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What is KanbanFlow?

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KanbanFlow is an online project management tool that helps you visualise and collaborate with team members.

KanbanFlow is made up of ‘boards’ for each project or work stream. The name, Kanban, refers to a method for managing knowledge work with anemphasis on just-in-time delivery while not overloading the team members.In thisapproach, the process, from definition of a task to its delivery to the customer, is displayed for participants to see and developers pull work from a queue. You can read more about it on Wikipedia.

How does KanbanFlow work?

Create a board and assign a ‘category’ to each of the seven colours (these could also represent the work streams of a project):

Decide on which columns you wish to include as part of your flow. These columns display the flow of the project from task to delivery. The default column display is comprised of four columns: To-do, Do today, In progress and Done:

Invite members of your project team to join the programme and ‘board’.

What are the advantages?

Virtual delegation. For members of your team who are based around the world KanbanFlow is ideal for assigning tasks. Once assigned, the team member receives an initial e-mail notification and then a reminder e-mail a day before the deadline. This is particularly useful for LLB because since October 2013 the authors are no longer based just in London.

E-mail reminders. If you’ve set a date for completing a task, as you approach the deadline, you will receive an e-mail reminder.

Pomodoro. We’re fans of using the Pomodoro technique to get stuff done. An in-built Pomodoro timer keeps you focused on one task at a time. If you manage to do a whole 25 minutes without checking your e-mail, distracting yourself with your phone or switching to another task, you receive points. Currently, the points system is based on honesty – the tool isn’t yet powerful enough to know exactly whether you’ve focused on just one task at a time! After 25 minutes, the timer stops and you have the option to take your points (if you’ve remained focused) and take your five-minute break. What do you get for collecting points? Not much. You compete with your colleagues and KanbanFlow users from around the world.

Prioritisation. I get in to the office a bit earlier to review my “work” board. I don’t let myself open my e-mails until I’ve moved some tasks into my “Do Today” column. Once 9am hits, I scan my inbox for urgent e-mails so that I can add to my list and shift my priorities. This exercise helps me start the day focused.

Record. The “Done” column keeps track of your completed activities. This is a useful record of what you’ve truly achieved when it comes to your performance review. Alternatively, it can be useful data for updating your CV. Without much effort, you’ve created an accurate picture of your responsibilities. Similarly, if you’ve read my post on RescueTime the two programs complement each other for a tracking your activities over time.

What about other methods?

I’ve been keeping lists for as long as I can remember, but the reason I missed tasks was because there was no system. Without a soft copy, tasks quickly got lost. I’ve used Wunderlist and To-Do in addition to an old-school e-mail to myself at the end of each day. The beauty of Kanban is that, at the start, you can do a task dump and then divide up the tasks on a daily basis.