As a marketer in the ITSM space I am probably a little guilty of knowing all the ITSM buzzwords but not so much about the drilled-down processes involved in a lot of the terminology I hear on a daily basis. I know that I need to be more agile, and having multiple deadlines on many projects means I was never going to pass up the chance to improve the way I worked. So I jumped at the opportunity to test out the new Spotlight on Kanban course.
To give you a little insight, my current way of organising myself and communicating with clients involves 2 diaries, a notebook, Slack, Whats App, Messenger, text, email & my phone. It can get confusing and difficult especially on collaborative projects. I knew that workers in manufacturing and in the public sector have used Kanban boards for many years, you only have to look at the DWP digital or NHS digital twitter feeds to see their workflow and projects visualised in post-it note glory.
It seems that those in the know in IT service management love to get involved in Kanban, so I was very curious: could Kanban help me get more organised? Recently I’d also attended a service design hackathon and saw Kanban in all its glory being used to plan our tasks for the day and stay on track. I was impressed but I didn’t know where to start or have the confidence to go it alone and put into practice what I had gleaned from the hackathon.
What I knew at the beginning was that Kanban was invented by Toyota as a way to make their factories run more efficiently using visual communications. I knew it was a widely touted case study of successful manufacturing process. We know a picture tells a thousand words but did you also know that 65% of the population are visual learners? This means that this type of system is instantly more in tune with our brains. Coupled with our average attention span of 8 seconds, no wonder Toyota made such a success of the system.
It makes perfect sense for any business to want to operate in a leaner and more agile way, it forms a fundamental technique of survival in the ever changing digital world. Improved productivity being the desired output for these methodologies.
What appealed to me was improving my flow and delivering on projects more quickly by recognising potential bottlenecks in the process as well as keeping track of multiple projects and tasks without anything slipping through the net. Reviewing time taken and other key drivers in the process would prove to be extremely useful in the future for time planning for deadlines.
Kanban is user friendly and allows the individual and team to be in control, self manage and self review which is an essential tool to have in any employment. It also supports the situation that many teams are not all in the same physical location at the same time but need to collaborate efficiently. The introduction to Kanban in the Spotlight course broke the whole process down in easy lessons, starting with the history and the value added by this method which sounded like a business holy grail to work towards.
The course has given me the confidence to start to integrate this way of working in my own world gradually and to review my progress. I am not quite ready to go crazy with the post-it notes (yet) but I am managing some Trello boards, using this free tool to get started for my own workflow and in collaboration with clients I work remotely for.
These I am embracing with enthusiasm and I'll let you into a secret, I am loving the new flow!
Find out about the course here.