What is a Kanban board?
A Kanban board is a visualization tool to optimize the workflow and the overall organization of companies. Using the Kanban method to manage the work of your teams allows you to
- Promote concentration
- Boost productivity
- Increase visibility
Details are visually centralized on a Kanban board, which minimizes the time spent tracking progress reports or meetings.
The objective of a Kanban system is to limit the amount of work in progress so that the work flowing through the system matches its capacity. In other words, a system can only handle a limited amount of traffic while allowing that traffic to move smoothly through the process steps.
A more advanced Kanban board can also include information to help actively manage the way work flows through the board, such as process policies.
Getting started with Kanban does not require an organization-wide overhaul; it can start with a single team looking to improve visibility and take control of its workflow and grow from there.
What does a Kanban schedule consist of?
- Lanes and sub-lanes, which represent defined steps in the process
- Cards, which represent work items that move through the process
Using sub-lanes on a Kanban board allows you to accurately reflect on your process using figures. By simply defining your process steps in lanes and documenting your work items with cards, you will begin to realize the benefits of Kanban.
Paths on a Kanban Board
Lanes represent the steps in your process. Each vertical lane should reflect a distinct step in your process and move sequentially from left to right: from “To Do”, to “In Progress”, to “Completed”.
Horizontal ‘lanes’ can be used to represent processes that are running simultaneously within an organisation.
For example, if a sales team is following the same process for each of its geographical territories, it could set up vertical lanes with each of its process steps, and horizontal lanes for each of the territories for which it is responsible. This would allow the team to manage and refine their process on a shared board while distinguishing the areas they are working in.
On each card of your Kanban board, you can include details that will make it easier for everyone to understand the key details of the work, such as:
- The title – what is this subject of this task?
- Card Assignment – who is working on this task?
- Card type – what type of task is it (usually indicated by colour)
- Deadline – is there a deadline for this task?
As well as more detailed information about the job, such as
- Description of the map – what exactly is involved in this task? What is the end result you are looking for?
- Attachments/files – are there any documents, links or visuals that are useful to complete this piece of work?
- Comment history – what the team has added
- Card history
Kanban cards allow easy access to key information about specific work items on your Kanban board.
Managing Workflow with a Kanban Board
Process policies are rules or guidelines that the team using a Kanban board develops to help the team use the board consistently. An example of a process policy might be: “Boards must have a completed project summary before moving from “To Do” to “In Progress”.
WIP (work in process) limits are limits that define the number of work items that can be in a particular lane or set of lanes at any one time. The Kanban concept states we can complete tasks quicker by focusing on less items at one time. Therefore, WIP limits help teams avoid overloading the system by working on too many things at once.
The typical benefits of Kanban
When you are marketing physical products on an assembly line, you can see the production steps unfold in front of your eyes. If there is a bottleneck in any part of the system, you can immediately see the work piling up and know where the problem is.
But if your work is less tangible (software development, creating marketing campaigns or developing a product roadmap), any problems will be less obvious. Bottlenecks are not so apparent, and teams struggle to manage capacity, often resulting in overworked team members.
Using the Kanban method to manage your team’s work involves defining all the steps in your process and actively monitoring the work throughout the process. Kanban software is flexible and customizable, allowing you to adjust your board design as your process evolves. In this sense, there are an infinite number of types of Kanban boards, as each is unique to the organization using it.
Take full advantage of the Kanban board (or Kanban tool)
Wimi’s intuitive and unlimited workspace (among others) allows you to manage the workflow of your entire team, from assigning tasks to organizing team sprint meetings in the office or remotely. With our collaboration tools, you can take control of your team’s communication and productivity to ensure that your project is completed on time and in the best possible way.
Facilitate planning and collaboration within your teams with the Kanban method
Empower your employees to develop their full potential. With Wimi, you will be able to share your Kanban tool, allowing users of the tool to express their opinions, new ideas and change the status of tasks.
Through real-time updates, each employee can draw the attention to important points and receive instant feedback.
Use tags, integrated chat and emoji feedback to optimise your internal communication, no matter how far apart you are.
How to create a Kanban board?
Brainstorm. Define your needs, milestones, key moments, the roles of each user, etc…
Select your tool to create the board. You can use a physical board or a digital tool to accommodate remote team members.
Divide all tasks into three columns under the tags “to do”, “in progress” and “completed”.
Organise your tasks in the “to do” column in order of priority. You can move your highest priority task to the “in progress” column once you have started working on it.
Set a clear limit for the WIP. It refers to the limit of the number of tasks that can be in the in-progress column of the Kanban board at any given time. This ensures that teams work to their full potential without multitasking.
Add cards. You can add cards based on the priority and timing of a task or project. A card should only represent one item. If the scope of the card seems too large, divide it into several cards.
Define expectations. Specify who has the authority to add, rearrange, delete or move kanban cards. Limit the number of people who can do this to avoid confusion.
Gather feedback. Gather feedback and suggestions from stakeholders and make adjustments to your kanban board to better meet the needs of your team and organization.
Track progress using kanban software. Track the progress of team members’ work at an enterprise level, by placing items in the appropriate column or via labels that group each item according to its status.
What are the best Kanban software?
What free software allows you to create Kanban plans?
There are plenty of free software offering Kanban available depending on the number of users. Here is a non-exhaustive list of free kanban solutions available:
- Trello (available as a free version)
- Asana (free up to 15 users)
- com (free for up to 2 users)
- Clickup (free version) (monday tool)
- Notion (free up to 50 documents)
- Miro (free up to 3 tables)
- Kanbanize (from 15 users)
- KanbanFlow (no user limit in free version)
- Zoho Projects (free up to 3 users)
- Meistertask (free version)
- Jira (free for up to 10 users)
- Wimi (free trial)
All of these similar solutions differ in specific ways to appeal to different companies.
For example, prices vary greatly depending on the solution chosen and its features. Meistertask and Kanbanflow cost 4-5€/user/month, Jira between 7 and 15€/user/month while Kanbanize costs a little over 100€/user/month. This is simply because the functionality and performance of these tools are different. You will have to compare or try the different solutions such as Jira, Kanban Flow, Meistertask, Kanbanize and all the others.
It is up to you to compare these tools to check that your needs will be well met in the free versions. Depending on the size of your organization, the number of users, and the nature of your business, it is likely that a free solution will not suffice. You will need to look at the paid versions of these or Wimi, the extremely comprehensive all-in-one software.
In the same style as Monday, Wimi is a very complete collaborative tool with various functionalities including the Kanban tool or the Gantt chart.
Trello, Asana, what are the differences between these tools?
Asana and Trello are two companies that have developed project management tools for companies working in a collaborative and agile way.
What are the differences between these two tools?
Trello is a powerful kanban tool and one of the first of its kind. Trello provides kanban planning software which enables companies to facilitate simple but effective task management.
Asana is a famous project management software that offers a very advanced kanban board creation feature for personal or professional use.
The main difference between Trello and Asana from a functional point of view is the way tasks are displayed and categorized. Asana is much more suitable for a project with thirty or so tasks, whereas Trello is specialised for smaller projects. A list of tasks, sub-tasks and grouping them together is essential for project management and Trello is therefore very limiting.
In their free version, Asana offers more features than Trello. Even if a catalogue of applications is added to Trello’s range of features in the premium version, Asana is still more efficient for project implementation.