A Case for Digital Kanban Boards in IT Ops

Team of people working around computer

The nature of workplace collaboration is constantly changing, and no where is it more visible than with team-level, digital Kanban boards. Gone are the days where teams worked together in a traditional office setting. It’s predicted by 2027, more than half of all employees in the United States will be working remotely—and with this trend comes a greater demand for smart tools that evolve your process without restricting the way you work. Digital Kanban boards can connect teams, regardless of physical location.

In previous posts, we talked about the simplicity of physical Kanban and how you can create a fully-functional board with index cards and a wall large enough to stick them to. Physical Kanban boards help teams facilitate lean and agile practices. They’re quick and easy to set up and show flow through different states of work progression.

In this post, we’re going to look at the importance of digital Kanban boards and how they can be used to empower IT Operations teams and teams of teams to deliver.

Digital Kanban Connects Remote Teams

If you’re managing work that involves cross-teams or teams that work remotely from each other, you need a platform that promotes communication and visibility, connecting team members across time zones and physical locations.

The good news is that advancements in workplace technology have bridged the gaps. Digital Kanban helps organizations visualize work as it flows, providing leaders with an understanding of where things are in process and if delivery dates will be met. This enables teams to manage work delivery more effectively, staying up to date with any changes in the workflow, whether it’s addressing bottlenecks or reprioritizing assignments.

Spreadsheets are Static, Digital Kanban Boards are Interactive

Using spreadsheets to manage largescale projects simply isn’t a viable solution. Spreadsheets are time consuming and increase the likelihood of overlooking key information when planning and executing projects, and even making a minor mistake can negatively affect the outcome of the work delivered. The right digital Kanban tool empowers organizations by making it easier for them to track workflow, tasks, and team availability over the course of a project.

Digital Kanban boards make it easier to include comprehensive project-related information without cluttering the entire workflow. Metadata like comments, assignees, job description, and due dates can all be included in your digital Kanban card in a manner that optimizes viewability, showing a simplified workflow no matter how complex the work delivery.

In other words, digital Kanban boards reduce unnecessary clutter, making it easier for all team members to stay current with changes in the workflow.

This prevents overwhelming the delivery team or the leaders by showing important data in manageable, bite-sized chunks, promoting better management and team communication. Moreover, this also creates more effective team meetings because all members can make informed decisions regarding changes in the project.

Digital Kanban for IT Operations

If you’re an IT Operations manager, you’ll want to spend some time planning your digital team-level Kanban board so that your design meets your team’s specific needs. You can do this by creating columns for each stage in your workflow. Along with stages like “Ready to Start,” “In Progress,” and “Finished as Planned,” consider expanding your Kanban board with additional tasks your teams traditionally undertake. This can be anything from “A3 Priorities” and “Expedite” to more specific actions like “Bug Testing” and “Validation Doing.”

Your goal is to create an environment where the workload doesn’t greatly outweigh capacity. Of course, this is often easier said than done due to the nature of IT Operations and, team members are expected to walk a fine line between completing planned and unplanned tasks.

As you can imagine, IT Operations managers are required to have excellent organizational skills in order to keep up with their day-to-day tasks and long-term projects. And if they’re still working with spreadsheet data rather than digital team-level Kanban boards, IT Operations teams will continue to work in an environment conducive to overwork and undervalue—especially when remote collaboration is involved.

If you’ve enjoyed this article, be sure to check out or next post where we cover the concept of work in ITSM and how IT Operations teams can switch from their current project management strategy to a Kanban-driven approach.

To learn more about Kanban for IT Operations and how you can use it to empower your operations team, download our “Using Kanban for IT Operations” eBook.

Maria Harper

Maria Harper is a demand generation specialist at Planview focusing on PPM solutions and French and German marketing. She is passionate about data-driven marketing and enjoys applying analytical insights to creative messaging in order maximize marketing potential. She graduated from the University of Missouri with bachelor degrees in German and Journalism.