A Kanban board is a way to visualize work as it moves through stages. Typically, each board has a variety of columns like "To do," "Doing," and "Done." Within each column, project tasks—called cards—capture individual to-dos. As work gets done, it moves through stages until it lands in the final column. Kanban boards are often used by engineering and development teams who use Agile project management, but any teams who want a visual collaboration tool can benefit from Kanban boards.
A Kanban board template is a way to kickstart the Kanban creation process by pre-defining the columns and card information your Kanban board project should include. You may have seen a Kanban board created on a whiteboard or a piece of paper with sticky notes. While those are still helpful visual tools, they lack the flexibility of a virtual Kanban board. When you create your board with project management software, it's easy to templatize and re-use helpful board layouts. Plus, virtual templates are more easily accessible for team members to use to manage their own work and projects.
Creating a Kanban board template is mostly about building out your columns and deciding what information should be captured on each card. Below, we take a look at what you should include in each of these.
Your Kanban board should include the sections your team needs to complete a project. These sections, which represent the stages of work, show up as columns on a Kanban board. For example, you might have columns like:
Backlog, new, or upcoming: This is your to-do list and should be the first section on your Kanban board. Here, you house all of the work that needs to get done but hasn’t been started.
Working on, current, or in progress: This shows your work in progress so the team knows what’s being worked on in real time.
Completed work: For all work that’s completed. Keeping tasks in your Kanban board once they’re completed is a great way to create a central source of truth for all project work. It also gives stakeholders an easy way to see what’s been done. When the project is finished, you know exactly where to find all the tasks connected to your initiative.
Optional columns: You can keep your Kanban board really simple and use only the three sections mentioned above, or you can add more complexity. Some examples include a “references” section (that houses your project roadmaps and related metrics), an “on hold” section for items you began but needed to push to a later or undefined due date, or a “canceled” section for work you no longer need.
You also need to decide what information to capture at the card level. Because Kanban board templates are visual tools, your Kanban card templates should display enough information that your team can understand what’s happening at-a-glance.
This might include:
Short description. We recommend always starting your card titles with a verb. That way, your team understands exactly what they need to do.
Due date. Whether there’s a range of dates or a specific launch date, make sure your team knows exactly when the work is due.
Task status. Is this work on track? Are you blocked by anything?
Priority. Use this to signal any work that must be completed urgently.
Imagine you’re creating a sprint planning Kanban board template for your Agile team. In this case, your first column should include your task backlog. This is the “to-do” list your team will pull from. The next column might be an in-progress section that includes all the tasks you’ve already started. Keep making columns for each step of your work process until you complete the workflow.
Depending on your team’s needs, you might want to include sample Kanban cards in your template to reference if you need specific work in specific boards. However, most Kanban boards are fairly self-explanatory, and use clear sections such as “completed” to reduce confusion.
Kanban board templates are simple workflow management tools. The main benefit of using a template for your Kanban board is that it allows you to quickly set up your project task list, especially when you create your template in project management software. From there, you and your team can see project work in real time, watching as other team members move tasks from “to-do” to “in progress.”
You can also set up automations in your project that automatically move tasks from one column to another when the status changes. For example, when a team member selects that they’re currently working on a card, you can trigger the card to immediately move to your “in progress” section.
Kanban board templates are traditionally used by development and product teams, but they work for any team that needs a simple yet versatile project management tool. For example:
Software development teams working through product backlogs.
Startups who need a clear and easy way to coordinate work with limited team members or resources.
Content marketing teams who need to assign articles to a variety of writers. The article can move through different stages, in this example the columns could be: to-do, assigned, drafting, editing, and published.
Board View. Board View is a Kanban board-style view that displays your project’s information in columns. Columns are typically organized by work status (like To Do, Doing, and Done) but you can adjust column titles depending on your project needs. Within each column, tasks are displayed as cards, with a variety of associated information including task title, due date, and custom fields. Track work as it moves through stages and get at-a-glance insight into where your project stands.
Automation. Automate manual work so your team spends less time on the busy work and more time on the tasks you hired them for. Rules in Asana function on a basis of triggers and actions—essentially “when X happens, do Y.” Use Rules to automatically assign work, adjust due dates, set custom fields, notify stakeholders, and more. From ad hoc automations to entire workflows, Rules gives your team time back for skilled and strategic work.
Project Overview. Project Overview is your one-stop-shop for all important project context. Give your team a bird’s-eye view of the what, why, and how of your project work. Add a project description to set the tone for how you’ll work together in Asana. Then, share any important resources and context—like meeting details, communication channels, and project briefs—in one place.
Messaging. Need to share information that isn’t actionable? Try Messages in Asana. Messages enable you to communicate within Asana about non-actionable work. You can send messages to any combination of individuals, teams, and projects, so everyone is on the same page. Link to tasks, projects, and Goals in Asana to make it easy for your message recipients to gain context and drill down into the details.
Google Workplace. Attach files directly to tasks in Asana with the Google Workplace file chooser, which is built into the Asana task pane. Easily attach any My Drive file with just a few clicks.
Dropbox. Attach files directly to tasks in Asana with the Dropbox file chooser, which is built into the Asana task pane.
Jira. Create interactive, connected workflows between technical and business teams to increase visibility around the product development process in real time—all without leaving Asana. Streamline project collaboration and hand offs. Quickly create Jira issues from within Asana so that work passes seamlessly between business and technical teams at the right time.
Figma. Teams use Figma to create user flows, wireframes, UI mocks, prototypes, and more. Now, you can embed these designs in Asana, so your team can reference the latest design work in context with related project documents. And, unlike screenshots, live embeds update in real time to reflect changes made in a design file, eliminating the overhead that comes with finding the right files and updating images.
Structure your Kanban board template to mirror the steps in your workflow. Usually, this starts with a work backlog, then a column for what you’re working on, and finally a column for completed work. You can add columns as needed for your specific project, team, or industry.
Kanban board templates are easy to view and work in, while also being suitable for complex projects. Using a Kanban board template reduces the work that goes into creating a new Kanban board for every new project.
Kanban board templates are mostly used by teams who follow the Agile methodology to complete projects. These teams use the structure—columns and cards—to manage a project from start to finish in a visual way.
Scrum board templates are a type of Kanban board template. Scrum boards are more structured and rigorous than Kanban, because the Scrum framework has more roles and rules to follow. A Scrum board template is always set up as a progression, whereas a Kanban board template can be used in any number of ways (for example, team members can each have a column).
Coordinate across teams with our Kanban Board template and get more done, fast.