In June 2012 kalmstrom.com Business Solutions released a totally new product:
a kanban board inside Outlook, for work with Outlook Tasks, and a few months later came the kanban board for SharePoint.
The two versions can be used independently, but both versions may also be used within the same team. Using both versions does not cost anything extra.
With Kanban Task Manager all ongoing projects and tasks can be seen in Outlook or SharePoint by all team members, and when one member of the group creates a new task, changes a task or drags it to another phase, the other team members can see it also.
Kanban board visualizes the work process
Kanban is a Japanese word for "visual card", and it refers to a way of visualizing work, to make it flow and reduce waste of time.
The traditional Kanban board has cards that tell what and how much should be produced and when it should be done.
When managers get such a visual picture of the work process they can quickly reveal bottlenecks and blockers. Less time is spent on trying to sort out how projects are coming along, because everything is visible on the Kanban board.
Benefits of a virtual Kanban board
When we move the Kanban board into Outlook or SharePoint we get several advantages:
We can give a nice, colorful user interface.
It is easy to drag and drop tasks between different phases of a project.
You will have it all in front of you in the computer and don't have to go to another place to see the work process.
No cards or pieces of paper are lost because they fall to the floor or someone takes them away to make a note.
Tasks are synchronized automatically within the workgroup, so everything is up to date and everyone can see what is happening.
Tasks for multiple projects can be displayed in one Kanban board.
You can filter tasks by project and by responsible.
You can search both subjects and body texts of the tasks.
All data is kept in database tables or SharePoint lists and are easily accessible by the management. The Outlook version also has integrated Excel reports.
Kanban Task Manager is installed as an add-on in a folder under Outlook Tasks or as a list app on a SharePoint site. When a user opens that folder he can reach the workgroup’s different projects and tasks. New projects and tasks can be created with a few simple steps.
The Outlook version of Kanban Task Manager has an option to share and store data in SharePoint, and this is the option used by the SharePoint version also.
Therefore it is possible to use both versions at the same time, and members of the workgroup can switch between the versions without problems.
This is how we already use Kanban Task Manager within the kalmstrom.com team. Most of us use the Outlook version when we are in the office, but outside the office we prefer the SharePoint version.
The combination of both versions is also suitable when there are several workgroups within the organization. Then the management can easily go into the different SharePoint sites and see project and task details for all groups.