What is a Kanban Board?
A Kanban board is a project management tool which provides a visualization of single or multiple tasks & workflows. It’s a tool based on a work philosophy originating in Japan which emphasizes focus on one particular task at a time over a multitask approach, as well as the benefits of collaboration.
Kanban boards are designed to make planning, managing, and completing tasks easier thanks to a visual overview of the entire work process. You get to see what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, who needs to do it, and how much is left to do, all on one color-coded board.
A Kanban board features columns and cards which can be fully customized to the users tastes and job requirements. Each task is assigned a card, which can be edited, moved around, and slotted into any schedule pattern. The visual nature of the columns helps you to spot where there are gaps in your schedule, holes in a project, and potential lapses in productivity.
So what are the many different ways Kanban boards can improve your project management?
We look at seven ways we believe are the most important.
With Kanban boards you can:
View multiple tasks in one place
Kanban boards give you a complete visual overview of every task and project you need to complete. Everything is in one place and provides a quick and easy way to assess what needs to be done right now and what can wait until later.
Many professionals write down what they need to do in different places, such as in notepads and word files related to a particular project. This makes it difficult to bring everything together and to get a clear insight into just how much needs to be done in a certain timeframe.
With Kanban boards, you write everything down on different color-coded cards. The cards can hold paragraphs of notes or documents containing further information. These cards remain in place on the board until the task has been completed, and can even be used over and over again.
Sort and delegate tasks with more simplicity
Kanban boards make it a lot easier to sort tasks into different categories. Boards are composed of multiple columns, each of which can be customized to match timeframes, stages of a project, or pretty much anything else. Some boards even allow sub-category columns, within a main category, allowing for further detail.
All of these features help professionals micro-manage their workflow and ensure tasks are sorted into the relevant categories, at any given moment. Cards can be moved with a simple swipe of a mouse, multiples times, and customized further depending on requirements.
With such a clear sorting system, it’s much easier to then decide on when to delegate tasks to colleagues or freelancers.
Kanban boards increase productivity both for individuals and teams. The boards give you an up-to-date view of what needs to be done now and what is meant for later, as well as who needs to do what. As each task is completed, the relevant card can then be removed and replaced with the next item.
When opening the board each day, it’s simply a matter of getting straight down to work and completing the prearranged tasks.
Kanban boards help teams plan and successfully complete multifaceted projects by breaking the work down into smaller components. A small task is easier to begin and finish than a bigger and seemingly overwhelming one. There’s also a great deal of satisfaction to be had when finishing multiple smaller tasks, and an added drive to complete more.
Benefit from increased flexibility
Kanban boards make it easier for you to be more flexible with your time. The moveable and easily-customizable cards allow you to quickly swap around tasks to fit with new circumstances. For example, if a client delays a scheduled phone call, then other tasks can be quickly substituted or reorganized so no time is wasted.
This of course can be done via written or typed notes but it’s not as easy to track how these changes will affect everything else on your schedule. Kanban boards provide that essential visual and customizable overview, allowing you to gain peace of mind that everything is where it should be, especially during emergencies.
The flexibility of task card movements is something you can’t really find via any other organizational system, without things getting messy.
Work faster and with more focus
Kanban boards help you improve focus and thereby speed up your workflow. You have one task to do at a time, which you can easily see on your board via a card. Once the particular job is completed, the relevant card is then marked as done. This reduces the temptation to multitask and move between different incomplete tasks.
Multitasking is tempting, especially when particular facets of a project are more mundane or harder than others. Yet it’s also a huge productivity killer. When you focus on one task at a time and race against the clock to keep to a schedule, then your productivity vastly improves.
Having an overview of every task you need to complete in any given day helps you to benefit from a narrower focus, instead of worrying about what else you should be doing. Worry paralyses the mind and smothers creativity.
Collaborate more effectively
Kanban boards can be used by just one person or by multiple people. They are excellent tools for the solopreneur as well as for teams in small creative agencies or large corporations.
For the small business owner, they provide an effective way to maintain an accurate schedule and ensure all tasks are planned and completed. They also allow for the one-person business, such as a freelancer, to collaborate more easily with their clients.
Partial access can be granted to clients so they too can access the relevant boards applicable to their projects. Notes can be made, tasks prioritized, files added, and schedules arranged, by both the freelancer and the client in real-time.
For teams, the boards can be used to quickly convey information about scheduling, priority tasks, project details, delegation, and a whole lot more, to every single team member. Everyone will be on the same page (or board, quite literally).
Bring order to your life as a whole.
Kanban boards can be an effective time management tool for all areas of your life. We think of project management tools as being strictly for client projects and for the 9-to-5 work day, yet they can be used for just about any tasks and schedules. These might include general chores, housework, fitness, dieting, hobbies, and more.
Where Kanban boards double their effectiveness is by improving your productivity outside work hours in order to improve your health and mindset for when you begin work. Daily exercise or meditation can be included in your Kanban schedule, as well as necessities you have to see to and maybe plan for, such as parents evening at your child’s school, a dentist appointment, or a shopping excursion to buy healthy food for the week.
Invoice Ninja’s Kanban boards
Kanban boards provide a highly effective way to easily manage your daily tasks, whether as part of a single client project or your workflow as a whole. At Invoice Ninja, we’ve developed our very own Kanban boards. They have every option you need to plan, manage, sort, and delegate tasks, in order to improve your project management and productivity.