What is Kanban?

What does Kanban mean in the productivity context?

Kanban is a workflow management system, born to improve manufacturing efficiency, developed by Taiichi Ohno, at Toyota.

With time, Kanban has more and more become also a presentation mode for productivity tools.

In the productivity context, Kanban has the meaning of a graphical representation of tasks as cards, moving from one column to another in the Kanban board, where columns represent different stages.

For example, you can put a task in the “pending” column, then dragging it in the “progress” column, when you’re ready to work on it. More complex scenarios are possible, of course, with personalized stages.

Kanban board in XPlan

The great benefit of Kanban is the visual and flexible representation of your schedule, with a dynamic flow of the tasks from one side of the Kanban board to the other side as they progress.

In particular, the software implementations of Kanban allow not only a horizontal sliding of the tasks but also a vertical sorting – maybe according priority –. Not to mention searches and filters, and any other software feature that the specific tool may add.

XPlan pushes further the potentiality of Kanban with an uncommon feature: hierarchies. A flat logic of tasks may not suffice to represent your planning. You may need projects, areas, subtasks, or any other logic item at different levels that help you gathering your tasks and having an overview of your work. Of course, item types, hierarchy, and stages are fully customizable.

Kanban overview in XPlan