What is Kanban? The Basics That You Need to Know

January 18, 2024
Natalie Thorburn

Kanban is an up-and-coming digital project management platform that originated in Japan. The word ‘kanban’ translates to ‘visual signal’ in Japanese, referring to the way the Kansan platform focuses on the visualisation of tasks.


Originally, Kanban was developed to support manufacturing companies to streamline operations and reduce waste production. However, in the modern-day, the use of the Kanban mythology can increase productivity, workflow, and collaboration within businesses of all industries, including healthcare and software development.


This article will explore the Kanban digital project management platform in more detail, focusing on its key principles and benefits.


What is Kanban?

Put simply, Kanban is a platform that uses a visual online board to represent workflow. The visual board has several columns that businesses can use to create a roadmap for their daily operations or work tasks.


The visual aspects of Kanban are what set it aside from other project management tools, and it’s one of the most attractive components of this particular tool. Businesses can use their digital Kanban visual boards to clearly visualise their upcoming tasks and create a smooth workflow from one stage to another.


What Are the Key Principles of Kanban?

Kanban has several core principles, all of which play an important role in making this platform a huge success. The key principles of Kanban include:

  • Visualisation - the Kanban visual board is the platform’s distinguishing feature, and it makes the visualisation of workflow simple and eye-catching. Employees can use the visual board to clearly see which tasks haven’t been started, are in progress, or have been completed, streamlining workflow and operations.
  • Work in Progress (WIP) limits - Kanban focuses on the limitation of tasks to prevent business teams from taking on too many tasks at once. The aim of WIP limits is to reduce multitasking and burnout, and improve focus and efficiency.
  • Pull system - Kanban operates on a pull system, which means the platform pulls tasks from one stage to the next only when there is enough capacity for these tasks. The pull system links closely with the WIP limits to ensure employees can only accept a certain number of tasks at any one time.

What Are the Benefits of Using the Kanban Platform?

There are several reasons why Kanban has become such a popular choice for businesses within various industries and sectors, and it is one of the leading digital project management tools on the market. It offers a wide range of benefits unmatched by competing products and platforms.

Let’s take a look at the many benefits that businesses can experience by using Kanban over the other digital project management platforms that are available today.


Easier visualisation of workflow and work tasks

One of the key advantages to choosing Kanban over other less aesthetically focused platforms is the ease of visualisation that it offers. Kanban makes workflow charts and roadmaps look attractive and appealing with its visual tools.


The Kanban platform has aesthetic components that make it enjoyable to use and look at without compromising on quality or usability. It works just as well as any other project management tool and offers the same functionality, but its visual elements are one step ahead.


Increased visibility of workflow

The aesthetically pleasing features of Kanban allow business owners, managers, and employees to view work tasks clearly. They can visualise workflow with ease and identify which tasks have been completed, are in progress, or are yet to be started.


Increased workflow visibility enables businesses to make better choices and adjust their operations to meet deadlines. Kanban makes it obvious which tasks are due soon or are already overdue so project managers can take action to ensure their teams complete important or overdue tasks immediately.


Improved collaboration and teamwork

Kanban promotes collaboration by creating a clear layout of project workflows and tasks. Because every employee who has access to the company’s Kanban login details will be able to access the visual boards on the platform, every member of the team can stay well informed of the progress of each task.


Employees can view the overall Kanban visual board or select individual tasks when needed to see more details about them. They can raise any questions or concerns that they have about a particular task on the Kanban platform to their managers if needed.

Increased employee and client satisfaction

Increased collaboration in the workplace can directly lead to higher employee satisfaction. When workers feel that they are being heard by the rest of their team and that their opinions are valued, they are more likely to feel content at work.

Satisfied employees will remain loyal to their employers they work for and spread a positive word about the company they work for. All of this contributes to a stronger business reputation, further boosting collaboration and success.

Similarly, using a high-quality project management tool like Kanban improves client satisfaction. Kanban streamlines workflows and ensures employees meet their task deadlines for speedy project delivery to clients. Quick and efficient project deliveries mean a happy client base and increased client loyalty!

Because it’s easy to spot mistakes, errors, and bottlenecks on the Kanban visual board, businesses are less likely to deliver incorrect or inaccurate projects to their clients. Fewer errors and issues create a professional and reliable reputation that improves client retention and business success.


Enhanced operational efficiency

Kanban has a visually simplified interface and promotes collaboration through the sharing of tasks and workflows. It also clearly displays incoming deadlines or overdue tasks, enabling project managers to delegate these tasks and ensure they’re completed quickly.


For all of these reasons, Kanban can be beneficial for enhancing operational efficiency within a business. The platform promotes better alignment between business goals and execution, eliminating intermediary stages and speeding up the project completion process.

With improved efficiency in workflows, businesses can streamline tasks, improve the usage of their resources, and reduce overhead costs.


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