We’re excited to announce the release of our much-anticipated Kanban add-on! You can now easily switch between the traditional phase view and a Kanban board to manage your complex task workflows in an intuitive and powerful way.
Before we dive into the specific features of Panorama’s Kanban add-on, let’s quickly discuss what Kanban is so you have a detailed understanding of the methodology and why it’s so powerful.
What is Kanban
Kanban is a workflow management method for defining and managing tasks. It’s exceptional at visualizing work, current status, managing multi-step workflows, increasing efficiency, and continual improvement.
The classic hallmark of Kanban workflows is “swimlanes,” which are columns that represent various states of task completion with the tasks in that state stacked below. Common lanes or states include:
- In progress
- In review
Some other states I often see include:
- Needs discussion
- Approval needed
- Quality assurance
As tasks change state they’re dragged from one column into another, clearly designating where they are in the task lifecycle. Simply put, the Kanban methodology uses a visual approach to organizing tasks into their various states.
Why Kanban is an effective project management approach
In most situations, using a Kanban approach increases project efficiency and reduces errors. Let’s discuss some of the key benefits.
Flexible, works with most workflows
Any task that requires multiple steps or must pass through multiple people is a good fit for Kanban-style project management. Because the approach is not opinionated (i.e. what states or columns you use are not pre-defined) you can mold it to whatever workflow you need.
If you’re providing content marketing services to a client you might have the following columns:
- Article definition
- Subject mater expert
- In writing
- Client feedback
- Needs approval
Alternatively, if you’re taking an agile approach to web development you might have:
- In progress
- Quality assurance
- Ready to deploy
As you can see these two workflows are extremely different but Kanban can be molded accordingly.
Kanban is intuitive
Information overload is a common challenge for any project with lots of moving pieces. This is an issue that most project management tools and methodologies fail to address. Panorama on the other hand is designed to ensure project status is instantly identifiable for you and your clients.
The Kanban methodology uses visualization in a similar way to instantly communicate the status of each task. This reduces the amount of cognitive effort required to figure out what’s in progress, what needs your review, what’s blocked, etc…
Changing the state of a task is simply dragging and dropping into the appropriate column. It’s hard to imagine a simpler workflow.
Manage states and conditions
A project manager’s job is largely centered around keeping tasks moving forward. This means having a keen understanding of where a task is in the lifecycle and especially if it needs your attention. Traditional project management methodologies that are simply a list of open to-do’s fail to give you this detailed information making it difficult to keep track of what to push forward and what’s on track.
Now let’s dive into what Panorama’s Kanban capabilities specifically have.
Panorama Kanban features
We have big plans for the future of the Kanban add-on, but that doesn’t mean we launched a basic tool. Let’s dive into the features.
Kanban needs swim lanes of course, and Panorama now gives you the opportunity to create as many lanes as you need. Each project will have two required lanes, “Complete” and “New Tasks” which will auto-populate as tasks are completed or added outside of a lane.
You can add, edit, and update task completion right from the Kanban board. Each task or card behaves just like it would anywhere else within Panorama meaning you can click and pop into the task detail right from your swimlanes. This means tasks still support discussions, sub-tasks, attachments, etc…
Drag and drop
Kanban is only effective when it’s intuitive. You can drag and drop the order of tasks, or even the order of swim lanes.
Automatic progress calculation
One unique aspect of Panorama is the ability to automatically calculate project progress. After configuring your project you can determine exactly how far along the project is and how that compares to your overall timeline. The Kanban add-on builds on this by allowing you to set specific task completion states for each of your swim lanes.
For example, you could have a “Needs approval” lane that you indicate is 85% complete. When a task is dragged into that lane it will automatically update the task completion accordingly.
This increases consistency in reporting and reduces the number of steps required to manage your projects.
Phase / lane transparency
Unlike other project management solutions, swimlanes and phases are independent. Phases are stages of a project, swimlanes are states of a task. It’s important that you know what phase a task is in when viewing its state, and what state a task is in when viewing its phase. We’ve included indicators of the phase and state in the appropriate views to facilitate this.
This leads to additional transparency as clients can see the current status without having to toggle to the Kanban view which is more project manager-focused.
Why Panorama and not a Kanban specific plugin
You might wonder if you should just get a Kanban-specific WordPress plugin. While this is an option if you’re trying to keep things minimal but you’ll likely miss out on the intuitive capabilities that Panorama. Some of the features unique to panorama include automatic progress and timeline tracking, document approvals, task delegation, client dashboards, and more.
Check it out here!