Kanban scheduling approach for virtual assistants
Kanban scheduling system

The Kanban scheduling approach is considered as one of the simplest, more affordable, and most effective ways to help with monitoring progress as far as productivity is concerned. The Kanban approach is a good way to organize the workflow especially if you and your dedicated assistant have trouble figuring out what needs to be done first.

How It Worked for an Entrepreneur

Meet Tom. He’s an entrepreneur through and through. Specifically, he is into dropshipping. His winning products are mostly household items. Because his items are on-hand, he has always made it a point to track his items by using the “inventory method”. He taught this approach to his dedicated assistant.

Through this method, Tom knows exactly how many items they have in each category. Because of this, it is easier for him to determine when he should purchase. This process alone is important for the winning products because they mostly bring in the sales for Tom’s store. Once he determines products with a low count, he lets his dedicated assistant know about this so she can place the correct orders to their suppliers.

To make it easier for him and for his dedicated assistant, Tom even went through the trouble of designing simple software with graphs to let them know which products start to approach sellout quickly. With this program, he doesn’t need to check the inventory every day to get an exact number. He just has to look at the graphs, and he will have an idea on when to replenish stock.  By using this method, he only needs to do an inventory assessment once every two weeks. In some instances, he only has to do this once a month. His dedicated assistant is there to do the rest.

How can you and your dedicated assistant get started?

If you’re not in the dropshipping business, that’s alright! You can still use the Kanban method. Actually, this works better if you’re a visual learner. It’s because this scheduling technique uses colors, spaces, and other visual cues to relay information.

If you’re in a visual work set-up, you may set up an “online bulletin board” for your team to let them know what is going on with the week ahead. Divide the “board” into three sections:

  • Pending tasks
  • Tasks in progress
  • Completed tasks

Once the tasks are in place, you and your dedicated assistant should easily see where the entire team lies in the process. You may even assign color codes for these categories. Some categories include teams and the nature of the tasks. If you did the task segregation correctly, the virtual board should provide you with information like:

  • Number of tasks in each category
  • Team’s workload (is there a task overflow or are there upcoming days that lead to this?)
  • Team progress
  • Possibility of delegation (if you used other color coding techniques to further classify the nature of the tasks)

What can it do for your business?

Once you see the overview of the tasks based on your board, it is much easier to tell if there are bottlenecks and queues along the way. Because of this, you can decide on the spot if you have to limit workflow for the meantime. If there’s low workflow, you may use the time to provide your team with more enriching activities that will help boost their skills and up their game.

It’s important to spot where bottlenecks are because this will ultimately determine the output of the team within a given timeframe. An example is a team working on images for social media pages. The creative team can only come up with three images in a week and the social media manager can publish up to ten in the same week. The total published posts for the week will only be three regardless because the bottleneck is in the creative team.

Given this scenario, you may use the Kanban approach to check what causes the delay in the creative team. Is it an issue of the complexity of the content? Is it an issue with resources? Once you determine what the main problem is, you can dedicate your time and energy to work on it so your creative team can finally catch up with the social media manager.

When you and your dedicated assistant practice this approach more, it can help your entire team work towards continuous improvement. You may efficiently track the quality of the work by analyzing the general flow of the tasks. Aside from that, it can help you predict if your team is about to encounter a roadblock in the future. Through these insights, you can design a set of metrics to help further improve everyone’s work.

Some Takeaways

The Kanban method can help your business regardless of its size. Of course, try to refrain from placing expectations on yourself and your team to learn this approach overnight. This will require consistency in what you do so you can get the best results.