The development team here at Viewbix recently decided to review our processes and after much discussion we agreed to institute a more organized workflow using a Kanban board to track the status of our various releases and bugs. Our initial hesitation that this may be overkill for our relatively small team (we had a previous poor experience with the rigid Scrum process) was quickly overshadowed by the immediate improvements we saw in how we work together. There was clearer visibility for our business team as to where each task was in its cycle. Features and Bugs were broken down into small manageable tasks that can be pushed out quickly giving our customers the features they want faster. Bottlenecks were revealed that we previously didn’t know we had. Within a short period of time (and several runs to Office Depot for sticky notes) we were all won over and Kanban became somewhat of a company mantra with individuals going even further and starting to use personal Kanban boards.
A few of us were stuck late in the office this week working on a release. I volunteered to go pick up dinner from the local Sushi bar. We all put in our orders in advance and when I got to the restaurant I was frustrated to find the order wasn’t ready yet, but I waited patiently. After about 15 minutes a waitress noticed me still waiting and went to check on my order- turns out it had been prepared and sitting in a bag on the counter all along! Yes, a simple Kanban board for the sushi bar would have ensured that my order was properly moved from the “Prepared” column to the “Ready for Pickup” column and avoided customer frustration.
Is Kanban the ultimate answer for every organization? Maybe not- but give it a try. Like me, you may be surprised to find how a simple low tech solution can make such an impact in your organization.