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A Kanban Board is relative of the Kanban cards (Kanban is Japanese for “signpost”) that were originally developed to aid production at Toyota. Instead of “cards” the Kanban Board uses sticky notes or other visuals to represent tasks. These visual tasks move through different lanes to indicate where they are in a workflow. The simplest form of a Kanban Board may use “To Do,” “Doing” and “Done” as the lanes. Since this is often used to visually track workflow for software development teams, the lanes can also have names such as, “Backlog,” “To do,” “In Progress” and “Done.” This a very effective team collaboration tool.

Elisabeth Swan

Elisabeth is a Managing Partner at, the co-author of The Problem-Solver’s Toolkit and co-host of the Just-in-Time Cafe. For over 25 years, she's helped leading organizations like Amazon, Charles Schwab and Starwood Hotels & Resorts build problem-solving muscles with Lean Six Sigma to achieve their goals.