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3 min read

7 ways to automate your Kanban board

By Will Harris · September 22, 2022

Zapier and Kanban go hand in hand. Not only because Zapier integrates with virtually every Kanban-style app out there, but because not everyone knows how to properly pronounce our names. Reminder: Zapier makes you happier!

However you pronounce it (is it can-ban or con-bon?), Kanban is becoming an increasingly popular workflow that's helped teams all over the world manage their projects and be more productive.

But are teams leaving more on the table? While using the Kanban method can bring a huge productivity boost, there are ways to automate your Kanban board to make it work even harder. Here are some of the most popular ways we see people getting it done.

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To get started with a Zap template—what we call our pre-made workflows—just click on the button, and we'll guide you through customizing it. It only takes a few minutes. You can read more about setting up Zaps here.

Manage personal tasks

Whether you're using them at work or in your professional life, Kanban boards are a great way to manage personal tasks—and adding automation to the mix makes them even better.

There are plenty of ways to automate your Kanban personal task management. For example, if you want to create a new card automatically from an email you just received or a Slack message, you can use Zapier to do exactly that. 

Or, if there's a particular task you know you need to do at the same time every week, you can set up a Zap—our word for automated workflow—to create a card for that task at the same time every week.

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Create Trello cards from new starred Gmail emails [Business Gmail Accounts Only]
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Track your sales pipeline

One of the reasons Kanban has become so popular is that it gives you a view that shows progress. It's more of a spectrum than a binary, and that lends itself particularly well to something like managing a sales pipeline.

You can create columns for different lead statuses—like contacted, demo booked, contact later, or won—and see different leads progress through your pipeline.

With Zapier, you can add new leads straight into your Kanban board of choice, helping make sure you follow up with prospects ASAP.

Book meetings to move projects forward

Even though we try to accomplish a lot of our work asynchronously here at Zapier, we also know that meetings are sometimes necessary. We also take some of the pain out of coordinating meetings by automating them.

Using the Zap templates below, you can create calendar events for particular activities in your Kanban board. Maybe you want to schedule a call each time a new board is created to kick off a project. Or, maybe you want to create a time slot in your calendar for each task assigned to you. With Zapier, you can do both of those and a lot more.

Keep everyone up to date

In between meetings, you'll still want to keep your team up-to-date on everything that's happening with a project. Whether your team prefers email or a chat app like Slack, you can set up workflows that let your team know when important activity is happening in your Kanban board.

Build your editorial calendar

Along with task, pipeline, and project management, Kanban is also a popular method for marketing teams to manage their editorial calendar. Creating columns for different stages of the editorial process—like ideas, in progress, editing, and published—gives you a great way to track the progress of pieces in your content queue.

With automation, you can do everything from letting your team know the status of different articles to reminding yourself to review a draft later to letting a writer know when they've been assigned a new piece.

Guide your product roadmap

Development teams were some of the first to start using Kanban in the tech world. Product management tools like Jira, ClickUp, and Productboard all offer Kanban views for teams who prefer to get their work done that way.

By connecting your development platform with your Kanban board, you can make sure issues are tracked, assigned, and resolved across the two tools.

Switch platforms with ease

Whether it's your home or a particular software tool—moving is a pain. But that shouldn't stop you from switching tools if the one you're using isn't the right fit.

Sure, migrating all of your projects manually from one Kanban tool to the next would be a long, laborious process. But with Zapier, you can automate the process and transfer all of your tasks and projects from one platform to the next.

For more on switching platforms with automation—Kanban or other—check out this post.

Get even more from your Kanban board

Okay, maybe there are two things Zapier and Kanban have in common. The pronunciation thing, for sure (we'll let someone else weigh in on how to properly pronounce Kanban), but also the variety of ways both help make individuals and teams more productive.

Combine the two, and you have a combo that can't be beat.

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A Zap with the trigger 'When I get a new lead from Facebook,' and the action 'Notify my team in Slack'