20+ Kanban Board Examples Essential for 2023
Project management shouldn’t be filled with questions like:
“What’s the status of the project?”
“Has the eagle landed?”
“Can I get a visual?”
After all, project managers and teams are there to manage projects, not covert missions!
You need things to be as clear and transparent as possible. This way, nobody’s going to be kept out-of-the-loop.
And one of the easiest ways to increase project transparency and improve workflow efficiency is by using the Kanban framework.
In this article, we’ll cover what a Kanban board is and highlight 20+ excellent Kanban board examples that you can use as inspiration for your own projects.
- What Is a Kanban Board?
- What Are the Benefits of a Kanban Board?
- 20+ Creative Kanban Board Examples
- 1. Project management
- 2. Product management
- 3. Human resources
- 4. Sales
- 5. Real estate
- 6. Construction
- 7. Creative and media development
- 8. Education admin
- 9. Student
- 10. Patient scheduling and management
- 11. Brainstorming
- 12. Managing company ideas
- 13. Progress and time tracking
- 14. Launching a new book
- 15. Marketing
- 16. Content production process
- 17. Support and ticketing
- 18. Personal project management
- 19. Inventory management
- 20. Weekly planning
- 21. Portfolio management
- 22. OKRs
- 23. Event management
- 24. IT and change management
- Which Online Software Should You Use?
- Time to Get on Board
What Is a Kanban Board?
A Kanban board is a visual representation of your workflow processes with simple statuses across columns. It’s the tool used for the Kanban method, which is an agile methodology that focuses more on team communication, continuous improvement, and transparency.
In a Kanban board, you create standardized task queues like “To-Do,” “In Progress,” and “Done” that reflect your workflow needs.
Check out these SOP templates!
Here’s a quick breakdown of the basic Kanban board structure:
- Mainboard: this is where you can see and manage the entire project
- Columns: lists of tasks that belong to the same workflow step
- Cards: items that represent a task. You can move tasks through different project stages by dragging and dropping them
- Work-in-progress limits: limits the number of tasks that can be placed in the different stages
- Kanban swimlanes: horizontal lanes that help you differentiate between activities, teams, and service 🏊
Agile teams love Kanban boards because you don’t need any sort of Kanban certification to use them, and project managers love this tool because it requires very little employee training!
What Are the Benefits of a Kanban Board?
- Visualization of work in progress: A basic Kanban board structure is one of the simplest and quite possibly the smartest way to visualize workflows, tasks, and projects. The combination of card colors, plus the appropriate lanes, helps you know what work is being done and the status of that work.
- Optimize Workflow: The goal of Kanban is to limit the amount of work in progress (WIP). This WIP limit will let your team members know not to start any new tasks until those in progress are finished, helping you move fully through workflows without being overwhelmed.
- Continuous Improvement: With each sprint, your team can measure how fast tasks went through the stages, the lead time needed to get a task started and how much had to be sent back for bugs after QA. This Kaizen system for identifying waste (also part of the Lean methodology) will help your team members identify savings–both in resources and time.
20+ Creative Kanban Board Examples
Get your game face on cause we’re about to play our ace by showing you some fantastic Kanban examples.
And if you’re already familiar with the rules of the game, you can start creating an online Kanban board right away; just explore ClickUp’s Kanban board!
1. Project management
Being a full-time project manager is like living in the never-ending world of SimCity.
When playing SimCity, you need to manage and prioritize resources, create accurate budget estimates, and keep your citizens (employees and other stakeholders) happy.
But if you want to win at the project management game, you’ll need to make the right move and start using a Kanban system to organize your team and departments.
To create a Kanban board for project management, you can create a simple board with columns for:
- Business requirements
- Ready to start
- In progress
- Delegated to clients
Your cards can contain tasks from every department. This way, you can build a project management dashboard and track what every team member is working on at a given time.
All this looks good on paper, right?
But to get your project started, you’ll need to put this Kanban example into action!
And if you think that paper still looks like a good option here, your project’s going to crumble like a house of cards.
Why not play your cards right and use the best Kanban tool out there?
ClickUp is one of the world’s highest-rated productivity and Kanban project management tools used by teams in several companies worldwide.
With ClickUp’s Board view, you can:
- Move cards around using the drag-and-drop feature
- Sort tasks by Status, Assignees, Priority, Tags, and Due Dates
- View tasks across your entire Workspace
- Use the Multitask Toolbar to make bulk edits
- Set a Work in Progress Limit
- Add beautiful cover images, and more
Here’s an example of what a Kanban project management board looks like in ClickUp:
2. Product management
Instead of building and using a scrum board, SaaS companies, manufacturers, and software developers can gain more flexibility with Kanban boards.
Here are some stages you can add to different product development Kanban boards:
A. Software development:
- Code review
- Testing/quality assurance
B. Lean manufacturing:
C. Saas development:
- Work in progress
- In review
Product management Kanban boards can help you keep track of crucial elements in the product development process.
For example, if a stakeholder wants to know the status of a product, the software development team can simply look at the Kanban board and update that stakeholder within seconds.
Additionally, Kanban boards encourage teams to commit to quality-checking procedures, so they don’t end up in a situation like this:
Here’s an example of a product management Kanban board in ClickUp:
⭐️ Pro tip: manage your product backlog with ClickUp, the ideal product management software for 2022. With features like Sprints, Sprint Automations, and Dashboards, you can effortlessly close the book on any user story.
3. Human resources
If you don’t want your HR department to be known as the fire department, you should invest in great Kanban software apps.
With an HR Kanban board, recruiters can hire and retain the best candidates (and their sanity) with ease. Also, because of the improved efficiency, the candidate experience will be much more favorable.
Here’s an HR Kanban board example:
As you can see, these detailed phases will help recruiters keep track of every candidates’ status, interview schedules, and other HR KPIs they have.
⭐️ Pro tip: speed up your HR processes with an HR project management software like ClickUp. From Hiring Candidates Templates to easy application tracking with the Form view, ClickUp’s the only resource you need!
With a Kanban board, your sales team can automate processes and move customers through the entire pipeline, from the first contact point to the final purchase and onboarding stage.
Here’s an example of a sales pipeline Kanban board:
Kanban boards can also help your agile sales team identify bottlenecks and avoid duplicating tasks.
Since your Kanban team has access to every customer’s journey and details on where each customer is in the sales funnel, they can avoid sending annoying duplicate emails.
Why’s this important?
Well, unless the spam folder is your target audience, duplicate emails are only going to drive your customers and sales out the door.
⭐️ Pro tip: minimize data entry and keep leads moving through your pipeline with ClickUp, an excellent sales project management software available today.
Additionally, Brett Polvado, Vice President of Sales Operations at Appeal Wizards, recommends using automations.
“We use automation to label cards as they move through our columns which allows us to stay focused on the primary task at hand,” he says.
Here is an example of their automation:
5. Real estate
A real estate Kanban board can help your sales agents manage their leads, negotiations, and keep track of their sales funnel.
Here are some stages you can add to your sales Kanban board:
- Contract sent
- Contract received
- Deal closed
Using the above stages, your team will always know where each prospective customer is in your sales process inside your real estate CRM. On top of that, your agents will also know the best time to contact a customer (not when they have one foot out the door, literally).
Here’s a real estate Kanban board example:
⭐️ Pro tip: use a real estate project management software like ClickUp to help your clients find their dream home. This way, you can say, “if you liked it, then you should’ve put an offer on it!”
A construction Kanban board can help small and large-scale organizations schedule and manage construction projects.
Related: Procore alternatives!
Here are some typical construction project phases:
- Bidding and procurement
With a Kanban board, you can break each construction phase into smaller tasks.
For example, the construction phase can be further broken down into:
- Framing structure
- Pour concrete
Such Kanban card examples can also help agile construction teams visualize project stages, identify resource shortages, and spot potential issues before they turn into structural failures.
Here’s a basic Kanban board example for construction teams:
⭐️ Constructive tip: use ClickUp, the perfect construction project management software, to build an empire of successful projects.
Need concrete results?
Simply use our professional, pre-built Construction Templates!
7. Creative and media development
Creative teams can use Kanban boards to keep track of ideas, schedules, client feedback, and more.
Here are some stages you can add to different media management Kanban boards:
A. Content creation planning:
- In progress
- Copy approval
- In progress
C. Content and social calendar Kanban boards:
- Scheduled this week
- Scheduled next week
- Later this month
Here’s an example of a content calendar Kanban board:
⭐️ Pro tip: avoid productivity issues while focusing on your magazine issues with ClickUp, a great media management tool for 2021. And say goodbye to painful last-minute feedback loops with ClickUp’s Proofing feature.
8. Education admin
It can be incredibly challenging for educational institutions to keep both employee and student information safe.
Both external and internal threats can cause data breaches in educational organizations. For example, if a student downloads a free textbook from a suspicious site, it can quickly bring malware to an institution’s computer networks.
Fortunately, your IT department can visualize security incidents with Kanban boards, meet compliance requirements, and manage backlogs and updates with ease.
Here’s an example of an education admin Kanban board:
⭐️ Pro tip: manage your IT division with ease using secure education project management software like ClickUp. With features like Two-Factor Authentication and granular Permissions, your organization can score an A+ in security compliance.
As a student, you can easily create a Kanban board using Excel or Google Sheets to help you organize projects, collaborate on group projects, and track schedules and tasks.
Here are some columns you can add to your student Kanban board:
- Assigned type
- In progress
And if a project is too big, simply break it down into smaller tasks to make it more manageable.
For example, let’s say your assignment is to read William Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet. . Instead of adding “read the entire play” under the “To-Do” column, you could add:
- Read acts 1 & 2
- Read act 3
- Read acts 4 & 5
Now, you won’t have to ask yourself: “to do or not to do the project.”
Additionally, students can break down a group project into smaller to-do’s and assign tasks to specific team members with ClickUp’s Multiple Assignees feature. This way, students can keep track of each other’s progress and ensure the group project is submitted on time.
Here’s a Kanban board template for students:
Psst…ClickUp offers students a 35% discount.
10. Patient scheduling and management
As the COVID pandemic has shown us, emergency rooms can get packed quickly. That’s why healthcare facilities are looking for ways to speed up emergency care services.
Don’t want your patients running out of patience, right?
Fortunately, you can use Kanban boards to manage patient and personnel workflow with ease.
Here’s how you can set up a patient scheduling Kanban board:
- Create columns with doctors’ names
- Under each column, list down patients who have been assigned to that specific doctor
- Include dates and times, contact details, and other details in your patient cards
- Use ClickUp’s Priorities feature to view patients who need urgent assistance
Here’s an example of a patient scheduling Kanban board:
⭐️ Pro tip: ClickUp is a HIPAA-compliant healthcare project management tool that offers a Patient Management Template to help you get started right away.
Brainstorming sessions can help teams and individuals develop fantastic ideas, but sometimes you need a way to track progress towards those ideas. You need the Kanban methodology.
By using the Kanban approach, creative teams can play Survivor with their ideas.
Create a brainstorming Kanban board with a column for all the potential ideas. Then, team members can vote on ideas they think should be moved to the next round or the “To-Do” column.
And yep, you guessed it; the other ideas are voted off the board.
Here’s an example of what your brainstorming Kanban board could look like:
Wondering how to do effective brainstorming?
Check out 6 proven brainstorming techniques that’ll help you find your best ideas.
12. Managing company ideas
Sometimes it can be beneficial to brainstorm asynchronously, rather than in a brainstorming meeting.
Maybe someone on the marketing team has an idea for product or a customer service representative has an idea for marketing.
In this case, it can be beneficial to set up a Kanban board to collect ideas and see what status those ideas are in.
Aleksandra Cygan, IT project manager at SurferSEO, shares a Kanban example of idea management across the entire company.
“In our company, we have a lot of creative people who often surprise us with great ideas, so in order not to lose these ideas, this Kanban board was created. Here, everyone in the company can find out what the product team is currently working on (‘Turned into project’ column) and what we will most likely work on next (‘Interesting ideas’ column). Working in a remote environment, transparency is very important and thanks to such a board, everyone in the company has access to information about who is involved in what project.”
13. Progress and time tracking
Kanban boards are built for progress tracking.
But ClickUp’s Kanban view makes it so much easier by letting you add Custom Task Statuses to your Kanban workflow. This way, you can track project progress the way you want to.
On top of that, you can sort your cards by Statuses to keep a close eye on your progress.
And while Kanban boards can’t track time directly, you can track time alongside your Kanban board with ClickUp’s Native Time Tracker.
You know what they say: you can’t do everything, and if you try to, you’ll do even less!
14. Launching a new book
Elizabeth Harrin, FAPM and Director & author of Engaging Stakeholders on Projects, uses board templates set up and track progress for many projects including product launches.
“At the moment I have a board set up to support writing a new book which is out next year. Instead of the traditional ‘to do,’ ‘doing,’ and ‘done’ columns, the workflow is around writing, creating graphics, production, pre-sales and then marketing so I can keep track of what my publisher needs, what our graphic designer is doing and hold myself accountable for getting the text finished,” she says.
Here’s her Kanban board example to track progress of her newest book project:
Marketing teams need to manage projects, deadlines, review client feedback, and drive campaigns forward. However, without a way to track progress, it would be impossible to know if your team is ahead of the game or running behind schedule.
Fortunately, your marketing team can track different team activities, from website design management to SEO, with a Kanban board.
Your marketing Kanban board can contain the stages like:
- In progress
- Pending approval
Additionally, you can add an “In Campaign” column to keep track of live promotions.
On top of that, you can use Kanban swimlanes to help teams distinguish between different and marketing activities like “marketing metrics” and “weekly newsletter.”
Here’s an example of a marketing Kanban board in ClickUp:
⭐️ Pro tip: plan and collaboratively edit your marketing campaigns with ClickUp’s Docs. You can even know when someone is making edits in real-time with Collaborative Detection.
16. Content production process
It can be useful to visualize the different statuses of content operations on a Kanban board.
For example, an article can be in draft or backlog stage, and different stakeholders can manage different parts of the process.
Kashyap Trivedi, growth marketer at Salesmate, provides an example of his team’s Kanban board to manage their content operations.
“We use a Kanban board to manage our content flow for our marketing team. Basically, we have broken down the entire content journey in a series of steps, and turned it into a pipeline. Once the content card is moved to the next stage, relevant people are assigned their next task using an automation.”
Here’s their content marketing Kanban board:
Bonus: Check out how you can manage content workflows in ClickUp and create a content database.
17. Support and ticketing
Unless you want to get a one-way ticket to lost customers, support and ticketing teams must work quickly to solve customer issues.
But don’t worry, Kanban boards can offer your team some support!
For example, let’s say a customer support team member sees that a customer has reported a bug about your e-commerce site.
The support team member then logs the issue on the Kanban board and assigns it to one of the developers. The developer can quickly analyze the situation, resolve the issue, and move it to the “Done” column.
Here’s a Kanban board example for support teams:
⭐️ Pro tip: streamline your ticketing system by using ClickUp’s Integrations with Zendesk, Front, SupportBee, and more.
18. Personal project management
You can also use Kanban boards for personal projects like vacay planning, home renovations, and more.
Even though COVID lockdowns won’t let us travel, let’s see how a personal Kanban board can help us plan our future holiday plans.
You can use standard phases like to-do, in progress, done, or you can add columns like:
- Tourist attractions
- Food and drinks
Although we’re probably all tired of adding vacation backgrounds to our Zoom calls, it’s a good idea to add images of beaches to your vacay board.
It could make you feel like you’re already there! 🌴
Here’s a personal Kanban board that’ll make sure you don’t forget to pack your sunscreen:
⭐️ Personal tip: keep track of any task while on vacation using ClickUp’s Mobile Apps for iOS and Android and the Offline Mode.
19. Inventory management
Kanban boards can help businesses manage their inventory flow.
For instance, the work in progress limits in Kanban boards can help teams maintain the minimum amount of stock needed. No more over-purchasing and stuffing the warehouse with tons of boxes.
Guess you could say that without Kanban boards, your inventory management team would be boxed in. 😉
To manage your inventory efficiently, you can also add details to your cards like cost, location, and delivery date.
Here’s an example of an inventory management Kanban board in ClickUp:
⭐️ Fun tip: keep track of your inventory with ClickUp’s Custom Fields by adding unique statuses like cost per unit, order quantity, and next order dates to your work process.
20. Weekly planning
We’ve all been in a situation where we set tons of impressive goals for the week but end up with not-so-impressive results.
After all, seven days makes one weak.
*Ba dum tss!* 🥁
Fortunately, you can use a weekly planning Kanban board for agile sprint planning, habit building, task management, and more.
Here’s how you can set up a weekly task board:
- At the beginning of every week, select a few cards that you can accomplish in that week
- Work on one card at a time
- Add subtasks to every work item
- Create swimlanes for weeks two, three, and so on
Here’s an example of a Kanban board that’ll help you sprint through your weekly goals:
⭐️ Pro tip: never forget to tackle a weekly task by setting those tasks to repeat automatically with ClickUp’s Recurring Tasks.
21. Portfolio management
Portfolio Kanban boards can help employees and stakeholders understand your organization’s objectives. This way, you can avoid stakeholder meetings where someone just has to say those dreadful lines:
To create a portfolio management Kanban board, simply outline your company’s objectives and break them down into actionable items using swimlanes.
Use the first swimlane for objectives, the second one for the projects that’ll help you achieve those objectives, and the third lane for the smaller tasks that’ll help you complete your projects.
Here’s an example of a simple strategic initiatives Kanban board:
⭐️ Fun tip: combine your Kanban board with ClickUp’s Portfolios to get a high-level overview of how aligned initiatives are progressing.
OKR stands for objective and key results.
An objective is a goal you want to achieve, and the key results are smaller tasks or steps that’ll take you there. For example, if your goal is to have a food fight, one of your key results could be to throw the first (fruit) punch. 😜
To set up an OKR board, you’ll need to create two swimlanes: one for your objectives and one for your key results.
If you’re setting business goals, you can add extra swimlanes to represent multiple high-level goals across departments and separate the key results that teams will work on.
Here’s an example of an OKR Kanban board:
⭐️ Fun tip: set, track, and get real-time progress updates on your OKRs with ClickUp’s Goals.
23. Event management
Kanban boards can also help you plan engaging weddings, parties, work events, and more.
To create an event project management Kanban board, you can use the standard Kanban board columns and add images of designs, cakes, and more. 🎂
And if you have to wait for approval for contracts or invoices, simply add a “Pending” column to the board.
Here’s an example of a wedding planning Kanban board:
⭐️ Fun tip: why not set yourself up with fantastic event project management software like ClickUp. Trust us, we wouldn’t be proposing this idea to you if you two weren’t a match made in heaven! 💞
24. IT and change management
Managing IT systems and change management requires efficient workflows, and using Kanban is a natural fit.
According to Clint Lindstrom, IT Manager at Prime Retail Services, “Kanban boards have allowed us to complete projects on-time and within or under budget. There is no more ambiguity for action items and it’s easy to see where something has stalled, why it has stalled, and how you can correct the issue.”
It’s important to define your columns and reflect the tasks that add value rather than just the stages.
Lindstrom provided an example of his Kanban workflow below:
In this example you can see clearly defined steps instead of using generic categories such as “In Progress”.
Which Online Software Should You Use?
ClickUp, of course! With time-saving digital Kanban boards that allow every team to manage multiple workflows and collaborate smarter, ClickUp’s Kanban board examples can stretch and scale to any team size. Put together your preferred Kanban solution starting with these Kanban features in ClickUp:
🚦 Work in Progress Limits ClickApp: soft limits won’t block tasks from being created, moved, or updated even if it would make the column over the defined WIP limit
👤 Me Mode: only see tasks assigned to you, including comments and checklists you’re responsible for
📱 Board view in mobile: the ClickUp mobile app will help you manage projects while you’re on the go
🤖 ClickUp Automations: members can automate busywork such as assigning tasks based on criteria, updating statuses, sending emails to prospects, and more
Bonus: Raci Matrix Examples!
Time to Get on Board
While you can create a Kanban board using a physical board with some sticky notes, we doubt that a physical Kanban board will stick with your agile team.
And why settle for a Kanban method that makes you feel like you’re talking to a brick wall (literally) when you can opt for flexible and responsive digital Kanban board solutions instead?
But we’re not talking about ineffective solutions like the Jira Kanban board or Trello.
We’re talking about the #1 Trello alternative and #1 Jira alternative, ClickUp!
With ClickUp, you can create and execute any Kanban board example. And if you’re not ready to turn over a new board, you can use ClickUp’s Trello Integration (until you realize ClickUp is so much better).
Get on board with ClickUp for free today to always have eyes on your project management progress!
Questions? Comments? Visit our Help Center for support.