The Complete Guide to Kanban Agile Methodology in Project Management

November 3, 2022
2 minute read


What is Kanban?

Kanban is an agile framework project management methodology which teams use to visualize workflows, add task clarity, and increase team focus and quality using cards (kanban cards) on a board (kanban board). This enables constant improvement in project management processes and output.

The word "kanban" is comprised of two Japanese words: kan, which means "sign," and ban, which means "card." It was initially devised at the Japanese auto giant, Toyota, in the 1940s by engineer Taiichi Ohno to fine-tune production processes so that output matched demand, and there wouldn't be an overproduction of materials that would lead to waste.

Today, project managers use agile project management with kanban to ensure that no resources are wasted, and quality is maintained throughout.

Kanban Basics: How To Apply Kanban In Project Management

To use the kanban methodology, you'll first need a kanban board. A kanban board is a surface (physical or digital) that you can divide into at least three columns:

  • To-Do (also known as backlog)
  • Doing (work in progress or WIP)
  • Done (completed tasks)

Next, you'll need kanban cards. Kanban cards represent tasks that your project team needs to do. To make your kanban cards effective, fill them in with a specific task name, a description, the person assigned to do the task, the deadline, and dependencies (if applicable). 

All your cards will begin under the To Do column. As your team works on them, you'll start to move the cards along the other columns.

Use Workamajig to manage your kanban projects.Workamajig_Screenshot

Other terms you will want to learn when you use the kanban agile method in project management are the following:

  • Throughput: The amount of tasks your project team finishes within a certain period
  • Blockers: Factors that prevent a task from progressing. For software development, these can be major bugs. For marketing, these can be resource dependencies, approvals, etc.
  • Lead Time: How long it takes for a task to travel from To Do to Done. For example, if it takes you three days to write a blog post, then the lead time for every post is three days.
  • Swimlanes: Vertical partitions in your kanban board that add layers of organization. You can use swimlanes to group tasks according to priority, work type, etc.


Kanban Software

There are several Kanban tools available for you to choose from; you can use a physical board or Kanban software. The best Kanban software will allow you to customize your columns, add ample detail to your tasks, and assign them to the members of your Kanban team.

When picking a tool for your kanban style project management, be sure to consider your specific needs. Remember, the best kanban tool for your team isn't always the one with the most features, but the one with the specific features that your team needs.

Manage your kanban style workflows in the most organized and efficient manner by using the Workamajig project management software. Built for the specific needs of creative teams, the features and benefits are exactly what your marketing agency wants and needs. Learn more about Workamajig today!


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