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Compared: The Pros and Cons of Digital and Physical Kanban Boards

Digital and Physical Kanban Boards, physical kanban boards, kanban, Workflow, digital kanban boards

The debate around physical Kanban boards versus digital Kanban boards has been going on since the early days of the internet. If you are using Kanban cards in order to improve workflow efficiency, you have the choice of either digital or physical boards to improve operational processes and encourage productivity in the workplace. The decision to use either type of Kanban board should be given plenty of consideration, to ensure that you are choosing the right type for your business, team, and projects. Although both work in a very similar manner when it comes to tracking workflow, each come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages, and both are better suited to different types of businesses and industries. Here are some of the main factors to keep in mind when choosing between digital and physical Kanban boards.

Pros of Digital Kanban Boards

In the digital age of today, it’s important to ensure that your business is up to date with the latest technology, particularly if you are looking for modern ways to improve productivity and workflow. If you are using the Lean Six Sigma methodology for your business, the most obvious way to track your project progress is with a digital Kanban board which is one of the Kanban basics – you can learn more about that by following the link above.

You can easily make your own digital Kanban boards using everyday software programs such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets, or you can use specialized online software programs such as Trello to design and keep track of your Kanban cards. Digital online boards make it easy for everybody to update their cards in real-time, from their device, without the need to get up and make changes to a physical board. As a result, they are the ideal choice for companies whose workers are mainly using computers to complete projects, or where teams are working together but remotely. It can improve productivity for your business and enable your teams to easily streamline workflow and tasks.

In addition, another advantage to consider when choosing a digital Kanban board is that they are usually accessible from anywhere, providing that the user has their device and is connected to the internet. They can log into the system where your board is saved and access the cards (work items) anytime they see fit. This will make them more engaged in the workplace as any team member will be able to see what is currently being worked on.     

Cons of Digital Kanban Boards

Whilst there are several benefits to consider when it comes to using a digital Kanban board, that’s not to say that they do not come without any drawbacks. Some companies are concerned about the health implications of asking employees to use computers or laptops for longer by using online Kanban boards; a physical board encourages employees to get up from their desks and step away from the screen from time to time when tasks need to be updated. In addition, it may sometimes prove difficult to ensure that digital Kanban boards are constantly visible when they are used to monitor progress at work – for example, if users are logged out automatically after a certain period of time.

And, before you choose a digital Kanban board, it’s also a wise idea to consider the possibility that it could have an undesired effect when it comes to motivating employees and improving productivity. Using a digital Kanban board may be more efficient in some cases, but it could also discourage communication between office workers when they can easily access the board from their desk rather than getting up to discuss ideas and progress with co-workers. 

Pros of Physical Kanban Boards

Unlike online boards, physical Kanban boards do not require a connection to the internet. So, you can always access your board, even if you’re having connection problems in the office or work in a place where no internet connection is required, for example, a factory or production line. Physical boards, cardholders, and racks are the traditional way of doing things and have been used for Kanban systems successfully since they were first introduced several decades ago. 

Typically, physical Kanban boards will utilize items such as colored sticky notes, push pins, and magnets which represent tasks at the various stages of ‘to do’, ‘doing’, and ‘done’. Physical Kanban boards are not only visible in the workplace at all times, but can also be used to encourage communication within teams and get employees up from their desks or away from the workspace for a little while as they go to update the board.

Cons of Physical Kanban Boards

Physical Kanban boards may be the tried-and-tested way of doing things, but unlike digital boards that are saved to the cloud and accessible anywhere, they are not indestructible. Accidents in your workplace can happen; if your workplace is damaged in some way, damage to, or loss of your physical board could set your team back.

And, physical Kanban boards can be difficult to expand, compared to online ones where you can add an unlimited number of new cards. Finally, physical boards must usually be confined to one area, making them difficult to use with remote teams.

In addition, it might be very difficult for any project manager to measure past performances of t

Which type would you prefer to work with?

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