Five Lessons from Successful Kanban Implementations

Kanban is a workflow management and project management system that helps to define, manage, and improve processes. It is designed to increase visibility into workflows, operations, and workflows. Kanban can be leveraged in two ways: a physical board or a digitalized version.
A well-functioning Kanban system allows you to see the progress of projects and processes and allows you to continually discover improvement opportunities.
Kanban delivers these agility attributes and offers companies and teams an evolutionary approach to Agile. It allows for process tailoring while keeping the focus on customers and delivering results.
Although Kanban is simple and straightforward, many companies hesitate to implement Kanban practices due to preconceived notions about resistance to change, cost to implement, and concerns about interrupting processes and ROI.
Let’s examine five case studies from customers that have successfully implemented Kanban in order to disprove this myth and show the benefits of Kanban project managing.
Increase visibility and improve work flow across distributed teams
SCHLENK, a global manufacturer metal powders, pigments and foils, realized the benefits of scaling Kanban across distributed teams to efficiently manage and execute projects and strengthen business processes. They wanted to improve their workflow and visibility across teams and projects, as they operate in a highly regulated industry with long review cycles and multiple testing stages before a product is approved.
SCHLENK began by visualizing the work of all teams using Kanban boards. This allowed everyone to check the progress of work, determine who is responsible for it, and assess the next steps.
The ability to visualize the workflow and all items being processed made it possible for process blockers and dependencies to be unhidden. This allowed for a better understanding of the relevancy of different tasks.
Increase collaboration and use of resources
SSOE Group, a global delivery firm for architecture, engineering, and construction management, was similarly able gain better visibility into work flow across remote teams to better allocate its resources and improve collaboration.
SSOE employees have specialized skills, for example. Some tasks cannot be done by more than one person. Visualization of work enabled team members to transfer non-specialized work items directly to other team members, thereby improving everyone’s time.
This provided more opportunities to mentor and allowed junior-level staff members to jump in to learn new skills, and gain operational knowledge.
Automate your Workflow to See the Big Picture
GE Aviation Czech (GEAC), a leading provider of aircraft engines, components and engines around the world, needed to coordinate hundreds of engineers working on hardware that had to pass rigorous testing.
Before implementing Kanban, GEAC used Gantt chart that, according to their Instrumentation project manager, gave little support to drive day-to-day work. It was difficult to understand which teams had to prioritize and what could be delivered later.
Team members often became overwhelmed without an understanding of the work flow and its magnitude. The company first created and adjusted digital Kanban boards for each department. It then built a network to support the highly personalized workflows that were tailored to their employees’ and teams’ needs.
This enabled real-time visibility to all concurrent projects and dependencies, which strategically mapped back towards a common goal that teams could achieve.

Five Lessons from Successful Kanban Implementations
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