Kanban Board for Production and Publication of Homeschool Materials

Customer story

Sonlight Homeschool Curriculum

Industry: Homeschool curriculum programs

Use case: Managing production and publication

Organization: Sonlight - Christian homeschool curriculum company

Favorite feature: Analytics

Sonlight aims at providing families with the complete homeschool curriculum program, including educational materials packages that inspire children and guidelines that help their parents.

Layout designer at Sonlight

Read an interview with Colleen Reusche on how the production and publication of homeschool curriculum programs has been successfully managed via Kanban Tool.

Could you tell us what is the nature of your work?

Sonlight Curriculum is a Christian homeschool curriculum company specializing in literature-based homeschool curriculum programs. We provide complete homeschool curriculum packages and individual resources and materials so customers can build their own preschool or K-12 homeschool curriculum that best meets their family's needs. Sonlight serves homeschoolers in over 150 countries worldwide.

What kind of processes do you manage using Kanban Tool?

The team needed a solution to help visualize our workflow. We use Kanban Tool to help manage the production and publication of our homeschool materials. Our Product Development team members not only produce all the content for our curriculum, but we also edit, design, and print our materials within a yearly production cycle. Writers and layout designers need to communicate changes in content, corrections, and deadlines.

Could you describe your work flow?

Our products are updated every year. There are often corrections, book changes, and new products introduced. It was important we had a flexible workflow where we could add or remove tasks quickly since we continuously improve our products. Our workflow in each swimlane can range from a 3 step process all the way to a 20 step process.

What does your board structure look like?

We customize the terminology to fit our needs. Often there are items we include in a product, but are being written, or are awaiting final approval. The board helped the team view items that were pending, and items that were completed and sent to the printer.

Kanban board in education

Have you made any adjustments to improve your performance?

We created a number set of tasks for each grade level on our board. This way everyone knew the order of the tasks. We assigned colors for those tasks according to our roles in the department. (Writers were green, proofreaders were blue, typesetters were purple, critical review stages were black and sent to the printer was red. Tasks that were general we kept as yellow. Our most basic workflow (above) for products with little change, had a smaller workflow.

What are the most valuable features to you in Kanban Tool?

The board analytics are wonderful. They help management understand where we spend most of our time, the amount of work each team member is responsible for, and helps us plan for the next year of production so we can estimate our deadlines based on the amount of time we spend on each product.

What are the most important benefits of using Kanban Tool for you?

It was important we had a tool that was easy to learn and use. Assigning people tasks, and the ability to visually see who is responsible for the task, takes much of the guesswork out of who to ask about that piece of the product. It allows us to work together, reduce miscommunication, and get our products out the door faster!