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What Is Kanban?

July 07, 2019

When a team needs an efficient way to organize their work, they look to Kanban.

A method frequently used in project management, Kanban is an easy way of organizing entire teams around projects by breaking it down into tasks.

And while the name itself sounds strange, the method is anything but.

In this post, we’ll review everything there is to know about Kanban task boards, and how teams can use it to reach results fasters.

Let’s take a look!

What Is Kanban?

Kanban, in its essence, is the simplest tool for organizing any kind of work.

Stripped down to its bare elements, it’s a to-do list that contains three sections:

  • To-do
  • Doing
  • Done

By separating work into these three sections, teams can coordinate their projects and monitor their progress.

Kanban task boards help teams visualize their work, which improves efficiency as human brains process visuals 60,000 times faster than they process text.

Depending on a team’s organizational needs, a Kanban task board can also include other sections (for example, a backlog section).

The original Kanban method came from lean manufacturing, especially Toyota’s production system. The approach was created in order to improve decision making. Toyota could accurately predict how much they’d need to produce, and in which order, and then schedule it accordingly without losing revenue.

This kind of method reduces waste and unnecessary costs, which makes it particularly appealing to all sectors today; from software development to marketing.

Typically, a Kanban board contains:

  • Columns
  • Tasks (and sometimes, subtasks) in cards
  • Due dates
  • Assignments
  • A visualized workflow

Kanban Columns

Each column on the Kanban task board represents a section of work.

When all columns are put together, they represent a workflow.

Teams move tasks (usually by dragging) from “to be done”, to “in progress”, and finally to “done.”

It’s also a good idea to establish limits for how many tasks can be in a given Kanban column.

This is another reason why Kanban boards are so efficient. By setting limits, the Kanban method “pushes” teams to complete their tasks quicker so they can take care of other tasks demanding their attention.

The time between the point where a task is added to the board and the point where it is done is called lead time.

And in order to successfully finish the task, project management (or other) teams constantly work on reducing their lead time and delivering work faster.

Kanban Cards

Tasks in Kanban boards are organized as cards.

Typically, Kanban cards contain information about the task, any pertinent files or images, and information on the people responsible for completing the task, as well as deadlines.

This approach to delegating tasks is especially beneficial for managing task dependencies.

If the entire team can view the status of completion of each task (as well as the person who is responsible for the task), they can move forward much more efficiently.

Additionally, since Kanban offers full transparency, it’s much easier to identify any problems earlier on.

What Is the Difference between Scrum and Kanban?

While both methods are a great way of organizing work, Scrum and Kanban are not one and the same.

Scrum uses Kanban boards to organize work, but it’s done through time-limited sprints.

For example, a team takes two weeks to finish a certain group of tasks. This is called a sprint. When they’re done with that task group, they move onto the next, leaving no unresolved issues.

Kanban, on the other hand, has no strict time limit. Resolving tasks is a continuous process.

The Benefits of Kanban Task Boards

There are numerous benefits to Kanban task boards. Chiefly, they help teams complete tasks and projects sooner.

However, there are other benefits that teams using the Kanban method will experience:

  1. Identifying Problems

In project management, nothing is as crucial to success as identifying risks early on.

A Kanban board is great for noticing problems even before they’ve started affecting the project.

For example, if a column gets tasks faster than they get done, it’s easy to spot the problem and then establish why it’s happening (and what can be done to resolve it).

Without a Kanban board, tasks would simply pile up until team members crack under pressure and the project has to be delayed.

  1. Kanban Boards Help Teams Focus

When a team has to work on multiple tasks at once, they get scatter-brained.

Suddenly, it becomes impossible to do anything right, and team leads are finding themselves with more tasks in the “In progress” column that in “Done.”

However, when limits to how many tasks can be in each given column are established, team members are free to focus only on immediate tasks and move forward only when they’ve completed the tasks they’re working on.

Additionally, Kanban task boards ensure that no task will be lost in the sea of post-it notes, meetings and dozens of number one priorities.

Finally, teams who can focus on a handful tasks will deliver much better work than teams who are stretched thin. The performance notably improves.

This is why lead time is one of the key performance indicators for teams using Kanban.

When teams can accurately calculate how much time it takes them to complete tasks, they can forecast accordingly and ensure that they avoid any project delays in the future.

  1. Kanban Task Boards Save Time

No one likes meetings, but if there’s no other alternative, they’re necessary.

With a Kanban board, work is simply visualized so there’s no confusion about completed tasks, tasks in progress, and tasks that are yet to be started.

Team members don’t have to file reports or spend hours talking about what needs to get done when they have a transparent way of seeing their progress.

And by removing the need for status meetings, it becomes much easier to focus on resolving problems and improving team performance.

  1. Flexibility

One of the main benefits of Kanban boards is that they’re flexible.

They can be adapted to a particular team’s workflow, their unique constraints, and the stakeholders.

There’s no need for teams to adjust to the way Kanban operates, as it follows the most basic principles of task and project management.

Typically, teams move task cards from the “To do” list, allowing project managers or team leads to reprioritize tasks without disrupting the team.

Start Using Kanban Task Boards

There are many benefits to using Kanban to organize work, which is why Vabotu expanded on the concept of visual task management and created a centralized workspace.

As a team communication and collaboration solution, Vabotu offers features such as:

These three features are all contained within one app, which makes it the ultimate solution for teams who want to focus on delivering their best work.

Vabotu Kanban Task Boards

In Vabotu, a project team can set up boards with multiple cards and tasks for each workspace.

Each task can also contain:


  • Multiple subtasks
  • Images
  • Labels
  • Due dates
  • Notes

If a team member needs someone’s feedback, they can easily ask for it with the help of @mentions.

There’s no need to open a separate app – everything can be done in Vabotu.

Team members can add tasks for themselves on Vabotu’s Kanban boards, or add task for their colleagues to complete.

Additionally, stages on the Vabotu boards can be completely customized to fit each team’s particular needs.

In all aspects, Vabotu follows Kanban best practices that make work a lot easier on teams with a lot of things on their plate. Regardless of their industry.

And since no collaboration tool would be complete without a place to store files and a communications hub…

Vabotu’s Team Chat & Collaboration Hub

Teams waste a lot of time switching between apps. On average, employees spend 2.5 hours every day finding the information they need to do their jobs.

This is why Vabotu offers the full collaboration package with team chat and a collaboration hub included.

The work is done within workspaces, which then branch out into Kanban boards, team messaging apps, and media and design hubs.

Instead of wasting time uploading files to Dropbox or Google Drive, and then syncing it to Slack, only to have to update Trello, teams can now do everything in one place.

Vabotu brings simplicity to project management and team collaboration.

The process is lean, and everything can be tracked in one app by every team member.

It’s the new era of team collaboration.

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