Kanban Efficiency

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At Piktochart, we’re pretty driven to make sure things are going smoothly – as smoothly as we can. So we did some self-introspection, took a good look at ourselves and revamped the way we work.

And the one big change is: The Piktochart development team are embarking on a new way of working! We’re getting organised Japanese style. (We’re turning Japanese!)

Here’s a peek at how things are changing in our team and what it looks like – Piktochart style.

The Old Way of Doing Things

The days of small teams are gone. Piktochart is maturing as a company. We have added significantly to our numbers. And along with it – the number of projects for a growing app. As we try to juggle them all, there’s a feeling of being spread too thin. Important tasks are not being given the attention they deserve. So we are re-dedicating our time. Instead of working on too many features at a time, we’re focusing on less. We want to produce better quality code through better collaboration, and ultimately see a happier team.

The Kanban Solution

This is how we’re doing it:

  • The whole production team focuses on just 4 tasks. Time taken to push out code will decrease.
  • Working in teams and sharing expertise will improve the quality and time taken for a feature to get pushed out

Like an infographic

Kanban literally means “signboard” in Japanese. It is a visual way of communicating what needs to be done and when. It’s one of the many LEAN ways of working which was developed by Toyota car makers.

You start with a board. On it is a chart with columns which can be easily referred to. Tasks are then put on post-it notes colour coded for urgency. As tasks are worked on, they progressively move towards the right of the board. Ours look something like this:

Create Your Own Infographic

We use a 5 columned chart. From left to right they are PENDING > ANALYSIS > WIP > TESTING > PRODUCT. They each represent the stage in the developmental life of a “task”:

PENDING refers to the laundry list of things to work on. Every feature requested, every bug discovered, every tiny task.

ANALYSIS is the thorough research on the features to work on. This is when the task’s viability is explored.

WIP refers to the features which will be coded. These tasks have been deemed viable and should be worked on. It has made the jump to WIP where it will be worked on by developers. A rule for WIP is the number of tasks there is limited. We chose 4 as the maximum amount of tasks to be worked on actively at any given time.

TESTING. Once a task is completed, it goes into a testing phase where all its bugs are ironed out and it is fixed. Which is when it is ready for…

PRODUCT! Bring out the champagne! We’ve pushed a new feature live on Magic!

[tweet “Piktochart is refocusing with Kanban”]

Happy you, Happy me!

This is the main deal for now. With this “low-tech” (cork board, post-it note and thumb tacks so it is not carried away by someone’s shoe) solution in place we hope to ship out high-end code to our Piktochart users. Quickly and efficiently.

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading another one of our updates from the underside of Piktochart!