One of the “free wins” that quality managers get when they put their QA processes in Jira is the opportunity to use Kanban boards. This agile project management tool helps teams visualize work and improve efficiencies. Where quality processes tend to be obscure with their dedicated lingo and long-winded SOPs, Kanban boards provide clarity to all stakeholders and make things concrete. 

To make the point more tangible, let’s focus on the example of “Kanbanizing” your Deviations/ Nonconformities and CAPAs processes:

How Kanban boards can turn your team into QA management process ninjas

There are many benefits to using Kanban for managing Deviations/Nonconformities and CAPAs, including: 

1. Improved transparency thanks to clear visualization.

There is nothing like a Kanban board to reveal the big picture of your ongoing Deviations/Nonconformities and CAPAs. The Kanban serves as the source of truth for everyone. All your ongoing deviations and CAPAs are objectively organised into columns, for example:

  1. To Do
  2. In QA Review
  3. Approvals to Proceed
  4. In Progress
  5. In Verification
  6. Approvals to Close
  7. Closed

2. Policies become easier because they look simpler on a Kanban board.

Forget long-winded SOPs — simple columns on a board make your CAPA processes pop. This deepens your team’s shared understanding of the mechanics of the flow. The columns represent the skeleton and remove many details, which, though important, create clutter and confusion. This is particularly important in the Deviations/Nonconformities and CAPAs processes: for most stakeholders, this is not something they engage with every day. Hence, it’s even more important to keep things simple and help even occasional participants clearly see the status of the issue(s) that they care about most.

3. Work-in-progress is limited, ensuring a more efficient system.

The Kanban helps Quality Assurance teams and CAPA boards get clear about the workload and the impact it has on their organisation. The visual clues it provides can help drive better decisions about which issues should be processed through an accelerated route (Nonconformity) and which to push through the full-blown CAPAs process. Using a Kanban helps promote a culture of excellence, with the message being: “let’s deliver real business value by completing our CAPAs. Unfinished CAPAs are useless. It’s better to have fewer completed CAPAs vs. many in-progress CAPAs.”

4. Kanban ensures everyone involved in the process has shared ownership.

Kanban unifies all stakeholders around a single vision of the process. This means that the QA team is no longer the lone policeman of the organisation. Instead, everyone works together toward a common goal.

So, while many will adopt Kanban because it provides an appealing user interface, it brings so much more to QA administration than better cosmetics. Kanban drives Quality Processes that deliver more value to your organisation, improve collaboration, and increase the impact of your quality efforts.