Agile Kanban Board Basics

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In today’s fast paced world, it can feel like you’re always behind or missing a task.  Whether it’s due to a large project, or work keeps sliding across your desk, you just can’t seem to catch up.  What you need is a system that conforms everything into an easily understood visual representation of project and task status. Where could you find such a thing in today’s workplace?  Luckily, Agile Kanban board is are available, and it help you get organized.  No matter if you’re just starting out on a project, in the middle stages, or putting on finishing touches, there are many reasons you should consider using a Kanban board.

online kanban board

Kanban boards help manage project status for all tasks, providing a visual representation of status.

What is an Agile Kanban Board?

Originally, an Agile Kanban board was a simple white board or chalk board with sticky notes attached to it that allowed you to see the progression of any projects you were working on. It provides a flow to your tasks, allowing you to flow easily through any project you take on.  Simply using sticky notes with each phase of a project provides you the tools you need to focus on any task.  You can check out the status, progress, and resolve any issues that may pop up during the project.  You can stay on top of everything that needs to be done, allowing you to work more efficiently.


Where did Kanban Boards Originate?

In the late 1940s, Toyota needed a way to reimagine their daily work schedule.  Their manufacturing and engineering programs needed a way to communicate with one other, so they could complete a car faster.  The idea of an Agile Kanban board came when auto workers on the manufacturing line had to signal to their coworkers by using color coded cards.  These cards let other people know where they needed to go for a part.  Kanban is Japanese for “card” or visual signal.  Due to the success of the operation, standards were set, and work could be completed quickly and easily.

While Toyota enjoyed plenty of success through the Kanban system, it wouldn’t be completely accepted until 2005.  When it was combined with the Lean systems thinking, the Agile Kanban board enjoyed an explosion to other fields of technology and manufacturing.  Software development and human resource management have understood the importance of the Kanban board, and many have implemented their own forms.  When you can focus on your work flow, the progress, and continue improvement, you can see why a Kanban board is the practical tool for any office.


How Easy is it to Use?

Depending on the project, and what you need to do to complete it, a Kanban can range from simple to complex.  While it may be easy to understand the process, putting it on a board can be daunting.  You should have complete visibility when you’re putting your Kanban board into practice, and that often takes patience, and lots of practice.  If you’re on a large project, and you don’t completely understand every step, that’s okay.  You can map out what you need to do, and you can monitor your own work flow to see how your work flow is going.

Using a Kanban board for you allows you to have the freedom to work on your own projects, and put focus where it needs to be.  When you can complete a lot of work in a short time frame, you will astound anyone.  As your workflow increases, you can set up your Agile Kanban board to incorporate a vertical and horizontal progress.  This complexity allows you to take on larger projects easily, and efficiently.

Since every sticky note represents a step in the whole team’s progress, you can monitor where you are in the process.  No matter what the status of the work is, the flow of the Kanban board change in status, and you can see where you are on the project.  Kanban boards can be customized, the cards can tell you where the project is going, and what other steps need to be taken.  You can communicate with others on the project by looking at the board to see where they are.  The notes can work for anything, including planning, developing, testing, and to do lists.


Agile Kanban Boards for the 21st Century

While the original Kanban boards are ideal for large projects, there are online Kanban boards you can use.  An online Kanban board uses a web-based design to help you organize your projects.  You can manage your tasks and projects with different colored notes to track your progress through a project.  Online Kanban boards are ideal for those that work on their computer daily, and you can control and optimize your workflow with the online Kanban board.  Even if you work on a team, you can communicate with other team members to stay on top of any project.  There are built-in metrics to help you stay on top of everything, and the whole team can see what the workflow looks like.


What Does an Online Kanban Board Look Like?

An online Kanban board looks exactly like a typical whiteboard background, and you can place notes where they need to go.  You can adjust the columns, the size of the notes, redefine your card types, and adjust the Kanban board as projects reach completion.  Depending on the type of Kanban board you want to use, you can find one that will suit your needs.  Whether you’re working as a project manager, or run your own business, you can benefit from using a Kanban board.


Types of Kanban Boards

The great thing about online Kanban boards, is that there are many different types and versions available.  If you’re thinking about getting a Kanban board for your workplace, here are some you should consider.

  • Personal Kanban Board
    • A personal Kanban board is simple, and provides you with the columns you need to complete any project.  The online Kanban board template for personal use has only three columns, consisting of To Do, Doing, and Done areas.  It’s practical for those that work individually, or in small teams.  The tasks are created in the far-left column, and as work progresses, the notes move to the right.  When every task is completed, every task will wind up in the far-right column, signaling the project is completed.


  • Time Driven Kanban Board
    • For time, sensitive projects, a time driven Kanban board is an excellent option.  You can focus on workflow, and complete tasks quickly.  A time driven Kanban board is broken down into To Do/Future, This Week, Tomorrow, Doing/In Progress, and Done columns.  It is more complex than a personal Kanban board, but it is an excellent alternative to your calendar.  If you have a project that is projected to take more than a week, using a time driven Kanban board is an excellent option that provides you the organization you need.


  • Agile Kanban Boards
    • These type of Kanban boards are complex, and when you need to complete a project where there is a lot of uncertainty, it makes sense.  There are a lot of moving parts to many of the projects we use kanban boards to plan, and incorporating every aspect allows you to complete the project, even when high amounts of unknowns and change are present.  Software development Kanban boards include Backlog, Ready, In Progress, Testing, Approval, and Done columns, but there are many variations to these types of Kanban boards.

While these are just a few examples of online Kanban boards, there are many versions and varieties available.  You should consider what type of project you’re working on, and see if the board would be ideal for you.  You can customize the board to fit your tasks, and manage your workflow easier.  No matter what type of project you want to tackle, using a Kanban board is the best way to go.



Kanban boards are a fantastic tool for any project management, and they are easy to use once you get the hang of them.  No matter what type of project you’re working on, or if you’re just trying to get organized, you should consider getting a Kanban board.  There are many Kanban boards available online if you don’t want to create your own, and they all have their own way of organizing your work.  An Agile Kanban board is the best way to stay on top of your tasks, get organized, and complete any project like a boss, get started today with PlanHammer’s  Kanban Web App.