Michal Sobotkiewicz
Michal SobotkiewiczKANBO PRODUCT OWNER
He leads the KanBo Technology & Innovation strategy team to map, build and inspire a future we want to work in.

KanBo for Self-Organizing Teams

Self-organizing teams, are self-directed and devoid of any authority figure such as a manager or a supervisor. The team members naturally coalesce together and take responsibility for the execution of tasks – setting deadlines and priorities on their own.

KanBo steps in with some powerful features to maintain the momentum of such teams and keep all individuals focused and self-motivated. These mechanisms allow team members to assign tasks and indicate the responsible person without any need of a supervisor or manager.

Example of work organisation for a self-organising team working remotely using KanBo
1. Create a work area for the team – KanBo Board
2. Create a list of tasks to be performed with a description – cards and notes
3. Create a ToDo, Doing Done process or use KanBo templates.
4. Add team members to the KanBo Board (you can create a KanBo Board as a Public – it will be visible to every person in your organization with the possibility to join)
5. Tasks are performed by persons who assign themselves to the task. It can be one or more people who will do the work together

Advancements in technology have fueled the popularity of self-organizing teams as a remote teams or virtual teams that go beyond geographical locations and time constraints. More than 70% professionals in the modern workforce have embraced remote work at least once a week. Before delving into the world of remote work options, it is important to define what a virtual team is.

“A virtual team is defined as a group of people in which at least two members are based in different locations, and where all team members have a common goal (Townsend et al., 1998).They use different technological means of communication in their work (Lipnack and Stamps, 1999; Malhotra, Majchrzak and Rosen, 2007; Townsend et al., 1998). According to Griffith, Sawyer and Neale (2003), the ‘virtuality’ of team is presented in three dimensions:

– level of technology support, which may include communication, documentation, and/or decision support capability

– physical distance, which may range from being based in different offices to being based on different continents (Hinds and Mortensen, 2001; Malhotra et al., 2007)

– percentage of time spent on a given task as virtual team members are rarely delegated to work for a particular team in 100% (Townsend et al., 1998)”. Source

KanBo and Virtual Teams

KanBo is a work management plattform that empowers virtual teams and helps them bridge the gaps between on-site work and remote work.

KanBo supports two types of virtual teams:

  1. Self-organizing team or Self-directed team: A working team without any individual identifiable leader driven by purpose or a common goal.
  2. Single Leader Team: A working team with a single identifiable leader who empowers and motivates the team.

May it be a team of members from a single business area or an interdisciplinary team, the common goal, tasks and people involved dictate which model works better.

KanBo’s Simple Features for Self-Organizing teams

Comments and mentionsTo make contextual communication possible within cards.

Responsible and coworkers – To easily assign responsibility and facilitate knowledge sharing by other team members.

Kanban Lists or tasks groups – It depends on the type of tasks and people who are members of such a team, which tasks and by whom they will be performed.

Dates – for Facilitating prioritization with the ability to define multiple dates for a task.

Card dependencies – Clearly defines the dependencies and relationships that can occur between tasks and decisions to indicate the tasks to be performed and their order.

KanBo Templates for Self-Organizing Teams

Beyond the basic functionalities, KanBo also provides board templates that are ideal for self-organizing teams. These templates can be used as-is or utilized as inspiration for creating your own structures of work.

SCRUM

Self-organizing teams are often motivated by the principles of agile work practices. SCRUM is the most widely used agile framework for self-organizing teams. Apart from being perfect for self-organizing teams, SCRUM is also simple and lightweight yet difficult to master. However, KanBo makes it easier to implement for your remote team with the SCRUM template.

With this Template, teams can reach the highest level of effectiveness and efficiency using SCRUM and plan & conduct successful Sprints while collaborating asynchronously.

Sprint – SCRUM Planning

KanBo’s SCRUM planning template generates an agenda, defines sprint goals, milestones, tasks & backlog to make development teams more efficient.

Work Request Order

How do you manage new work in a self-directed team? KanBo provides a solution in the form of the Work request order template. This Board Template is home to all the tasks or orders that need to be performed by a person who has the appropriate knowledge and experience to perform it. This Template may also be an area for the initial selection of incoming tasks, which are then assigned to the appropriate team member and passed on for execution.

Work request

KanBo’s work order template helps you efficiently manage any work orders. Assign orders to participants. Add images, documents, dates and more with remote and real-time access from any device.

Knowledge Base for IT Department

The knowledge base template applies the concept of self-organization to knowledge. This is a place where knowledge is constantly captured, updated, and supplemented by remotely working employees. Cards from this board can be linked by Cards from other Boards to indicate where certain domain knowledge for a certain topic can be found and is always up to date.

In times of dynamic change, the current knowledge base requires equally dynamic solutions and ways of staying up to date. This mechanism is ideal for dispersed remotely working teams as it provides 24/7 real-time access to the knowledge that can be used or completed by team members anywhere in the world.

Knowledge Base for IT Department

Build an IT department knowledge base with KanBo. Simple to customize and use, the knowledge base template includes FAQs, troubleshooting guides and more – available for assistance round the clock on any device.

KanBo for Single leader teams

Single leader teams can be defined as working teams with an identifiable single leader. Not only is KanBo made for self-directed teams but virtual teams with a leader can also work and thrive in KanBo. KanBo’s functionalities provide managers and supervisors with a whole range of possibilities to effectively manage virtual teams.

Even within KanBo, the leader’s tasks remain unchanged. Leaders manage the project and determine the consistency of tasks and support colleagues in their implementation. However, while working with KanBo, a platform that enables asynchronous work for distributed virtual teams, leaders receive a ready-made digital workplace with great visibility.

KanBo’s Functionalities for Single leader teams

Board score card – Describes the goals of the project.

Lists, groups and views – Provides visual representation of the scope of the project with several dimensions.

Workflow by roles or card statuses – Makes workflow building process very dynamic.

Add responsible and coworkers – To assign tasks and indicate persons in charge.

Add start and due dates – Setting the time frame for tasks to keep track of due dates and meet deadlines.

Documents – Remote access to documents.

Labels – Prioritizing or categorizing work.

KanBo Templates for Single Leader Teams

Apart from the above mentioned functionalities, which can be used in any project, we have prepared several KanBo Board Templates which can be used or serve as inspiration:

Business Roadmap

KanBo gives teams the opportunity to stay in line with the company’s vision, goals and milestones with the business roadmap template. As a leader, you need to be aware of the big picture so your team can add value to the business. The business roadmap makes it possible for leaders of virtual teams to always stay up to date with the current vision and goal of the organization.

Business Roadmap

Build a business roadmap with goals & milestones, and communicate your company’s or product’s vision. This template features timeline, Gantt chart and Kanban view and other useful functionality.

Meeting Agenda

As a virtual team, meetings can be tricky to navigate. KanBo’s meeting agenda template helps you define meeting agendas to guide meetings in the right direction. The resulting tasks and decisions of the meeting can immediately be put into action.

Meeting Agenda

Make meetings more productive/Get more out of meetings with the meeting agenda template. Easily clarify the goals of your meeting and inform participants about details such as dates, locations and more. Include all necessary documents and crucial information in advance so people can be prepared to make the meeting a definite success. The meeting agenda template can help you run a smooth-sailing meeting and ensures it never strays from the main agenda.

HR Project Tracker

Keep track of projects in a remote team with KanBo’s HR Project tracker template. From project initiation to execution, the HR project tracker is the all-in-one solution for project management for virtual teams.

HR Project Tracker

Manage your timeline, budget and people with strategic planning and project initiation. Develop change management plans, connect with coworkers and stakeholders, and more with notifications and reminders.

Conclusion

Regardless of what kind of virtual team you work in, KanBo ensures it functions smoothly and focused on a common goal without any organizational overhead. When working with KanBo, what matters is your team and the goal to achieve. The functionalities are there to support you no matter which path you take. Choose your preferred way of work, build a board and work as a virtual team without any limitations. Enjoy working!