Lean Kanban Project ManagementThe sensible way of getting things done

Lean Kanban is a way of managing a process, that involves an iterative type of approach to work, great amounts of flexibility and high levels of team interaction and collaboration. A typical element of Lean Kanban is visualization of the process on a task board in order to gain insight to the way the process is operated and to better manage it.

Step 1: Set it up

First, set up the team in small, cross-functional groups, if possible. The groups should be matching the requirements of the process and retain some level of autonomy. Also, decide on an iteration's length and its necessity in general. The iteration should correspond to the nature of the work, the product vision, the available resources and the set success criteria - it will have an impact on the speed of work.

Step 2: Plan it

Prepare a set of policies - a strategy - that the entire team will be familiar with, to ensure that you are all on the same page and have access to the big picture - this will make the team better motivated and better prepared to work in a way that will suit the demand.

Lean Kanban project management

Step 3: Design a process

A Lean Kanban system is visualized on a task board, that works on splitting the workflow into columns, each of which represents a single stage of the process. Work items get placed in the columns and then moved along the process steps as they make progress.

Step 4: Limit the WIP

A crucial part of Lean Kanban Project management is putting a limit on how many tasks can be ongoing at any one time (work in progress). Thanks to this limitation, the team is void of the need to multi-task, thereby able to concentrate fully on a specific task at hand. This also significantly shortens the delivery time and promotes greater job satisfaction, which reflects on productivity.

Step 5: Build

Get to work - built the product / service you're meant to. While getting the work under-way, keep the set policies and WIP limits in mind - and on the board. Also, ensure, that there is person that will be overlooking the general state of the newly set ways - a Kanban sponsor or chnage manager. This will greatly increase the project's chances of success.

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Step 6: Measure

As the work gets done and progress happens, it will be beneficial for you to monitor the process and measure its properties - throughput, lead & cycle time, time report, breakdown charts. There are plenty of ready-made analytics in Lean Kanban project management tools, widely available online.

Step 7: Review

As you get to see the actual value in the process you've set up (through the analytics), you'll be able to decide whether the estimations you made are correct and if the overall process does follow the designed steps or whether it needs altering.
The reviews should be conducted on a regular basis, as processes do tend to evolve and - hopefully - streamline with time. Since the crucial goal of Lean Kanban is continuous improvement - pin-pointing these required changes and implementing changes to the process are crucial.

Step 8: Assess

A just as valid outcome of a review may be deciding that the right step is to actually stop the new ways and either pivot the goals or abandon the new scheme altogether. Experimenting is a valid part of any business conduct and - obviously - lessons can be learned from both success and failure. It's hardly ever beneficial to stick to a once chosen path, only because it seems easier than moving on.


This may seem like a lot of requirements, but once you get started, they follow each other in a logical and natural way, making the processes easier and more efficient. Make the job of introducing Lean Kanban project management easier for yourself by testing Kanban Tool, which provides not only the task board, but all the Lean Kanban attributes too - WIP limits, custom process boards, extensive analytics and time tracking.


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