Managing your projects effectively

You’re about to embark on a major project for a client, and have seemingly innumerable work streams and different groups of people to co-ordinate. The key is implementing both time and task management, ensuring you have control over who is doing what, why they are doing it, and when. The last thing you need is to be double booked for that important kick off meeting.

The issue surrounding task management and the “productivity problem” has been the source of many articles, seminar talks and frantic 3am ramblings in the office as you head towards that looming deadline. Essentially, good task management fuels productivity, and this will feed back into the overall project, providing benefits for the whole team.

However, solving the problem is no longer as simple as plotting a personal Gantt chart and changing your scribbled notes as you go. Nowadays, increasing numbers of projects involve cross-collaboration within a company, and often globally. We need to be able to take into account multiple teams, in multiple countries with tasks that seem to multiply as each day passes.

In 1953, Taiichi Ohno developed the Kanban process to improve, and then provide consistent production levels on the factory floor (yes, the same man who helped provide the roots for the Lean Six Sigma methodology, see high-level overview in our Slideshare presentation). Kanban is Japanese for billboard, and the Kanban process effectively signposts individual parts of an overall process. When used electronically, Kanban can signal different tasks in a project, and provides a quick and intuitive way to gauge current project progress.

Using electronic Kanban, or e-Kanban, provides a simple solution to the dilemma of modern day projects with various streams. At Sysdoc, we have recently launched our free Kanban Board app for SharePoint, available from the SharePoint App Store. Using the Kanban principles above, our app provides an easy way to manage project tasks across their life cycle.

Kanban Board allows for tasks to be added to the overall project, including information on the task and the users involved. Also, progress for each task can be modified by moving between task states and it allows priorities to be defined as well.

As more tasks are added, this will build up to provide an understanding of the whole team workload across the project, where the Kanban process comes into its own. The ease in which the user can visualise both task and project level is shown effectively by the Kanban Board app’s drag and drop interface. This allows for real-time updates which are signalled by the Kanban process and are accessible to all project contributors.

Therefore, the project which once looked like an intimidating prospect to quantify in terms of progress can now be effectively contained within the Kanban process, providing live updates to tasks, their properties and a birds-eye view of the project progress and tasks of colleagues.

Regardless of the location of your colleagues, or the different tasks that you’ve all been allocated to, Kanban Board gives you an intuitive, up to the minute visualisation of your project, which can be used by all involved.

Effective task management is crucial if your project is to succeed, and whether there is a task management process should be one of the first questions asked in the planning stages. Our app has the ability to provide this, and through using it, helps increase the understanding and clarity of the project for all users.

The Sysdoc Kanban Board app is available for SharePoint the Office Store for free. Try it for yourself here.


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