How Kanban Keeps Us on the Same Page

kanban

My name is Ariel Klontz, and I have been working at LeanKit for the past few months as an intern alongside Andy Hoover on the Customer Documentation team.

When I first started here, I was nervous about how much work I could really accomplish on a part-time basis; but working at LeanKit opened my eyes to a whole new way to manage work. Working in a virtual Kanban board showed me how powerful our tool is — it keeps our entire team on the same page, even when the pages are constantly turning. I don’t have to wait to be told what to do. I can see what work I need to accomplish by glancing at our board, and I have the tools to move forward with it.

Today I’ll share how LeanKit helps our team systematically update our Knowledge Base based on product updates and customer feedback, so customers always have the latest information about our product. I’ll also explain how using a virtual Kanban board enables everyone — even part-time interns — to add real value.

Staying on the Same Page, When the Pages Keep Turning

My work at LeanKit has primarily been to update the Knowledge Base. The Knowledge Base is our online resource that helps users make the most of the LeanKit software. Continuous improvement to the LeanKit product requires continuous improvement to the information we provide; so it’s very important to update the Knowledge Base as the product is updated.

There are over 70 articles in the knowledge base — and the number is growing — so it’d be nearly impossible to manage the volume of updates necessary without a systematic, shared approach. With LeanKit, our team is able to manage article updates, customer input, and any other work we have, all in one place! Despite my hectic schedule, LeanKit allows me to jump right back into the workflow as soon as I get to work, enabling me to be a productive part of the team.

Mirroring Our Workflow, Improving Our Process

When multiple people are working on one article or document, it’s easy to lose track of who’s working on what — especially when part of the team is remote or part-time. Without LeanKit, I don’t think we’d be able to keep our updates organized. LeanKit allows us to keep track of who is assigned to a certain article, who has most recently edited or reviewed an article, and what stage of editing an article is in.

We’ve modified our board several times as we’ve learned more about our process. But now we have a board layout that really mimics our workflow and keeps the work moving. Our board is laid out in such a way that the cards move through several stages of review for editing purposes, sometimes cycling through certain stages more than once so that the article/documentation we are working on becomes the best it can be.

On our board, we have a “content” header with sub-lanes that mimic the stages of the writing process for our team. Once a card representing an article has passed through all the editing stages, we place it in a “ready to publish” lane. Then we publish the completed article to the Knowledge Base and move the card to “done.”

We’re also able to keep track of customer input through a Zapier integration that allows Zendesk support tickets to come in on our board when there is important customer input that Customer Support believes we need to address. The Customer Support team is able to check a box within Zendesk indicating the customer input that needs to be sent to the Customer Documentation team. This allows us to draft new articles or update current articles based on direct customer input, all on one LeanKit board!

How Kanban Helps Me Add Value

Often, work is completed while I am away, but by utilizing assigned users and the other visualization features in LeanKit I am able to jump back into the workflow easily. I don’t have to wait to be told what to do because my assignments are right there on the board for me to see.

LeanKit makes it simple to communicate article progress between the members of our team. We can easily keep track of edits, questions, and suggestions by using the various card features, such as attachments and comments. This allows us to work quickly through articles without losing track of card progress.

Kanban and LeanKit

As an intern at LeanKit, I’ve seen how practicing Kanban with our product provides endless ways to track and manage workflow for your team no matter what your profession. My team has been able to systematically update product content based on software updates and customer input by creating a board that accurately mirrors our workflow. On top of all that, our tool has enabled me to contribute meaningfully as a part-time employee and showed me a new way to work.

LeanKit makes any work process much easier. There are so many ways to configure your Kanban board layout to mimic personal and team workflow. The most important thing for our team is keeping track of where we are in our workflow and who is responsible for various steps in the process, and LeanKit visualization makes it easy to do so.

Get Started with Kanban

Are you ready to start your own LeanKit journey? Download the Kanban Roadmap to learn more about how to get started with visualizing your work as a team.

Ariel Klontz

Ariel is an English writing major at Middle Tennessee State University, an aspiring author, and a writing intern on the Customer Documentation team at LeanKit. Connect with her on Twitter @arielklontz.

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