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32 Practical Kanban Board Examples

If you're trying to build a board, following Kanban's best practices, we've got more than one Kanban board example to consider. 31 tested templates await you.

Introduction

There is no doubt that the Kanban board is a tremendous tool for improving workflow efficiency because it visualizes all tasks in a work process and provides overall process transparency.

It allows teams to have a clear overview of all work items and to control them through the different stages of their workflow.

Of course, when considering how to create a Kanban board, you need to have your team’s needs in mind. Therefore, the application of Kanban may vary for the different teams.

In the following paragraphs, we tried to collect and show you some of the Kanban best practices.

Let’s have a more detailed look.

Basic Kanban Board

Engineering & Manufacturing Board Examples

Portfolio Kanban Boards

IT Team board

Support Team Board

Software Dev Team Boards

QA Team Board

Basic Kanban Board Example

basic kanban board

The basic Kanban board is a great start for teams who are new to the Kanban concept. It usually consists of 3 to 4 columns without any complications.

This simplified Kanban board is a great way for beginners to visualize their work and establish the foundations of a highly efficient workflow. Here, Kanban finds its application in the most organic way.

 

Engineering & Manufacturing Board Examples

engineering-portfolio-lane-kanban board

  / The Initiatives/Projects Workflow & Multiple Workflows are exclusive features of Kanbanize/

There is a strong belief that Kanban is applicable mainly to IT and software companies. However, lately, more and more companies use Kanban boards to manage their engineering and manufacturing processes. 

Kanban makes it easy for companies to achieve full top-down transparency, manage multiple projects, and connect planning with execution.

  • Simple Engineering Board

engineering_simple-kanban board

It is a simple board from the automotive industry that you can easily implement in other sectors. You can see clearly defined process steps that help different team members collaborate efficiently and increase throughput. There is a clear definition of done and what follows next. The next example shows how to visualize engineering and assembly processes together.

  • Engineering + Assembly Board

engineering_assembly-kanban board

Thanks to Kanbanize, you can combine two totally different workflows and place them on the same board. This way, you have a quick overview of the whole process sequence. You don’t have to jump between different boards and lose time connecting the information, because it is all in one place.

  • Engineering + Assembly + Project Board

engineering-portfolio-lane-kanban board

To upgrade the previous two examples, here we introduce the Projects’ swimlane, also called Initiatives workflow. With this feature, you can visualize all projects, break them down into deliverable work items, and keep track of each of them. At a glance. 


So, to continue with the different industry showcases, let’s move to the next board coming from the aerospace industry. 

  • Procurement/Manufacturing Board

Manufacturing-procurement-kanban board

Procurement is a specific activity for each manufacturing company. This is why you can start by simply mapping your procurement process on a Kanban board, as shown in the example above. As you see, thanks to the Initiatives workflow (mentioned earlier), you can break down all department projects and track them easily. To increase visibility, you can also separate the different product types in different swimlanes - as you see in the example "Hardware" and "Service."

  • Manufacturing Board with Subsidiaries/Subcontractors

Manufacturing-application-kanban board

In manufacturing, there are different parties involved in the process. Very often, such companies have a dozen different subsidiaries responsible for various products or activities. These small units can often be located at a distance from each other. In such cases, a well structured Kanban board (as shown above) allows you to track the work of the different units easily. 


This example from the aerospace industry comes to show how you can coordinate the work between different subunits to efficiently remove process blockers.

  • Manufacturing + Procurement Board

Manufacturing-combined-kanban board

When your company reaches a certain maturity level, you can combine the previous two examples and create this extensive board. Don’t worry. With Kanbanize, you will still be able to map different workflows on a single board (as shown above). 


This board is a combination of the previous two examples and shows how you can connect logical steps of a long, complicated processes such as in the aerospace industry and visualize them together. This way, you don’t have to switch between different boards. When a task from the upper flow reaches the Done section, the other team can pull it to its workflow and make sure it flows through the process. 

Organize Work, Keep Track of Projects

And Optimize Your Workflow.


Kanban Helps Manufacturing and Engineering companies:

- Gain transparency across all projects and divisions
- Acquire accurate status reports delivered in real-time
- Organize and keep track of all work items and projects

Portfolio Kanban Board Examples

portfolio timeline kanban board example

Often, teams are focused on day-to-day operational tasks and when the workflow begins to run faster, it becomes difficult to see the bigger picture on a strategic level. This is the exact moment when Portfolio Kanban finds its application.

The Portfolio Kanban board template is similar to the previous one, however, it is suitable for planning your long-term activities and overall strategies. For example, it is a great way of visualizing the strategic evolution of a company, a department or a team.

Depending on the size of a company/department or the focus of work, portfolio boards my vary. Here are a few examples that you may use in different situations.

  • Product Development Portfolio Board

product kanban board example

As you can see, this board can help you visualize, manage and keep track of all important aspects of the product development process. This is a great way for everyone to see the direction that your company follows in regard to product development. 

You can simply prioritize all initiatives by using two swimlanes as shown in the image above and follow the process. 

The one at the top is for work that must be delivered, which means it is crucial for the success of the product. The bottom one is for optional work that is good to be delivered, but it doesn’t bring much added-value to the product.

  • Strategic Portfolio Board

strategic portfolio board

As you can see, this agile Kanban board can help you visualize, manage and keep track of all important aspects from a strategic point of view. This is a great way for everyone to see the direction that your company follows in regard to strategic development.

You can simply visualize our company's objectives, connect all related projects and break them down into actionable items by using Kanban swimlanes as shown in the image above and follow the process.

As you can see the top swimlane is for the objectives/goals, which means this is the direction our company/department want to go to. The 2nd lane is for all projects/experiments that will help you achieve the objectives. This is where you conceptualize projects/experiments and the last swimlane is for action items that are of crucial importance for the projects.

  • IT Operations Portfolio Board

IT portfolio board example

In case you are wondering how to create a Kanban board for an IT product portfolio, this is a classic example. The workflow steps are pretty simple and they follow the natural flow of IT teams.

If you want to classify the work you can simply do it by using swimlanes for business projects and internal projects.

In the top one you put initiatives that support the business in executing high-value activities, while in the bottom one you place initiatives that support the normal functioning of the company.

  • Master Project Portfolio Board

Master portfolio kanban board example

This portfolio board is applicable for small to midsize companies where it is easier for executives to keep an eye on multiple teams at the same time.

As you can see on the image above, the stages of the workflow are basic and swimlanes are used to classify the work of different teams.

This is pretty simple, but it can help you see what is happening in the different departments of your company at a glance.

  • Project Portfolio Management with Kanbanize

Master portfolio kanbanize board example

  /The Timeline workflow & Initiatives Swimlane are exclusive features of Kanbanize/

Before we continue with the rest of this article, let us show you an easy way to achieve organizational transparency with Kanbanize.
In Kanbanize, you can visualize initiatives in the form of cards and then break them down into actionable projects (smaller tasks). These items are visualized as small colorful squares inside the main initiative. This way you can keep track of all projects or tasks related to the strategic goal. From there you can break down the work to the different team boards and see how the smallest task contributes to the main strategic goal. This is a scenario you can see in the image above.

Kanban Helps Companies on a Portfolio level:
– Achieve a high level of transparency
– Organize and keep track of all initiatives and projects
– Acquire accurate status reports delivered in real-time
– Use data-driven forecasting

Set Up Your Portfolio Board Now

And Optimize Your Workflow.

 

IT Operations Kanban Board Example

IT kanban board example

IT operations teams often have a problem with prioritizing their work in the most optimal way. This is due to the enormous amount of tasks IT departments have to deal with. Therefore, using a Kanban board to visualize workflows can give a significant advantage to IT operations teams.

Apart from using columns to differentiate the stages of the flow, the team can use swimlanes to avoid priority conflicts and acquire a better understanding of the tasks’ importance. After all, a Kanban board can help IT teams plan better, focus and speed up delivery.

But let’s discover some different board designs appropriate for IT teams.

  • IT Operations Beginners Board

IT simple kanban board

If your team is new to Kanban, you can start with this simple approach. Map your workflow on the board without any complications.

Begin with a Ready to Start column and then just visualize the significant process steps that a task must pass to reach Done. It is also a good idea to use swimlanes to prioritize work and tackle urgent issues.

  • IT Operations Master Board

IT combined kanban board

/The Timeline workflow is an exclusive feature of Kanbanize/

Depending on the size of your organization, your IT team can have a wide spectrum of activities to process. In such cases, there could be smaller sub-teams such as sysadmin, NETENG, DBA, and others.

This is the right moment to use separate swimlanes for your sub-teams. This way you can keep an eye on everything that is happening in your IT department at a glance.

On the other hand, it could be a real pain to maintain all the work in one place if your IT unit expands. Therefore, you better go the extra mile and build those separate boards for each of your IT teams.

  • IT Sysadmin Board

IT sysadimn kanban board

The sysadmin board will help your dedicated team organize and track their work in a convenient way. Sysadmins have a wide variety of tasks and having their own board will help them stay coordinated and productive.

Using similar Kanban board temples, as shown above, will help your team differentiate tasks such as running backups, maintaining system security, checking system configurations, etc. and speed up delivery.

  • IT DBA Board

IT DBA kanban board

Database administrators (DBA’s) can also have their own board. Not just for the sake of having it, but because it will be much easier for them to tame the chaos and track their work on a separate board.

As we all know, when teams grow processes become more complex. So having their own board will help DBA teams keep track of tasks with different priority and scope. For example, managing VLDB’s, efficiently loading the data warehouse of data extracted from multiple existing production systems and others.

  • IT Master Process Board

IT master process kanban board

IT departments usually try to process more work than their capacity allows. Most of this work remains invisible, and as we know invisible work causes longer lead time and cycle time. This may result in a chaotic work process, angry customers, and unhappy line managers.

Therefore, you can use this last example, that shows you how to structure your IT ops board in a way that can help you acquire a better overview of the different workflows in your IT unit.

You can see everything at a glance, from regular activities such as fixing issues and maintenance to internal and business projects that are of greater importance from a strategic point of view.

In this case, the columns represent commonly accepted workflow stages of ?n IT team. However, with Kanban, you have the flexibility to configure your board in any way that fits your team’s needs.

Kanban Helps IT Teams:
– Avoid the overloading of certain parts of the team
– Differentiate types of work and prioritize
– Identify areas/resources within IT causing blockage for things being done
– Define the overall time it takes tasks to move through the system under each workstream

Set Up Your IT Operations Board

Quick and Easy.

 

Support Team Kanban Board Example

support kanban board example

Support teams usually have very dynamic workflows. Tasks are coming and going faster compared to other teams. Furthermore, if you have a decent amount of customers, sooner or later, it becomes crucial for you to have a centralized solution so you can track all customer or internal requests. This is where Kanban comes into play.

A Kanban board for support teams may look different depending on the nature of your business. Here, the usage of swimlanes is inevitable. The team can apply them in order to divide work precisely based on priority, the time needed for solving an issue and else.

Moreover, team members can attach any details related to a certain issue and follow the status of any ticket. These advantages make communication and the tracking process much more efficient and reliable.

Let’s explore a few useful examples that may help you when considering how to create a Kanban board for your support team.

  • First Level of Support Board

first level support kanban board

It is a common practice support teams to be divided into first and second level of support. First level of support is responsible for basic customer issues. Usually team members gather as much information as possible from the customer in order to solve a problem.

However, clients can also be internal users, so it may be a good idea to use swimlanes in order to divide external support tickets from internal ones (as shown on the image above).

As work items go naturally through the workflow, some typical process stages may be implemented as a Client Feedback column, a Waiting on RND column or any other stage applicable to a specific team needs.

  • Second Level of Support

second level support kanban board

The second line is a more in-depth level of support where team members are more experienced and have an extensive knowledge of a particular product or service. For the very same reason their tasks may be of higher business importance.

Therefore, swimlanes may be used to differentiate high business value tasks from regular support tickets. As usual, an Incidents/Expedite can be used on top of the board alarming for urgent tasks.

  • Combined Support Board

combined support kanban board

/The Timeline workflow is an exclusive feature of Kanbanize/

As you can see, this board is a combination of the previous two examples. Here the swimlanes may be used for precise work prioritization and time management.

In general, this board could help the different lines of support to collaborate efficiently and keep control on different customer issues no matter the level of their complexity.

Kanban Helps Support Teams:
– Organize a great amount of work
– Keep track of every support ticket
– Have better control over the work process
– Maintain a short cycle time of solving customer issues

Set Up Your Support Team Board

With a Few Simple Clicks.

 

Software Dev Team Kanban Board Examples

software dev kanban board example

Dev teams usually have a workflow that consists of many functional steps. Here is why an agile Kanban board designed for development teams can have a certain level of complexity.

A Kanban board template for dev teams will naturally have a large number of columns such as Business requirements, Development, Verifications and etc. However, very often the essence of work is different.

For example, some tasks may require work on defects/bugs and others may require work on new product features. This is a great opportunity to implement swimlanes, so you can visually distinguish the various classes of work.

Now, let’s explore some examples of Kanban boards that may be suitable for different software development teams.

  • Small Development Team’s Board

small software team kanban board example

This board is appropriate for small teams or ones that are relatively new to the Kanban method.

As you can see the workflow consists of basic process stages for a typical software dev team such as design, development, code review, testing & deployment.

It is commonly accepted that such teams should have a Review column in order to establish high-quality standards.

Also, it is a common practice to implement an Expedite swimlane in order to differentiate urgent tasks from planned work.

  • Software Dev Team Board with QA Included

software & qa team kanban board example

Naturally, software dev teams may work on the same board with their QA peers. In these cases, you can structure a joint board as shown on the image above.

You may want to implement two or more columns for the QA team depending on the complexity of your teams’ processes.

Typically you’d have to put them right after the software dev team’s “in progress” stage and they will serve as a filter that secures high-quality standards before work items go to production.

For such scenarios, it is also a typical use case to use swimlanes in order to separate different classes of work such as Defects/Bugs, Features, etc.

  • Front-end/Back-end Kanban Board

Front-end/Back-end Kanban Board example

/The Timeline workflow is an exclusive feature of Kanbanize/

This agile Kanban board consists of the most typical steps for a software dev team. It is pretty similar to the example for small development team shown above.

However, in this case, swimlanes are used to separate bugs and front-end tasks from back-end work items. Here, the trick is that you can use task dependencies between the last two swimlanes in order to avoid miscommunication.

For example, imagine that you have a front-end task that should be started only when a related back-end task is completed. In this case, you can use task dependencies which will allow you to visually block the front-end task until the back-end task is finished. This common practice helps teams to stay tuned for what needs to be done next and improves collaboration.

  • Software Kanban Board with UAT Stage

sofware UAT team kanban board example

/The Timeline workflow is an exclusive feature of Kanbanize/

Similarly to the previous board example, this one follows the logic of visualizing some of the basic software dev process stages. Swimlanes are also used to structure common types of work for such teams like defects, features, and urgent tasks.

The difference here comes with the User Acceptance column. User acceptance testing (UAT) is the last phase of the software testing process.

Some teams skip this step, but many prefer to go with it in order to collect valuable feedback from real customers. During UAT, actual users test the software to make sure it can meet customers’ requirements in real-world scenarios.

The UAT step can be of critical importance if you have lots of users so you can use small groups of them to test and validate certain features before wide implementation. It is also applicable if you deliver software for external clients, so they can test the product before the final production stage.

  • Kanban Board for Advanced Software Dev Teams

kanban board example advanced Software Teams

/The Timeline workflow is an exclusive feature of Kanbanize/

Kanban boards give you limitless opportunities to structure and organize your team’s workflow. Depending on the complexity of your work process you can unfold a Kanban board to a complex workflow system such as the one shown above.

In this case, you can see that there are various workflow stages that may include tech design, coding, testing, etc. At the same time, swimlanes are used to differentiate types of work.

However, in more complicated scenarios swimlanes can also be used to visualize the work of multiple other teams whose work is closely related to the software dev team activities. In the current case – customer support and QA.

If you are relatively new to the Kanban world, we recommend to start simple and evolve your board naturally as you and your team become more familiar with the method.

Kanban Helps Software Dev Teams:
– Organize different types of work and prioritize
– Identify bottlenecks in the work process
– Detect blockers and boost collaboration
– Reduce wasteful activities and speed-up delivery

Power-Up Your Dev Team

Build Your Board. 

 

QA Team Kanban Board Example

qa kanban board example

QA teams are closely related to Dev teams. In this sense, both are seemingly important for the success of any product development process. They are inter-dependable and this is why their boards often look similar. Even more, it is a widespread practice Dev teams and QA teams to work on the same board.

Here, the swimlanes also find their application. For example, they can be used as a prioritizing tool. With their help, critical issues can be easily located and tracked when needed.

Therefore, a QA team’s Kanban board can have swimlanes such as “Low Priority”, “Normal Priority” and “Expedite”. Additionally, QA teams can rely on different card types so they can specify what kind of issue they work on (bug, new feature, etc.).

Here are two Kanban board designs that can be appropriate for QA teams.

  • QA Team Board with Types of Work

QA basic kanban board

As quality engineers are responsible for the high standards of each feature/product, they have to ensure quality delivery in every release.

In order to separate different types of work QA teams, you can use swimlanes such as Bugs, Features, Expedite, etc. This way, the team can acquire a clear overview of their current work in progress.

The columns could be labeled as shown on the image above or they can be even more process-specific, such as in the example below.

  • Process-Specific QA Board

QA process kanban board

In this case, you pull the cards, which represent features that need to be tested. The swimlanes are used to separate the work items related to different products.

If performing a regression test is your final reassurance that a feature is ready for deployment, be sure to make it the last step in your process.

Otherwise, you could add a column called Final Regression, just before the Done column, to clarify the difference between work in testing and work that has passed testing but still needs final regression.

Kanban Helps QA Teams:
– Eliminate unrealistic expectations
– Keep track of tasks
– Define the actual team’s capacity
– Prioritize work

Set Up Your QA Team Board

Quick and Easy.

A Piece of Advice From Us

You may structure Kanban boards in many different ways depending on work focus, team’s functionalities, external factors and etc. Building the optimal version of your board is an ongoing process, and it should reflect all dynamics in the working environment.

1. Start with what you do now. Map your current workflow as it is. Don’t be tempted to make a fundamental process reconstructions. They are time-consuming and costly. Your work process may just need some small improvements.

2. Pay attention when using ready-made templates. All Kanban board examples are built to meet the needs of specific teams. Figure out what your team’s needs are and build the board around them.

3. Pursue evolutionary change. You should constantly improve your Kanban boards in order to find the best structure that fits your team’s working processes. But even when you find it, you don’t have to stop because there is always a place for improvements.

Organize Work, Keep Track of Projects

And Optimize Your Workflow.

 

In Summary

  • Starting with a basic Kanban board template is okay, but make sure to customize it, later on
  • Kanban boards differ for everyone depending on their team's size and process
  • Kanban boards tremendously improve transparency within teams and organizations

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