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Kanban Board

Kanban boards originated from lean manufacturing techniques. They are a tool to help users visualize workflow. They were made famous by Japanese automakers that used Kanban boards to manage project tasks. The concept has expanded outside the lean manufacturing industry. It is now a popular workflow method used by software developers and businesses to work through projects of any size.

How to Use a Kanban Board

The word Kanban literally means "signboard" in Japanese. The process of implementing a Kanban board is to break tasks down into logical categorical steps - commonly referred to as workflow. The workflow of the Kanban board typically has three categorical steps:

  1. A queue, representing work to be started
  2. An in-progress step, representing work that is currently in-progress towards completion
  3. A completed step, representing work that has been completed

Each categorical step, including the queue, is limited in the number of work items assigned determined by the team or workflow manager. Work, represented as a card within the step, is added into the queue step, pulled in-progress and then moved to the final step upon completion.

To properly introduce Kanban boards, you need to know what your development workflow generally looks like and you will typically want some visual way of communicating the workflow to the team.

Kanban Example

Using SmartDraw Kanban Boards

Two styles of Kanban Boards are available in SmartDraw. The simple Kanban Board is a stand-alone version that works like sticky notes on an electronic whiteboard. The project Kanban board lets you plan and organize your data from three different perspectives: progress view, assignment view, and category view. A number of example templates are also included.

Kanban Templates