I recently looked at 500 completed Trello cards and estimated processing time with the Kanban board and without it. For example, if a card had status updates over several weeks, we assumed that those updates would have happened with meetings or email updates without Trello. Similar approaches were taken for other tasks like event planning and customer followups. If there was no way of estimating the improvement, we conservatively assumed there was none.
This methodology gave us the following results. While it is not a full time/motion study, it gave us clear indication where the biggest impact of the kanban approach is.
The results assume the following 3 key criteria for all tasks and boards:
- All team members collaborate on each other’s boards and tasks
- Each card has a due date and owner(s) assigned
- Each team member follows up on notifications or tasks due
Here are the savings we found:
- Typical project status updates – up to 70% time saved
( Traditional project update meetings: 1 hour a week – Trello updates 5-10 minutes per week through comments and alerts) Assuming 100 project boards – 83 hours a week can be saved
- Searching through email for contextual information – up to 60% time saved
This is harder to quantify but finding all project or task related information is almost impossible in Outlook as it is conversation based and not project based- Typical search estimated at 10-12 hours a week, vs Trello search less than 1-2 hours a week as most information is project based – however multiple boards may need to be searched for related content
- Finding reference documents – a wash
Trello is not a better or worse repository of documents
- Keeping people in the loop, managing overlapping tasks – order of magnitude. Traditional email or reporting systems have no easy way of showing what others are working on. In Trello I always know what everyone is doing, especially if the rule is that unless it is recorded in Trello it does not count.
The capability is clearly there, but sometimes people do not record every action or forget to check for overlapping activities. This can be made easy through the many web services integrations with Trello (Zapier or IFTTT) and also through in-Trello automation through powerups like Butler. Will cover those in a later post.