The beauty of Six Sigma methodology and Lean Six Sigma tools are their simplicity and versatility. Today, let’s talk about kanban boards.
Originally created by Taiichi Ohno for Toyota in the 1940’s, kanban boards help visualize the current work in progress. The kanban board physically can be a simple white board with post-it sticky notes with pertinent information written on it. The categories written on the board itself would depend on your industry and type of business and what you want to communicate to your team members.
Why a Kanban Board is Beneficial
The kanban board does a few things:
- Helps visualize actual work at any given time
- Helps increase team communication
- Helps team focus on workflow
- Helps foster a culture of continuous improvement
Important Information Included on Kanban Board
- First, you must establish the major processes that add value to your business or organization.
- Then, identify the actual steps to those processes.
- Once you have created the kanban board with the completion of the first and second steps (above) now you may start adding tasks.
- Tasks symbolize things that have to get done; each task should be written in language that is easy to understand.
- Set work in progress limit (WIP) for each phase involved.
- Setting the WIP limit will reduce the time it takes to get any one process done, plus it improves the quality of the work by giving increasing the focus since there are fewer tasks required to get the process done.
- The kanban board allows to compare and evaluate times and other measurements at various points in the processes being analyzed. You can see improvements as well as make improvements.