Kanban to the Rescue

Use Trello to organize anything and everything.

Trello is a simple but powerful visual tool for organizing, managing, and tracking team or individual tasks. At AcrobatAnt, our favorite setup for using Trello is known as a Kanban board. Originally developed at Toyota to improve manufacturing efficiency, Kanban boards are commonly used today in agile software development.

Kanban boards are made up of lists of cards. Each individual task is assigned to a card and then pulled from left to right between lists as work progresses from an outstanding task to completed item. The simplest Kanban boards we’ve seen include lists for To DoDoing and Done. Most of the time, we’ve found it helpful to also add lists for HoldReady and Test.

Lists within a standard AcrobatAnt Trello board (from left to right):

  1. To Do: The initial bucket of things to do. This is the backlog of all of the outstanding issues in the project. New issues are added here.
  2. Hold: Something is blocking this task from being pulled through the system. Another task needs to be completed first, a stakeholder needs to weigh in, etc.
  3. Ready: This card is ready. Nothing stands in the way of work being started!
  4. Doing: Work is underway! The task is actively being worked on.
  5. Test: The initial work for the task is finished, but it still needs to be checked for quality and completeness. In software development, this is where quality assurance happens; for copy, this is where the text should be proofed. When issues are found, the card should be moved back to a previous step in the process for additional revisions/work.
  6. Done: This is for when a task on a card is done. The task has been completed and tested to ensure that it is truly complete.

Here is an example board using household chores as the tasks that need to be completed.

Kanban is different from other project management strategies because there is no set period of time in which a project phase must be completed. Instead, Kanban uses the continuous delivery of updates to create constantly progressing products and projects. This can be difficult to reconcile with a hard deadline for the initial launch of a project. At AcrobatAnt, we use additional tools for task management and time-tracking in conjunction with our Trello boards so that Kanban becomes a process within our larger project management strategy.

In the end, using a Trello Kanban board is a great way to organize, manage and visually display the state of a complex project, like launching a new website, at any given moment.

If you would like to learn more about Kanban, Trello or agile project management, contact Ryan at 918-949-3109 or [email protected].

The following articles are also great resources to learn more about Kanban and/or Trello:

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