How to Make Your Web Design Firm More Efficient
No matter what kind of business you operate, efficiency is critical to profitability. As the old saying goes, work smarter, not harder, and quite often business owners get caught in a trap of their own making. In an effort to bring in greater profits, they find themselves taking on a workload greater than they have the capacity to handle. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to increase contracts without letting the workload get out of control? That is actually quite possible if you take the time to learn what it means to be Lean.
Unfortunately, for many people, ‘Lean’ simply means cutting back to bare minimum everything from expenses to payroll, and that, quite frankly, can end up in bankruptcy court. If you want to make your web design firm more efficient, learn the principles of Lean project management and you’ll soon find that you will be able to double your workload without adding to overheads, and may even see a reduction in costs at the very same time. Here’s a quick look at how it’s done.
Learn from the Father of Lean – Toyota
At the moment, you are sitting in front of a computer, from which you undertake literally every aspect of your job as a web developer, except perhaps those times when you meet face-to-face with prospective clients to discuss your portfolio and talk to them about their needs. Everything else is handled in the digital realm. How can that be wasteful?
Consider for a moment the father of Lean, Toyota, way back in the middle part of the last century. American automobile makers were extremely jealous of the way Toyota was spitting out autos at a faster and much more cost-effective way than anything Detroit could manage – even in their dreams. Japanese cars were the envy of American automotive manufacturers because they were of a high quality and much cheaper in price. Why do you think that is? Obviously, it was because they were able to cut back on waste so that every Yen counted for something. And, in turn, they were able to work more efficiently because they weren’t wasting a single moment on the production lines.
At the Core of Lean Project Management Lies Waste Reduction
So then, at the core of Lean project management lies waste reduction, which Toyota learned to capitalize on more than half a century ago. However, it wasn’t called Lean back then, it was Kanban, from which all the key concepts of Lean evolved, and most especially waste reduction. Today’s Lean is almost always a SaaS or PaaS, much like our modern ERPs online.
With a Lean Kanban board online, all members of your web development team can meet in a centrally located place online to get their Kanban card with the duties assigned to them. These duties can be quite specific, so your team isn’t spinning their wheels duplicating tasks. That, in essence, is at the heart of waste reduction in the web development arena. The biggest waste comes from duplicated efforts.
So, What Is a Kanban Board?
Here’s a term you’ll be familiar with. A Kanban board is basically a dashboard and a flowchart. It’s also a meeting place and a location where your team can pick up their Kanban cards. These cards are double-sided with the ‘front’ being the team member’s name and the primary duty assigned to them.
That area can be further broken down into subsets where the team member can itemize tasks or issues they identify while working, which can be developed as they go or sent back on to the main dashboard where another team finds a solution. On the reverse of the digital card is a sort of checklist where things can be ticked off as they are completed.
Kanban Boards Keeps Production Going and Significantly Improve Efficiency
With every job located on the Kanban board, jobs are continually being added and marked complete as needed. When a team member finishes their portion of the project and makes a note or two on improvements other departments might want to research, he or she is ready to pick up their next card. There is no need to run over to the boss to see what is needed next because future projects are listed on the ‘dashboard’ in real time and transparent to anyone with a ‘need to know.’
Kanban Methodology for the Ultimate in Efficiency for Web Developers
Time is money and unless you use it efficiently, you might as well be throwing it away. As a final thought, the one thing web development firms are good at is research. Because research is a critical initial step in Kanban, that’s something you’ll excel at in this particular model. Instead of pushing out web templates in the hope that someone will pick them up, you’ll be researching markets to find where your services are needed and pull web development projects as you contract them.
Don’t waste time and money in this way. Let your sales team snag the clients so that you can pull them and begin creating awesome websites for them. That’s efficiency in web development at its very best and with Kanban, you can increase your profits exponentially once you learn how to use it.