Jack Wallen’s eyes have been lately opened to the concept of kanban boards. In case you’ve but to comprehend how useful these instruments will be, learn on and uncover the productiveness magic that awaits.

Picture: Elnur/Shutterstock

I am late to the occasion. Means late. This was largely by design. What I do for a dwelling is not one thing that usually advantages from the likes of venture administration instruments. However then I used to be tasked with overlaying kanban boards and found the software is not only for software program engineers and venture managers. 

SEE: The way forward for work: Instruments and techniques for the digital office (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

It took me possibly two days to discover a kanban answer I may tweak excellent to suit my wants. So as an alternative of statuses like New, Prepared, In Progress, Prepared for Check, Performed and Archived, I may use Thought, First Draft, Beta Readers, First Spherical Edits, Second Spherical Edits, Third Spherical Edits, Proof Studying and Despatched to Writer. As soon as I had that setup, the “Ah-ha” gentle went off over my head and I noticed why so many individuals across the globe rely upon such instruments.

They make work and life much more productive.

So much.


It isn’t nearly productiveness, but in addition about accuracy, accountability, trackability and group. As somebody who tends to have a number of writing initiatives going directly, it will possibly generally get a bit complicated as to which venture is during which state. Through the use of a kanban board, I can now inform precisely the place every guide is in its workflow, who has the manuscript and what’s left to be accomplished. I may also get a greater thought as to when one venture is perhaps completed and the way far different initiatives are from that state.

All of it makes a lot sense now.

I used to imagine kanban boards have been designed for managers who preferred to get manner too micro with their workers and process them into oblivion, take management of their each working second, and have the power to carry ft to fireside when one space of a venture had fallen behind.

Now, I perceive this technique is extra about empowering the customers, be they builders, designers, knowledge analysts, admins or assist. Truthfully, it would not matter what place you maintain. You do not even need to be employed by an organization or employed in any respect to profit from a kanban. 

Think about these: 

  • A kanban chore board.
  • A kanban cooking board.
  • A kanban research board.
  • A kanban writing board.
  • A kanban board for fantasy sports activities.

This listing can go on and on. In truth, should you can break a process down into constituent elements, chances are high good you should use a kanban board.

What’s a kanban board?

Earlier than I proceed, let’s reply this straightforward query (as a result of not everybody comes into this within the know). Kanban means signboard and is a lean technique to handle and enhance work throughout methods that depend upon people. Objects for duties are visualized to offer these concerned a view of the progress of the duty. 

Think about a spreadsheet that’s divided into columns like this:


In progress

Peer Evaluate




Process 1

Process 2

Process 3

Process 4

Every column represents a state for every process. On the far left is the place every process begins and on the far proper is the place every is accomplished. As you may see we’ve 4 duties (1, 2, 3 and 4), every of which is in a distinct state. Process 1 is in Testing, Process 2 is in Starting, Process 3 is in Peer Evaluate and Process 4 is Performed. You possibly can shortly see, at-a-glance, the place every process stands in its workflow.

Let’s make this extra relatable.









So the toilet chore hasn’t been assigned, the dishes process has been assigned, trash is in progress and homework is finished. A mum or dad may take a look at that kanban board and know precisely the place chores stand day by day. 

That is progress. 

That is effectivity.

That is efficient.

Why it took me this lengthy to comprehend that kanban can apply to absolutely anything is past me. And now that so many individuals are working from residence, with out the added bonus of a supervisor wanting over their shoulders always, some would possibly want a little bit of assist staying centered on the lifecycle of a process.

The advantages of utilizing a kanban board

Sure, kanban boards are usually employed by software program builders and managers. However given how versatile most kanban platforms are, they are often made helpful for any process, crew or matter. The advantages of kanban embody:

  • Higher visualization of workflow
  • Improved effectivity
  • Improved collaboration
  • Elevated and balanced productiveness
  • Keep away from over tasking crew members
  • Elevated focus
  • Waste discount
  • Flexibility
  • Higher time administration
  • Empowers customers
  • Higher useful resource allocation

Not each profit will apply to each state of affairs, however that shortlist alone ought to have you ever severely reconsidering your stance that kanban is not the software for you. Likelihood is good a kanban board would make your life simpler.

I am not right here to promote you on any given kanban board answer. Though I’ve discovered the one which works for me, your wants and calls for will fluctuate. What I am right here to do is shrug off that cloud of thriller which will or might not encompass kanban boards for you. In case you’re like me, you’ve got ignored these instruments, as a result of they merely did not apply to your state of affairs. However should you wrestle to handle any sort of process or have turn into so busy you can use a little bit of assist conserving your workflow organized, a kanban board is perhaps simply the factor. And it would not matter should you’re part of a crew or a one-person present, kanban boards can nonetheless assist. Though I do work straight with editors, they do not essentially need to know the place any given manuscript or article is in its lifecycle. I, then again, do. And given how a lot I write, having one thing to maintain me on process and arranged has been an actual eye-opener.

In case you’ve not given a kanban board consideration, achieve this. Your day by day life will thanks.

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