Kanban Boards - A simple way to visually manage your workflow

July 26, 2019


Visually manage workflow. Prioritize,see progress, spot bottlenecks, remove roadblocks and keep work flowing. Kanbanis for individuals or teams.



Map yourworkflow. It can be on a whiteboard, on paper or an electronic tool (Office 365Planner, Smartsheet, Asana or Trello). Teams that work together on a jobsite or an office usually find a board on the wall to be thebest solution. For a team spread across different locations, an electronic toolmay be best.

Split the board in to columns. Each column is a stage of the workflow. When a task enters your workflow, it is written on a sticky that progresses through each column of the board. Every board is split in to at least three basic sections:

·        TO DO(Requested)

·        DOING (In progress)

·        DONE

Create as many subsections as you need to visualize and manage your work.

TO DO might be broken in to “Options”, “Backlog” or “Future”.

DOING maybe broken in to steps, or by the days of the week or by “Blocked” for work in progress that is stopped for some reason. Swim lanes can be used for different team members or types of work. But keep it simple.



Use sticky notes to add tasks starting in the TO DO column.Prioritize the tasks in queue. For teams, each member can have a different color of sticky note. Or, colors can be used to indicate different types of tasks. Use a system that works for you or your team. Everyone can see what is being worked on, who is doing it and where there are roadblocks. As a step is completed, move the task to the next step or to DONE. This frees capacity to“pull” the next task from TO DO and in to DOING. Eventually, clear completed tasks from the DONE column.

Limit the amount of work in progress. Stay within your capacity and keep a minimum of tasks in the DOING column. Focus on “one piece flow” and completing tasks instead of multitasking with lots of work in progress.

Keep work flowing. If you see a roadblock or bottleneck, find the root cause, act to resolve it and prevent it from happening again.


The board informs anyone as to who is doing what at any time. Everyone is in the loop about how assignments are progressing. Information is current. This awareness drives better planning and decisions. A brief daily huddle in front of the board will keep everyone aligned. Supervisors can easily see what you are working on, your priorities, and where you are blocked. Discussions about assignments are more productive and supportive.

David MacKay
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