What is Kanban? How to use Kanban to manage work effectively​

What is Kanban? This is one of the effective project management methods often used by Japanese companies. Kanban uses the form of visual tables to help users find directions to improve work productivity. If this is your first time hearing about Kanban, let's learn about this method with Viindoo through the following article.

What is Kanban?

Kanban is a fairly common method in the workflow or project management process. In Japanese, Kanban means a visual card, this method helps users visualize the overall work through visualization tools, thereby improving the process and optimizing work performance continuously.

This method was first developed and adopted by Toyota as a planning system for lean manufacturing process. This method was created based on a form of "pull" production, meaning that they produced based on the anticipation of customer demand to avoid having too much inventory.

The core meaning of this method is to reduce the waste of resources without affecting productivity. Kanban's main goal is to create more value for customers while minimizing unnecessary costs.

The Kanban method not only uses visual cards to manage production at the right time, but is also designed to reduce production bottlenecks, improve efficiency, and increase output.

What is Kanban

What is Kanban?

Using the Kanban method, users visualize what needs to be done in a process using tools like whiteboards and colored paper. A basic Kanban board consists of just three workflows: To-Do, In Progress, and Done. However, columns can be added or changed to suit the project.

Each task is presented as a “card” and is placed in columns representing the current stage of each task. As the progress of the tasks, the card is moved throughout the workflow. Each card will contain information about the task, such as:

  • Short description of the job
  • Name of person responsible
  • Estimated completion time
  • Conditions for moving the task to the next stage

For management software, the task tag may also contain other data, including links to relevant supporting documents and files.

>>>> Learn More: 13 ways to effectively manage work, beat every deadline

4 fundamental principles of Kanban

Kanban Procedure is applied based on four fundamental principles including:

  • Start with what you are doing: This approach needs to be applied directly to existing workflows but at a slow and gradual pace that changes over time. Avoid causing sudden changes that make the employees involved in the process feel overwhelming.
  • Commit to change: Tasks should be changed gradually and made people voluntarily adjust to the method This will help avoid unnecessary conflicts between individuals in the organization.
  • Each individual still holds their own position: This method does not change the current position and function of each individual who is doing their job well. Instead, everyone will work together to identify and make the necessary changes. This will help employees in the business not feel afraid and be ready to receive changes.
  • Encourage leadership activities at all levels: Kanban emphasizes that leadership activities do not only originate from senior managers. Every person in the organization can come up with ideas and demonstrate leadership to implement changes that improve job performance.
What is the kanban method

Methods need to be applied slowly and gradually change over time.

Benefits of the Kanban Method

Amid the digital transformation wave in Vietnam, the Kanban method has become so popular that it is considered the "backbone" management method and is widely applied in Enterprise Management Software Solutions.

When speaking of Kanban, managers often mention these three benefits:

  • Closely monitor actual progress: Both managers and their employees can track the task progress and optimize work performance​. 

  • Proactively finish tasks: Each individual's tasks are updated transparently. Therefore, participants can grasp the progress and manage to complete their tasks on time without the leaders’ provision and reminders. In other words, each member of the project has to implement self-management.  

  • “Drag” and organize tasks according to completion potential: Instead of being imposed deadlines and "pushed" into tasks, each employee can volunteer to take charge of certain tasks and set an estimated completion time based on their capacity. This helps avoid staff inefficiency

How to Create a Personal Kanban

Not only useful in the production and business tasks of enterprises but Kanban boards can also be used in managing daily activities. You can use the Kanban method to manage your work schedule and avoid the rush of work that can't be solved.

You can do the Kanban method by following these steps:

  • Step 1 - Select the tool: Use your wall or a magnet-stickable board with colored sticky notes.
  • Step 2 - Define the columns: A basic Kanban board will include 3 main columns: To-do list, In progress, and Complete.
  • Step 3 - Categorize the work: Divide the current tasks into columns, you can use the color of the paper to distinguish the importance and priority of each task.
  • Step 4 - Apply: When you start working on any task, move the paper of that job from column 1 to column 2. Once you have completed the work in column 2, continue to move the tasks to column 3.

If you don't want to do it manually, you can use some software or website to help apply the Kanban method more intuitively and vividly.

kanban pattern

Kanban boards can be created manually or with the help of modern technology.

Applying the Kanban method in work and project management

Not only does it support personal work, but the Kanban model is also a powerful project and work management tool in many businesses today. You can refer to how to apply Kanban at work and project schedule management with Viindoo software:

Forming general workflow

At the beginning of a project, teams must break down the whole project into a set of tasks (in the form of Kanban cards). Next, to apply Kanban, you need columns representing different process stages.

Those columns help you visualize the practical workflow and task progress.  

effective work management kanban 1

Kanban view in the feature Project Management - Viindoo Project

The most straightforward Kanban board has three basic columns—“To-do”, “In Progress” and “Done”. Depending on each project, the number of columns in a Kanban board can be more than 3. 

You need to drag the task from To-do to the In-Progress column when it starts, and drag it to the Done column when it is finished. With the overview of the Kanban board, not only task progress but bottlenecks can also be immediately spotted.

The Kanban View is applied throughout many applications of Viindoo Solution. Employees can see the entire team’s work and assist if needed to reach the ultimate goal.


Kanban interface is applied throughout many features of Viindoo software

Limiting work in progress (WIP)

The Kanban procedure helps you visualize and calculate the tasks that can be done at the same time to avoid overburdening. You are always able to observe and limit the amount of work in progress. 

Based on this principle, Viindoo Project allows users to accurately calculate the start date and end date of a task.

effective work management kanban 2

Viindoo Project allows users to accurately calculate the start and end time of a task

By setting a limit on WIP for each stage, employees can “pull” a Kanban card to the next flow only when they attain the capacity to do so. 

Moreover, project managers can easily calculate the overall progress and detect pending tasks.

Together with the Gantt charts view, project progress, estimated time, and the actual time to complete the task are displayed clearly and transparently in Viindoo Project​.

effective work management kanban 3

The actual time to complete the task is displayed clearly and transparently in Viindoo Project.

Focusing and actively coordinating tasks

The basis of Kanban is visualizing workflows in detail, then simplifying and turning them into work cycles. For projects or a department's workflow, tasks can be done more accurately and quickly because they always follow a fixed procedure.

In Project Management, each employee involved has a deep awareness of the tasks they have to perform and understands the common goal of the project. 

They focus on the workflow, pay attention to deadlines, and proactively coordinate tasks so as not to affect their colleagues and the overall progress.

effective work management kanban 4

Viindoo Project provides filters to bring comprehensive and multi-dimensional views

In addition, when observing the work cycles, managers can quickly spot repetitive tasks. Based on that, they can optimize the process and shorten the deployment time. Breaking down, phasing, and continuously improving workflows is also the fastest way to lighten the workload for the whole enterprise apparatus in changing management methods.


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When using the Kanban method, you need to be careful with each step in the process and have a firm grasp of the core rules for successful application. Here are some rules that you need to keep in mind:

  • Workflow visualization: Use colored sticky notes or tools that help visualize tasks to be done. From there you will observe the workflow that you are performing. Recognizing the flow of work will help you improve your performance more effectively.
  • Limit the amount of work: Limiting the work means that you have to make sure the amount of tasks at any one time is not too much or too little. Make sure that the number of cards on the Kanban board can be handled with the resources you have at your disposal.
  • Manage the workflow: One of the main goals when implementing a Kanban system is to create a clear workflow. Instead of focusing on managing people, you should focus on managing work processes and understanding how to get them done faster through the system.
  • Have a clear policy: Clarify the issues, tasks, and rules of an operational process. These need to be recorded and shared between individuals. The goal is to prevent emotions and subjective opinions from making the work process ineffective.
  • Together developed: In the Kanban method, cooperation and experimentation go hand in hand as long as there is clarity and consensus on how to approach and handle the work.
kanban process

You must ensure that the amount of tasks at any given time matches the available resources.

The content of the article above answered the question of what is Kanban as well as providing the necessary information for the application of this method. Viindoo hopes that you will build an effective Kanban system and go further in your work.

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What is Kanban? How to use Kanban to manage work effectively​
Công ty Cổ phần Công nghệ Viindoo, Trịnh Thị Hồng Ngọc 17 June, 2022

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