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Synopsis

Need a fast way to increase productivity? Our Kanban Collection presentation provides customizable resource slides that you can download and customize for any business need. It includes slides for Kanban templates, Features backlogs, work in progress limits, lead times, Kanban graphs, plus many more. Let's review how these tools work, and how each one makes project management a whole lot easier and more efficient.

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Kanban

A Kanban board is a visual representation of the work process. Kanban can lead to major increases in personal productivity and across teams with just a small amount of effort. That's because Humans brains can process images 60,000X faster than text. Here you can see that each task is color coded to show who is responsible. Within minutes, Kanban can turn a chaotic mess of tasks into a shared, actionable view of what's been done, what's in progress, and what needs to be done next with color coded cards. 

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Now, companies of every size in every industry — such as Apple, Pixar, and Spotify — use it to efficiently manage projects and organize tasks in a clear, visual way. And I'll show you how they do it. For instance, Spotify implemented Kanban after they struggled to execute projects. They decided to go for a simple approach with just three sections: To Do, In Progress, and Done. This was so team members wouldn't get overwhelmed with tasks.

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Kanban designs can vary. In this example, tasks are organized by lanes, or departments, instead of by individual team members. This is a great way to visualize and sync up on a project that runs across multiple teams. (Slide 6)

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This board combines both styles for a more detailed view, segmented into new requests, in-progress tasks, and completed tasks. The cards show the team member and department responsible for each task. (Slide 10)

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Features backlog

Kanban is a powerful and flexible tool that can help teams work smarter — not harder — and streamline processes. Because of that, its popular with software teams, where there's a continuous flow of development requirements, enhancements, and bug fixes that come in and need to be sorted.

Since these new tasks or features can pile up, Kanban utilizes a Features Backlog. It's important to make a backlog manageable and visualize a time line for completion. This board organizes tasks by status and progress. The board shows new features that have been requested, ones that have been triaged — or sorted out and assigned already — and ones that are in progress or near completion. Teams can choose to remove the divided sections if they want and just list out the features instead. (Slide 17)

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WIP (work in progress) limit and lead time

The Kanban system was first invented by Toyota in the early 1940s as a way to keep track of products. Each card they used contained important information such as the part number, source information, and destination information. The system made sure that Toyota didn't spend money on parts that weren't needed. It was so successful that Toyota went from operating at a loss to the global competitor it is today. Nowadays, Toyota still uses Kanban to manage its car production process and trim wasteful spending. It's good for managing waste - but what's the best way to make sure there are enough team members to get everything done?

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If a backlog gets too long and there are too many tasks in progress, it's going to be a bottleneck, and team members will experience burnout. That's not sustainable. The way to get around that is through a simple calculation called the Work in Progress Limit. First, calculate process efficiency by dividing the time spent on value-adding tasks by the overall time spent on tasks. Then, divide the total number of team members by that efficiency, and you'll get the maximum number of tasks that should be in progress. Past that amount, and work will be a slog.(Slide 13)

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A perfect use for this is a customer service response queue, where it's almost impossible to plan what kind of calls will come in and what the nature of those calls will be. However, you can make some general assumptions to plan capacity to meet that demand. In the example below, we can see just how impactful that Work in Progress Limit is. The lead time is the amount of time it takes from a task received to a task delivered. Once the work-in-progress limit was used, lead times were shortened considerably and tasks were completed much more efficiently. (Slide 15)

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Graphs

For even more visualizations, use these graphs to plot out the amount of time spent in each phase of development. The number above each column represents the number of tasks involved. This cumulative flow diagram plots out every phase of development against each other. (Slides 22 and 24)

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Conclusion

Kanban boards will only become more popular with the shift to remote work. We can already see it with the rise of Kanban platforms like Jira and Trello. They provide a quick way to sync between teams, no matter where they are. But Kanban boards are only effective when they take into account the limitations of a team, which is why it's so important to set a work-in-progress limit and prioritize the most important tasks with the help of the tools in this collection. Remember: you can download and customize this Kanban Collection presentation for all your project management needs to save time and hours of work. 

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