Kanban Board

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Kanban Example

What is a Kanban Board?

Kanban boards originated from lean manufacturing techniques. They are a tool to help 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.

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.

How to Create a Kanban Board

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.

Watch this quick Kanban tutorial video:

To make your own Kanban board, just start with one of the included templates and customize it to suit your needs. Add new cards and columns in just a few clicks.

Kanban Board Examples

The best way to understand kanban boards is to look at some examples of Kanban boards.

Click on any of these Kanban boards included in SmartDraw and edit them:

Browse SmartDraw's entire collection of Kanban board examples and templates