Kanban Tool

Get to know Kanban Tool

Kanban” means “visual signal” or “card” in Japanese, and that’s exactly how this platform works. Your basic view is a “board,” or a visual model of a project or process.

“Cards”–a.k.a. tasks–are created on the left side of the board. As you make progress on a task, you move it across the board to the right. In this way, each column of your board becomes a stage of your workflow.

Imagine that you’re looking to bring another software developer onto the team, so you create a “Hiring New Programmer” board.

First, you’d want to create columns for each stage of the hiring process: “Application,” “Phone interview,” “In-person interview,” “Social interview,” and “Job offer.” Next, you would add in cards for every candidate that turned in an application. Once you’d figured out who you wanted to interview over the phone, you’d move the cards for those respective people into the “phone interview” column. The process would repeat until you’d extended an offer to one of the candidates.

Because Kanban Tool allows you to customize each card, you can use the app to store a ton of info. Break tasks into sub-tasks by adding checklists; centralize your materials by uploading files and including web links; give clarification or ask questions by commenting; keep track of changes by monitoring card history; and boost your efficiency by assigning deadlines, task owners, and task difficulty points.

Customize boards even further by creating “parent” columns. For example, your customer support team could have one parent column for “Complaints.” Within “Complaints,” add separate columns for “Ticket created,” “Customer contacted,” and “Issue resolved.”

The “Work in Progress” option is super handy, as well. Under each board’s settings, Kanban Tool allows you to set a cap on how many tasks can go in a specific column and how many tasks a single user can be assigned. You can even limit the total difficulty of the cards in a column—a really useful way to ensure that a single stage of your workflow or project doesn’t get overloaded.

Once a card has been assigned to a person on your team, it will appear on his or her dashboard under the “My Work” pane (as well as on the board itself.) “My Work” essentially gives everyone their own to-do lists.

Some of Kanban Tool’s most constructive features are found under the “Analytics” tab. Here, users can generate multiple reports on everything from the current status of your boards to which stages normally experience bottlenecks.

There’s also a time report, which ties into Kanban Tool’s third main function: time-tracking. Your team members use the built-in timer to monitor how long they spend on each task. Kanban Tool will then show you those individual results, as well as how much time your team spent overall, and how team members compare to one another.

Kanban Tool is a fantastic option for any team that uses workflows or established processes on a regular basis. Thanks to its highly visual structure and intuitive rules, setting up your account and actually using Kanban Tool will be a breeze.

Learn more about how to use Kanban boards in our Kanban 101 guide.

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