What is Kanban Board? Right ways to use Kanban boards

by StarAgile

October 14, 2020
Category Kanban


Do you want to do the work systematically by prioritizing things without overburdening and also ensure that you can save costs, save time, and reduce waste at the same time? Then you are reading the right article. 

There is an easy and simple way of doing things in order and ensure you satisfy all the requirements mentioned in the above paragraph. Normally that is not easy without the help of the Kanban board. 

Think of simple things in life such as maintain your day-to-day activities at home. It is not that easy if not made without the help of the tool, it is complex and will result in errors. Hence it may require multiple iterations to become perfect in the activities. Whether it is tidying up the home, washcloths, cleaning the rooms, going shopping, and any activity you may think must make use of Kanban board to make it perfectly the first time. Whether it is at work or home Kanban board can be used easily with some simple steps. 

However, if you need to get professional certification with Kanban designing in the organization get the Kanban training at StarAgile Institute. 

What is Kanban board?

Kanban Board is the work scheduling board that makes use of the sticky notes or paste it notes and the whiteboard to make the items in three columns namely the 

  • “To Do” list
  • “Work in Progress (WIP)” and 
  • “Work done” 

The paste will represent the work that we need to do with sequence numbers and quantities etc to do the work. When items along with the paste it notes travels from left to right in order of the sequence and desired work from the “To Do” list to WIP and finally to the Work done column. This makes the scheduling and just in time inventory management easy.

There are lots of benefits of Kanban boards they are as follows,

  • Enhanced Efficiency
  • Cost-saving
  • Time management
  • Team collaboration
  • Increase in Visibility
  • Process effectiveness
  • Just In Time Inventory
  • Less overburdening of the members
  • Effective scheduling
  • Enhanced sequencing of work etc

StarAgile institute offers Kanban certification training that is accredited by world-renowned Lean Kanban University

Origin of Kanban board

First pioneered by the Japanese car manufacturer Toyota and used and founded by the Japanese Industrial Engineer Taiichi Ohno at Toyota in the 1940's as Kanban system. The Kanban of today has undergone many changes because of advancements in technology such as computers and digitization. 

In around 2007 the Kanban idea was developed by David Anderson and his colleague Darren Davis the Kanban board came into the picture. The whiteboard Kanban is still used more widely in many manufacturing industries and even in the software development field. It has become a widely used tool in agile project management so much that sometimes the Kanban board is also called the agile task board.  Learn how to use the Kanban board from StarAgile in its Kanban Management Professional certification. 

Basic elements of Kanban board

A Kanban board usually is a whiteboard that is divided into three columns such as “To Do”, “Work in Progress” and “Work done”. The Kanban cards travel through these columns from left to right.

  • Kanban Cards – These are the cards which have the required information such as work, work assigned, deadline, status, etc
  • Kanban Columns – There are three columns as described above and how the cards navigate.
  • Work-in-Progress Limits - These are used to limit the work which is a new addition so that the current work gets completed and maintain the focus by the team
  • Swimlanes - These are the horizontal lines that separate the different activities, different teams, and classes of services, etc.

The Kanban columns can be expanded into more columns depending on the different activities such as manufacturing, software development, etc.

The Kanban chart with a Kanban board example is shown in the diagram below,


The best way to learn Kanban is by enrolling in the StarAgile training institute’s Kanban course.

Right ways to use Kanban boards

The Kanban board can be best used in the following ways,

1. To sequence and prioritize - One of the best ways is to sequence and prioritize the workflow management system by using the Kanban boards. The cards that you use must tell you which one comes first and which one is next and so on. 

2. To get the focus of the team - Have the limits on the work in progress so that your team can concentrate on the already assigned work and complete them. You need to ensure that this produces to deliver value to the customer so that the work gets completed on time and with high quality. The use of swimlanes will help you categorize similar works and will let you know too many cards are present in the "To Do" list.

3. Visualize the problems in the work - This is the main feature of Kanban boards. If you see that there are lots of cards getting accumulated in the "WIP" then there is a problem and you need to find out the source of the problem by seeing the cards that are slow or not meeting the timelines. You can find the source of the problem easily using the Kanban board. Start with a simpler board and then streamline the board further to make the workflow management system efficient. The KMP 1 certification of the StarAgile covers more details on the Kanban system.

4. Visualize Blockers - Few cards may be preventing the team from efficiently performing the work, so those must be identified as red cards and then moved to blocked lists. This way you can prevent problems from occurring in the first place and will enhance the efficiency of the team and the project.

5. To save time - The main purpose of the Kanban system is to save time on the projects and thus costs. While using the cards you need to segregate and identify the cards which are waste of time such as meetings etc. This system prevents the usage of long reports or long meetings when everyone is aware of what is happening from the board. It is clear from the cards on what is being done and who is doing what.

Final Thoughts

Kanban board is used in the Kanban system in the realization of certain benefits discussed in the paragraphs above. This system is being used in many software companies and manufacturing firms’ world over successfully. They have realized savings in terms of cost and time by using the Kanban boards. 

To explore more on the Kanban boards and how to make one in the real-time scenario enroll for the Kanban training online with StarAgile institute. StarAgile conducts 2 courses on Kanban they are Kanban Management Professional 1 and Kanban Management professional 2. They are taught by excellent consultants with industrial expertise and certifications. 

After the completion of the courses successfully with StarAgile, you will be awarded the certificate from the world-renowned Lean Kanban University.