Kanban for Advertising Agencies

Chase now includes Kanban Boards, a fantastic project management tool that’s also great for boosting agency productivity. But what is Kanban, what are Kanban Boards, and how do they compare with traditional project management?

What is Kanban?

Kanban is a method of managing work while improving efficiencies. It originated in the motor industry but has since been adapted for service companies like advertising agencies. Different phases of production are identified and demarcated, usually at a point where work changes hands. Coloured cards are used as visual cues to indicate work entering the system and these progress through each phase until the project is complete. The central feature of Kanban is the Kanban Board.

What are Kanban Boards?

Kanban Boards are often rendered on whiteboards with coloured sticky notes being used as the cards depicting work. Columns are drawn (and sometimes inner columns or “swimlanes”) to indicate work phases. An example board is shown below:

Work flows from left to right, with cards being moved along as tasks are completed. Each colour has a different meaning. For example, red might indicate an urgent task. Task information is also written on the cards, like expected activity time, due date, or the person doing the work.

As seen above, physical boards can become messy, so digital Kanban boards are often a better option because they’re easier to manage. And you’ll definitely save on sticky notes :).

Kanban vs Project Management

So is Kanban better than classic project management? The answer is a resounding “it depends”.

Traditional project management focuses on the structure and timing of work, as well as the resources available. It’s well-suited to large scale campaigns that involve several sub projects. Kanban doesn’t do this well because it depicts specific project types in a more general way. Many managers still prefer good old PM to other methods.

Conversely, Kanban focuses not on structure and timing but improving the flow of work to accelerate project delivery. It’s great where projects are similar and work is continuous because it highlights bottlenecks. If cards are backing up in a certain phase, you know you have a problem and can make changes in that area. Kanban is also incredibly flexible – you can quickly reorganise your processes by swapping phases, adding new phases, removing redundant phases, and so on.

At the end of the day, it’s a matter of preference. For some agency types or management styles, classic project management provides the fine-grained structure and control they need. For others, Kanban offers a flexible framework for directing work without pre-planning each specific action. If you opt for Agile project management, Kanban is definitely for you.

Chase Kanban Board

At Chase Software, we aim not to impose specific management paradigms on our users but to provide them with the tools to run their business their way. So Chase’s Kanban Boards aren’t a replacement for its existing project management features, but rather an extension of its capabilities.

To find out more about Chase’s Kanban Boards, chat with your Account Manager or Chase Support. For extra information, be sure to check out Jamie’s Note in our upcoming newsletter.

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