of Kanban tries to implement it into the organization where the project team and stakeholders are not ready
  • Lack of Kanban training and knowledge before implementation. Anderson said that it can result in the failure of Kanban to improve the project flow and outcomes.

Anderson explained that the first problem can arise from an over-ambitious coach who is concerned about demonstrating his own expertise without paying heed to the preferences of his project team and stakeholders. The second problem is clearly a case of lack of training and shallow understanding of the change agent. In some cases, it can be due to personality traits of the change agent such as arrogance and the belief that they already know it all.

The Use of Smartsheet to Create Kanban Boards #

Smartsheets have a spreadsheet layout and can be used as a Kanban board if it meets the needs of the project. The information displayed on the card sheets includes images, color-coding for complex tasks and custom fields. Cards can then be organized into lanes for visual convenience. Similarly, the flow of work can be analyzed from different perspectives by changing lanes of the cards. The work status on board can be changed by dropping and dragging cards through lanes.

Project managers can use the robust collaboration tool to communicate updates and set reminders. You can save all of your project materials in one place, accessible from anywhere, through in-app purchases, discussions and attachments. To promote openness and keep everyone on the same page, you may simply share information with stakeholders and vendors outside the organization. To handle project information, you can easily move between Grid, Gantt, and Calendar views. You may also learn how the intuitive Smartsheet is used and then create a Kanban board. This board can be useful whether you are working on a personal task or a complex project at work.