When it comes to managing work and information effectively, every organization has its own unique requirements and objectives. That’s one of the major reasons why many organizations cannot use rigid and one-dimensional management tools as they force them to do things in a certain way. The ideal way to organize and manage work and information is by creating custom and highly tailored processes and workflows across different teams and departments that enable you to achieve sustainable success in the long run.
KanBo is the most comprehensive yet elegant work management tool that provides organizations with the basic building blocks that can be used to create tailored work environments. This ensures enhanced coordination and collaboration between teams and team members, higher informational transparency and visibility, improved security and privacy, better productivity as well as employee satisfaction. Here is how KanBo can help your organization manage work and information.
Kanbo helps your organization manage work and information
1. Understanding KanBo Structure and How It Works
Many organizations struggle to manage and organize work that’s scattered across multiple channels and silos including emails, chats, spreadsheets, and memos. The absence of one central source of information makes it quite difficult to keep track of progress and manage work effectively. That’s where KanBo enables organizations to create a singular working space that features high visibility and transparency of information ensuring efficient collaboration.
How to Manage Work in KanBo
Before deploying KanBo as your organization’s primary work management tool, it is important to understand the fundamentals of its structure. This will enable managers, team leaders, and members to learn about the scope of their roles and how they can leverage and interact with a variety of features to enhance their productivity.
- Board Collections – Board collections are basically groups of boards that allow users to consolidate and manage all the relevant information in one central location that’s required to accomplish work and complete a variety of tasks.
- Board Groups – Board collections contain board groups that enable users to further structure and sub-categorize their information. If board collections are countries then board groups can be cities.
- Boards – Each board group can have a number of boards related to certain teams or projects. They allow managers along with employees to structure and manage large volumes of information in a coherent and well-organized way. Boards aren’t exclusive so they can be a part of different board groups and collections. Boards have multiple features that you can use.
- Every board has a list of members on the top which you can use to find out who is currently available and who isn’t.
- One of the most crucial elements of any KanBo board is lists which are vertical catalogs that contain categorized information.
- Another essential element of KanBo is cards that contain information about a certain aspect of a project or task.
- Then there are views that allow managers and team members to see information from different perspectives.
Examples of Board Collections
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KanBo structure isn’t rigid like many other tools that are used across the industry. Instead, it provides agility and flexibility through basic building blocks such as board collections, groups, boards, cards, and lists that enable each business to organize, manage, and categorize information related to different projects and teams the way they want.
How KanBo Structure Enhances Productivity
KanBo isn’t only intuitive and user-friendly as it provides all the features you need to get the job done ensuring compliance with organizational culture and policies. Here’s how KanBo helps your organization to be more productive.
- Decentralized Management – KanBo allows organizations to implement a decentralized management system. It means that you don’t have to follow a hierarchical decision-making structure where all decisions and work processes are managed at the top level. This way every concerned team member can contribute and allow for a more flexible and agile work environment.
- Work Management – KanBo offers all the building blocks to an organization to develop and deploy structures that allow them to create elaborate workflows which contain fewer redundancies, bottlenecks, and dependencies. This ensures that your teams can be more productive while reducing any potential waste of time and financial resources.
- Information Visibility and Transparency – One of the best features of the KanBo structure is that it keeps all the relevant information at the forefront of organizational priorities. With enhanced transparency of information, there is little to no communication gap which can lead to loss of productivity, lack of understanding of job roles, and negative impact on business revenue. KanBo structure enables organizations to make information accessible.
2. Organizing Work in KanBo for Optimal Efficiency
Twenty-first-century organizations need to ensure operational efficiency at every level for sustainable success. That becomes a major challenge when businesses are trying to scale and have to manage large volumes of work and information across different projects and departments. Without an efficient work management infrastructure, a lack of communication and collaboration can have a negative impact on productivity and efficiency.
It has become crucial for organizations to develop and implement productive and efficient ways to manage and organize high volumes of work while ensuring resource efficiency. KanBo delivers an agile, versatile, and reliable work organization and management solution to organizations in different industries.
Using Board Collections for Work Management
KanBo is an agile work management tool that can address the needs of all types of organizations including startups and large-scale enterprises. The first step is to identify the organization’s workflow and operational process which you can recreate using board collections. Your board collections can be categorized based on teams, clients, types of clients, business segments, products, brands, and more.
These are simply a few examples and you can structure and organize work in countless ways depending on your organizational goals and objectives. KanBo’s board collections can be used for a time being to evaluate whether a particular work structure works for your organization or not and you can optimize it even further accordingly.
Workflow Representation through Board Creation and Design
For further categorizing and organizing your work, you can create dedicated boards for each task or project. Boards will generally depend on your board collections. For example, if you have made a board collection of Teams, then the boards will include multiple organizational teams such as Sales, Marketing, IT, and more. Boards can also be divided like board collections depending on a number of factors including teams, region, type of work, clients, types of clients, brands, products, business segments and more.
With boards, you have all the relevant information right in front of you which makes it a lot easier to evaluate different aspects of the project and ensure you are making informed decisions. After you have created boards, you can design and style them to mirror the organization’s work process. Some of the styles you can use to do so include the following:
- Status – When you design your board’s workflow based on stages or phases of a business process.
- Lists – When you have multiple categories of information within a certain board, it is a better idea to design your board based on lists with each list containing relevant information.
- Labels – This is another essential feature of KanBo which enables you to label a wide variety of elements in your boards so you have access to contextual information as well.
Using Cards, Sub-Cards and To-Dos to Break Down Your Work
Once you have designed and deployed a workflow that reflects your organization’s requirements and goals, you need to organize multiple aspects of your work for effective visualization and information transparency. You can use different components to achieve this including the following:
- Cards – Cards are at the core of work management as they play the role of a central hub of information for different aspects of your project and work process.
- Sub-Cards – When the information volume for a certain card becomes too overbearing, you can rely on sub-cards for further break down and categorization of work.
- To-Dos – It is an intuitive and user-friendly KanBo feature that allows users to keep track of everything that is in progress or needs to be done.
Inviting Team Members and Defining Permissions
After you have created a complete work process, you need to invite team members who will be tasked with getting the job done. You can invite team members when creating boards but organization and categorization of work puts you in a better position to understand different job roles. You will also need to define permissions so the users can only access what concerns them. This allows you to manage confidentiality and security. There are three different levels of permissions in a KanBo board.
- Owners – This gives users the highest level of access and authority in a board which allows them to change settings, view all activities in the stream, visit all board sections, and manage documents, users, and labels.
- Members – This gives users the second-highest level of authority enabling them to see all board views and activities in the stream. They can also edit, add, and delete documents along with performing all actions on cards.
- Visitors – This gives users the least level of authority as they can only see views, stream activities, and sections of labels, archives, and users. They also have the option to export the board to a file for record.
Creating a Board in KanBo
For this exercise, let’s imagine that your organization is creating a webinar. As this is usually a marketing concern, you can go to the relevant board group and create a new board.
- Click on the “+” in the middle of the board and tap on “Add new board”
- Specify the name of the board and choose a template.
- After the board is created, it will have three types of lists including Not Started, In Progress, and Completed.
- Populate the lists with work using cards such as writing a webinar script, sending invitations, preparing slides, running the webinar etc.
- Now you can populate each card with its own to-do list which further breaks down and specifies the nature of the work.
- Invite concerned team members so they can start working on the project.
Keep in mind that when you add users to a card, they get a notification automatically so they can start working on it right away.
Adding Start & Due Dates Along With Gantt View
For adding a start and due date, drag and drop every card on the date when you want the task to be started. The cards will be updated automatically and will show the start date. For effective work management, it is highly suggested that you use Gantt View. To add a Gantt chart, click on the “+” icon right next to Chat, enter the name of the chart and choose whether you want it to be personal or public. You can drag cards in the Gantt view to finalize the start and due date.
Using Kanban View for Tracking Progress
After you have created and designed an organized workflow using KanBo boards, lists, cards, and views, you can rely on Kanban view to monitor each project. There are different visual cues that will let you know about the approaching due date and overdue tasks.
Other Work Management Features
There are many other work management and organization features in KanBo which help you and your team to collaborate more effectively and become more productive. For instance, you can have more than one assignee for a certain task, use filters to search different projects based on multiple factors, and rely on views to see work progress through multiple perspectives.
3. How to Manage User Permissions in KanBo
Since a large number of organizations manage high volumes of information, they need to find the right balance between confidentiality and transparency. On one hand, they cannot discourage collaboration by reducing access to information while on the other, they also need to ensure the security and privacy of business-critical data. That’s the reason many organizations use user permissions to control access to information.
That being said, it can become a tedious task as organizations look to scale their operations which results in an exponential increase in both production and processing of information. KanBo offers a viable solution to this problem that a lot of organizations face by categorizing and organizing information through different boards with each board having three permission levels.
Who Can See What in KanBo?
KanBo enables organizations to manage and organize large volumes of information in such a way that confidentiality and security are never compromised. This means that your employees can always have access to the right information. Here are some of the principles that define KanBo user permissions.
- What You See is What You Get (WYSIWYG).
- No access to certain information means you cannot find it in search.
- Board or board collection creation has the highest level of authority.
- Only owners of the board can send member invitations and manage users.
- Access to a board means access to all the information the board has.
Understanding KanBo Board Permissions
KanBo board provides three different types of permissions including Owners, Members, and Visitors. Every permission gives users a certain level of authorization and access and the board creator can determine the type of permission that should be given to each team member.
- Owners – The owner is the highest level of access and authorization in KanBo and comes with the following privileges.
- See all activities in the steam and change board settings
- Visit any section of a board including views
- Invite new members/visitors to the board
- Right to manage document sources and documents
- Manage board users along with labels
- See the archive, perform any action on cards, and export board to file
- Follow any list, card, or the entire board
- Access to all the documents and can change any of them
- Close, delete, and reopen the board
- Members – This is the middle level of access and authorization and most of the users are given this permission. Members can do everything with cards including creating new cards, changing, deleting, and archiving them. They also have the following privileges.
- See all the stream activities and views of the board
- Right to add, change, and delete documents from a card
- Add document sources and see the archive
- Perform any action on cards and export board to a file
- Follow a list, card, or the entire board
- Access to all the documents and can edit them when they want
- Visitors – This is the least privileged level of access in KanBo. Visitors can read everything, follow cards, write messages, and have conditional access to documents. Some other privileges include the following.
- See all the stream activities along with views of the board
- See sections of Archive, Labels, and Users
- Export board to a file
- Write, edit, or delete their own comments in card interaction
- Follow the entire board as well as an individual list or card
- Access to all documents
4. How to Use KanBo Statuses for Business Process Management and Progress Tracking
Modern organizations cannot achieve optimal operational efficiency without streamlined business processes that enable them to track progress in real-time. The lack of effective business process management often results in poor productivity because of subpar collaboration, poor communication, multiple bottlenecks, and unidentified dependencies. This is why it has become imperative for teams to deploy a streamlined business process that helps them achieve business goals and objectives.
When you know each and every step of the process, you are in a much better position to make informed decisions along with enhanced communication and collaboration. These processes can also be optimized in the long run to find a perfect fit for every department. KanBo enables effective business process management through statuses that can be created and defined as per organizational requirements.
Understanding Card Statuses in KanBo
Statuses are especially designed to enable organizations to define a multitude of business processes across multiple projects and teams. This way they are well-positioned to monitor the progress of each project and can fix issues in a timely manner without any unnecessary delays.
KanBo Enables You to Give Meaning to Your Statuses
In KanBo, you can specify a meaning for every status so the work management tool understands what it means for a card to be in a certain status. This also allows you to leverage other features including automatic updates, detailed data analytics, and enhanced progress tracking.
There Are Four Fundamental Status Roles in KanBo
In order to provide context and assign meaning to each status, KanBo uses four status roles with every role having a predetermined meaning.
- Not Started – This status role can be assigned to any card that contains work that is yet to be started. For example, a Backlog list which includes all the work that hasn’t been started.
- In Progress – A status role that reflects all the cards or lists that feature work that’s currently in progress. Some examples of this status include Doing, In Approval, Quality Gate, Testing, etc.
- Completed – This status is used to represent cards or lists that include work that has been completed. Few examples of this status can be sent to the Customer, Finished, Archived.
- None – The last status is “None” which is dedicated for all those cards that aren’t work-status related. For example, a card containing basic information about a certain project.
Using and Managing KanBo Card Statuses
Every status in KanBo is denoted by its own icon including stop, play, and checkmark. Regardless of the names of your statuses, these icons let you know about the progress across different projects and tasks. If you want to add a status role to your board with all the information about the project and the tasks it involves, you can do so by going to Settings and Card Statuses.
Remember that assigning status to your list or card will tell KanBo how it perceives the information in that particular component. For example, if you are adding a “For Approval” list to your board, it will be seen as “In Progress” status as the work has been started but hasn’t been completed yet.
Useful Card Status Features in KanBo
Besides business process management and progress tracking, there are a number of other features of card statuses and roles that you can use, especially when you are tasked with managing a large volume of work.
- You can set automated start and due date alerts for convenience.
- The information about the status will be automatically updated.
- Assigning status roles will allow you to have detailed data analytics.
All of these features enable organizations to define a tailored business process for each team, reduce reliance on resource-hungry collaboration tools, and monitor work progress in real-time.
5. How to Manage Repeatable and Unique Work with Templates
Organizations manage a diverse range of projects that vary in terms of complexity and magnitude. There is usual day-to-day work that’s done on a frequent basis but it’s simple. There is also a type of work that goes through multiple stages as it is relatively complicated. For optimum efficiency, organizations need to identify the different types of work they undertake and create a robust work management strategy that allows them to organize and manage large volumes of work.
It doesn’t matter which industry or niche you are in, KanBo delivers all types of organizations with the useful tools you need to sort, manage, and organize different types of work enabling you to reduce the time and financial burden of repetitive tasks.
Repeatable Versus Unique Work
Repeatable work includes those tasks that you have to complete on a regular basis. There are certain tasks that are repeatable for almost every organization, for example, recruiting new employees in different teams. However, some repeatable tasks and projects can be unique to your organization, for instance running print marketing campaigns every month. Repeatable work can be either simple or complex depending on the nature of processes and the number of people involved.
On the other hand, unique work includes tasks that you only have to do every once in a while and vary from each other in terms of complexity and scope. For example, if your organization wants to design and deploy new security standards that would only be done once every few years as companies don’t change such policies on a regular basis. Keep in mind that unique tasks can be different from organization to organization and unique work for one organization might be repeatable work for another.
Managing Frequent and Simple Work in KanBo
For organizing and managing frequent and simple work in KanBo, Card Templates are the best option. They enable you to create work instantly without any requirement for entering information again and again. All you have to do is create a basic card one time including all the information and then create a template. The card template allows organizations to optimize and streamline their processes to accomplish a wide range of simple and repeatable tasks.
Managing Frequent and Complex Work in KanBo
If you are looking to organize and manage frequent and complex work, then you need to use board templates instead of card templates. A board template enables you to create work, business processes, and other components instantly and invite external members who are needed for completing the project. This can be achieved with two types of boards:
- Processual Board Template – This type of board template allows you to manage work that has to go through multiple phases to be completed.
- Work Board Template – This type of board template is prepopulated with all the work, processes, and information required to complete a project. Everything from the original board gets imported.
Managing Infrequent and Simple Work in KanBo
Infrequent and simple work can be managed in KanBo using cards and child or subcards. Add a card and include all the tasks that need to be completed or discussed. Then you can create a Child Card Group for further sub-categorization.
6. How to Streamline Workflows through KanBo Cards
Workflow is crucial to accomplishing tasks and projects, particularly when multiple business processes and teams are involved. In the absence of effective workflow management, your team members can lose focus which can have a negative impact on productivity. This is especially true in the post-COVID business world where most of the employees are now working from home and have to rely on digital tools for communication and collaboration.
When every team member is aware of how they should approach a new task, it provides them with the clarity to work towards the common goal instead of wasting time to figure out multiple aspects of the project. KanBo allows organizations to create and implement adequate workflows with KanBo Cards. They play a role of a focal hub of all the relevant information enabling all employees to identify where they stand in real-time and how they need to progress to complete a certain task.
When to Create a KanBo Card
KanBo Card is a central source of information that enables team leaders, managers, team members, and every person involved to make their contributions. Anyone who wants to get an update can rely on cards to stay ahead of the curve. From documents and dependencies to to-do lists and due dates, everything you need to know can be accessed through a card. Here is when you should create a KanBo Card.
When Someone Wants You to Do Something for Them
It doesn’t matter if it is your manager or work colleague who expects you to complete a particular task, it is always a good idea to create and manage work by using a KanBo Card. It enables the person who wants you to do that task to explain what they expect from you. Apart from that, if and when you have any concerns or questions, you can always ask them using the card.
When You Have an Idea or Want to Do Something
One more situation where a KanBo Card can be a big help is when you have an idea or want to start working on something new. In the current work environment, it is often a challenge for most people to act on their ideas and they are always forgotten. Creating a KanBo Card for a new idea or initiative helps you visualize it and it is no longer just an idea that’s in your head.
When You Want Someone to Do Something for You
When you want to assign a certain task to your team members or work colleague, it is recommended that you create a KanBo Card. The card allows you to explain all the details of the project to the people involved and you can also rely on it to break down work into a to-do list and assign every aspect of the task to a certain person.
KanBo software isn’t just another rigid and one-dimensional work management tool that forces your organization to accomplish tasks in a certain way. Instead, it provides you with all the fundamental building blocks to organize, manage, and record a wide variety of tasks across different teams and departments in an effective and efficient manner ensuring enhanced productivity, better collaboration, informational transparency, and robust security.
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