Kanban is a lean method that helps organizations reduce waste in processes by optimizing workflows. A Kanban board helps in visualizing the workflow optimization itself. By using a Kanban board, you can gain a clearer understanding of the process, as it increases visibility. This allows you to identify bottlenecks that hinder your team’s productivity and remove them for greater efficiency.
In the old days, Kanban boards used to be physical boards. But these days, teams have a variety of software that allows them to create virtual Kanban boards with greater speed and flexibility. There are two main components to a Kanban board: cards and columns.
Cards represent tasks that need to be performed in order to move the process along. Each card contains information about the task, including the name, description, assignee (who is working on it) and due date. If Kanban software is being used, the cards can contain attachments and comments as well for a better understanding of the task.
Cards help everyone looking at the board understand what is going on with the process. This helps teams identify tasks that have not been assigned and deadlines that have been missed, on top of uncovering bottlenecks.
Columns are where each card is placed and represent the various stages of the workflow. As tasks are being carried out, the cards move from one column to the other. Usually, Kanban boards have three columns: “To-do”, “In progress” and “Complete.” However, you are not limited to these three. It is advised to create as many columns as your team needs to accurately capture the workflow.
Furthermore, since columns are essentially broad categories, they can have subcategories within them called swimlanes. Examples of swimlanes for the “Complete” column can are “Approved”, “Pending Approval” and “Rejected.” It is all about what makes sense in order to capture the process.