Project Management with Kanban Boards

Project management for your business using Kanban boards (an easy Agile tool!)

Organise projects (and your life!) easily with Kanban boards!

Please don't be put off by the name 'Kanban', because there is absolutely nothing complicated about this tool - you might even be using one already without knowing!

A Kanban board is a visual tool used by Lean/Agile companies (particularly software, technology and engineering companies, but it is becoming more mainstream) that helps a team of people keep track of what's going on in a project. 

That being said, you can absolutely use these if you work alone - I use them for most aspects of my work AND life!

What is a kanban board?

Kanban Board - Project Management tool

In the image above, I have illustrated a basic Kanban board (see, I told you it was simple!). You can draw these columns out on a white board or a piece of paper.

Firstly, you (and your team if you're working with others) break up your project into chunks and write these chunks onto post-it notes, adding them to the 'To Do' column. As you go along, you move the post-its along throughout the columns so everyone, and yourself, knows what's going on.

Can you tell I'm a fan of post-it notes, by the way?

You can add extra information to these post-it notes (eg. who's responsible for the activity on the card, or how many hours you think it'll take).

Kanban board - project management tool

You may find it useful to add another column called 'Review' for your project. Traditionally, software companies might use this column to signal that their code needs to reviewed by a colleague as a quality check.

I personally use this column in my website projects to show that my clients are reviewing items here. If edits are requested, a post-it may need to move back to 'To Do', or if not, it is then moved along to 'Done'. 

No space? Use a Virtual Kanban board!

Not everyone has a spare wall to hang a whiteboard on, so there's another option. A virtual kanban. 

Using an online tool means you can access your kanban from anywhere, and you can add extra information that you wouldn't be able to easily on a physical board.

I use (and love) Trello; it's free and incredibly intuitive. You can add colour coded labels, attachments, descriptions, comments and due dates to cards (ie, post-its), as well as assign 'members' to each one. 

Cons of virtual kanban boards:

  • They're not in-your-face
    You may forget to look at them
  • You may be concerned about privacy
    Online = potential hackers (unlikely!)

Pros of virtual kanban boards:

  • They're paperless
    Think of the planet, yo!
  • You can access them from anywhere!
    Online, on apps or in the cloud
  • You can share them with anyone
    = location independence

Why You'll love using kanban boards

1 | THEY'RE ~*{VISUAL}*~
If you're a creative or just generally visual person, a kanban board is so much more useful than just a list of 'To Dos' scribbled on a notepad.

If you're taking on a new team member, or are asked to show anything to a client, it is incredibly easy for people to instantly grasp the concept and understand what stage the project is at.

Moving tasks along the columns and physically (with your hand or dragging with a mouse!) putting things in the 'Done' section is super, super satisfying. At the end of the day, you can look in this column and see exactly what you've accomplished.

For example, you can use this to show your sales/client on-boarding process if that's your jam! 

Kanban for sales and marketing

I've also written a blog post about how to use Trello as an editorial calendar for your blog or email marketing strategy.

I couldn't live without using kanban boards. I've been using them for years (even before I knew what they were called), and I honestly find them the most effective way to keep on top of tasks in work and in life.

How do you keep your projects/life organised?