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How To Combine OKRs And Kanban?

How To Combine OKRs And Kanban
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At first glance, OKRs and Kanban might seem like polar opposites. One is a strategic framework emphasizing high-level objectives, while the other is a visual tool for task management. But in the realm of modern productivity, synergizing these two can create a powerhouse system that offers both macro oversight and micro-management. Buckle up, and let’s delve into this exciting intersection of two seemingly disparate methodologies. 

What is Kanban

What is Kanban

Kanban is a project management and workflow optimization methodology originating from lean manufacturing principles. It was developed by Taiichi Ohno at Toyota to improve manufacturing efficiency. “Kanban” is derived from the Japanese words “kan” (visual) and “ban” (card), meaning “visual card” or “signal card.”

In project management and software development, Kanban visualizes and manages work through visual boards with columns representing stages of a process. Work items are represented by cards that move between columns as they progress.

For example, in software development, a more detailed Kanban board might include columns like “Backlog,” “Design,” “Development,” “Testing,” and “Deployed.”

Key concepts of Kanban include:

  • Visual Board: Represents the workflow using columns and cards.
  • Work in Progress (WIP) Limits: Sets maximum cards per column to maintain flow.
  • Pull System: Work moves to the next stage only when there’s capacity.
  • Continuous Improvement: Regularly reviews processes for optimization.
  • Flexibility: Adaptable to changing priorities and requirements.
  • Metrics: Uses data for process improvements.

Kanban is compared to Scrum, with Kanban focusing on continuous flow without fixed time intervals. It’s used in various industries for workflow management and productivity enhancement.


How can OKRs and Kanban be combined?

OKRs and Kanban are powerful tools for business progress. While OKRs set clear objectives and measurable outcomes, like aiming to “Reduce customer ticket response time to under 2 hours,” Kanban visualizes the tasks to achieve them. Consider a Kanban board with columns like “Backlog,” “In Progress,” and “Done.” To achieve the mentioned OKR, tasks such as “Train customer support team” or “Integrate new ticketing system” can populate the board. 

As teams tackle tasks, they move them across columns, ensuring focus and minimizing multitasking through work-in-progress limits. 

Essentially, OKRs