If you’re a fan of the TV comedy Silicon Valley then you may recognize Kanban boards used by the show’s fictional Pied Piper team as they tried to complete a revolutionary project. But organizing Kanban cards in real life may look a little different for you than they did in the HBO hit. Here’s everything you need to know about what Kanban cards are, what goes on them, and how you can maximize the impact of your Kanban card board with Wrike’s project management tool. 

What are Kanban cards?

What is a Kanban card? On a Kanban board, Kanban cards represent individual tasks teams need to complete for one project. The information contained on the card includes the name of the task and important details like what type of task it is (for example, a website project will have user-experience tasks and design tasks) and who owns it. Kanban cards are placed under status categories. The most basic status categories are “To Do”, “In Progress”, and “Complete”, but statuses may vary project to project. 

Among the top 16 research-proven benefits of using Kanban cards, the most important reasons why you should consider using them in project management include greater work visibility, faster time-to-market, and improved workflow. 

Kanban card top tips

Follow these Kanban project tips to streamline your marketing project management system. 

  • Everything you put on a Kanban card should be a true fact, so do make assumptions or estimates when creating them. 
  • While change is inevitable in any project, the Kanban card structure is best for small changes like adding or deleting tasks rather than changing big picture ideas like your overall goals. 
  • Kanban cards originated from a Japanese production method used by Toyota in the late ’40s that honors a mindset of an efficient workflow.
  • Have a limit on how many total Kanban cards can be worked on at any given time. 
  • Edit constantly so you’re only working on the most important tasks. Use daily meetings, a dedicated Slack channel, or the right within your project management software to communicate with your team, since they have a more intimate knowledge of the day to day. 

What makes Kanban cards so effective?

Here’s why you should use Kanban: Kanban cards are results-oriented, open to small yet consistent changes whenever needed, and encourage a culture of equality within the workplace. They’re also visual, which makes them both appealing and easier to organize. You can see teamwide progress at a glance just by looking at your Kanban board. 

Top Tips for Organizing Kanban Cards 2

How to optimize your Kanban card board with Wrike

Wrike offers a few efficient ways to optimize your Kanban card board. Start with a Kanban Project Template. Add all of your tasks, color-code them by priority, and add photos to card previews as needed. Tag team members as owners and approvers then link directly to files and resources they’ll need to get the job done right within the Kanban card. Manage the work of multiple department Kanban card boards at once using Board View. And be sure to loop decision-makers into important Kanban card discussions with @mentions. 

How many Kanban cards do you need?

There isn’t one clear answer to how many Kanban cards you need for two reasons. First, Kanban cards are completely unique to each project type and will vary team to team. Second, the point of Kanban cards is to eliminate unnecessary or low ROI tasks so that project teams can be as efficient as possible. So the real answer is that you need the least amount of Kanban cards possible to successfully complete your project objectives

Different types of Kanban boards

There are two primary types of Kanban boards: Kanban Bin System and Kanban Card Holders and Racks. 

The Kanban Bin System is made up of one or two bins into which tasks (often represented by physical goods like store inventory) are usually placed. Workers complete all the available tasks in the first bin then move on to the second bin. As the second bin is being worked through, the first bin is replenished. Teams go back and forth between these two bins until that recurring assignment is no longer needed. A Kanban card example in this system is an automatic dishwasher that blinks green when the cycle is finished and it’s time to put away what’s inside. 

Kanban Card Holders are traditionally boards with columns, which are labeled as project stages. Kanban cards make their way through each column until they’re completely finished. Once all the Kanban cards make it to the final column, the project is complete. A classic Kanban card example of this system is a bulletin board with sticky notes.

Although you can theoretically use either Kanban board type for a project, Kanban Bin Systems are best for simple, recurring tasks while Kanban Card Holders support a wide variety of tasks and workflows.. 

Use Wrike to plan, organize, and execute Kanban cards

Kanban cards are a highly practical method for project management. The system’s appealing visuals and unique philosophies support productivity in all project areas. If you’d like to get started using Kanban cards and boards, check out Wrike’s two-week free trial. Experiment with our useful Kanban cards template, customizable tasks, and revision streamlining process to organize your Kanban cards for successful projects.