What is a Board?

Do you know what a kanban board is? Do you know why it's called "kanban"? May we shed some light on these questions together? Well, let's go.


At first, a "kanban" board is a tool in agile project management designed to visualize the progress. They depict work in various stages of a process using cards to represent work items and columns to represent the stage of the process. The cards or work items are moved from left to right, in order to visualize the current status of the item. This helps the development team to better coordinate the work at hand.

It may be divided into horizontal "swim lanes" representing different tasks or kinds or workload in the project.

Simple boards most of the time will have stats like "to-do", "in-progress", "quality testing", "done". More complex boards may as well feature different sub-stages of f.e. "In-progress".

Kanban boards are not only limited to software development, they can basically be used for any kind of work-progress tracking in every field the above mentioned criterias can be fulfilled.

What does it mean, "Kanban"?

It comes from the Japanese and can be used interchangeable for words like "sign", "billboard", "visual signal". So a Kanban Boards job is to make our work visible and prominent to us and other people related to our project.