How Agencies Can Use Kanban to Manage Customer Work

As an agency, you face the chaos of multiple customers, fast turnaround times, and changing priorities. Kanban practice can help you manage chaos!

Introduction to Kanban

Kanban is a process originating from the Japanese manufacturing industry in the 1940s. It is best known for its Toyota car manufacturing process and its ability to maintain the workflow in the system and eliminate bottlenecks.

The word "Kanban" literally translates to "billboard" in Japanese. In kanban practice today, we speak of "visualization of work".

In recent years, kanban has been used in customer service centers, support centers, software development and even for personal organization such as planning. 39, a marriage or a move.

Today, advertising agencies and digital agencies have found Kanban extremely useful for managing work between multiple clients.

Visualization of Work

To start using Kanban, the first step is to visualize your work. You can use a poster, a whiteboard, sticky notes or an online tool (my favorite is Trello).

Start by drawing columns to show the typical operation of your agency. The table must be placed in sequential order from left to right.

Next, you will follow the number of tasks that are in each of these columns at a given time. This table must be representative of all the work of the clients on which the team is currently working.

Follow the number of tasks in each column for about two weeks or until you get a good representation of your typical workflow.

In the example above, the team learned that its bottleneck is being revised and that it is slowing down.

For your customers, nothing is worth it If the work is stuck in your process, you will quickly benefit from a better quality of work as a partner of your agency.

Stream Optimization

Once you have discovered the location of your bottlenecks, the team needs to optimize the workflow. This will probably require a lot of experimentation (hey, that's all agile), until the team finds a good flow.

If work is stalled in the review process, discuss what is happening right now. Review process is and why he retains the team.

Maybe it falls on the shoulders of a person and this responsibility must be shared with several people.

Perhaps there is a lack of communication about when the work is ready to be reviewed. This could be as simple as supporting the critic on the shoulder and saying, "I'm ready for you!"

Limiting Work in Progress

The Work The agile team is like your kitchen sink –

To remedy this, kanban practitioners have set up WIP limits, or the amount of work in progress that the team can manage before the job is saved.

There is no correct number for WIP limits. Once again, it is up to the team to do some testing and determine what is the ideal number for it.

For example, you can only have one graphic designer on your team, so this person often becomes the bottleneck. If she has only one design to do, she often sits without waiting for anything while waiting for the client. If she has two or three, she can easily get in between them and feel quite productive. However, she found that four or more ongoing simultaneously become chaotic and nothing is done. In this case, the team would probably want to set a WIP limit of three in the design column.

The team must then determine the WIP limits of each column of its Kanban board.

Continuous Refinement

Once you have defined the optimal flow and work in process limits, do not consider them as legal documents. The dynamics of team members and the areas in which they work change over time, so you need to continually review and refine your process.

By implementing Kanban, agencies will enjoy many benefits, such as the transparency of the work done by all and their ability to do so. so that customers can work faster by eliminating bottlenecks.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the invited author and not necessarily those of Marketing Land. Associated authors are listed here.

About the Author

Stacey knows what it's like to be an agent of marketing, after all, she is one of the few agile coaches and coaches who got her started there. After graduating from journalism school, she worked as a content writer, strategist, director and assistant professor of marketing. She became passionate about agility as the best way to work in 2012 when she experienced her for an advertising agency client. Since then, she has been scrum master, agile coach and has contributed to many agile transformations with teams around the world. Stacey speaks at several agile conferences, has more certs to her name than she can remember and loves to practice agility at home with her family. A long-time Minnesotan, she recently moved to North Carolina where she learned to cook oatmeal and say "y'all".

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