Kanban Overview

Why Would I Care About Kanban?

As we mentioned, we use Trello for project management. If you are interested a bit more in the principles that Trello is based, kanban is that methodology.

If you are not interested in Trello, the kanban methodology is a great one for managing knowledge work without overloading team members. It also gives all members visibility throughout the process from task definition through customer delivery.

Trello is basically an online, extra featured kanban system.

In its most basic form, kanban involves a board, cards (for tasks) and sections or lanes (to do, doing, done).

Kanban Boards

We’ve used kanban boards with some of the organizations we work with. At Gangplank, we had a kanban board to track tasks that needed to get done for our collaborative workspace. In that instance, it was a physical kanban board.

And we did use the basic columns:

  • To Do
  • In Progress
  • Done

Even in that incarnation, it was very effective. Everyone in the space could see what tasks needed to be done, could take them on themselves and put them into the In Progress state and get to work. It also helped us all see everything that was currently being worked on and the things that got finished. Prior to this, nobody knew what needed to be done and had any visibility into all the work everyone was putting in.

Other Uses

Kanban boards are also commonly used in software development. In the agile or lean software development methodologies, typical columns are backlog, ready, coding, testing, approval and done.

The use of kanban boards is also common among marketing teams, HR and executive teams.

Some families employ them too and there is also a big personal kanban movement.

Kanban Principles

Some of the things that make kanban so effective are that:

  • Everyone is able to visualize the workflow
  • Teams often limit the number of tasks “in progress”
  • Members pull work from column to column
  • Teams can continue to monitor, adapt and improve their kanban board/process

Using it, you can organize your projects into boards and in one glance, Trello tells you what’s being worked on, who’s working on what, and where something is in a process.

Further Information

Kanban in practice:

[slideshare id=10562310&doc=kanban-intro-final-111212100959-phpapp02&w=650&h=500]
[slideshare id=3576466&doc=kanbanboards-100328050846-phpapp02&w=650&h=500]

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