Kanban is an intuitive system workflow management methodology that makes managing work agile and straightforward. Setting up a new Kanban board with a kanban board template takes a few clicks.

These boards provide project managers (PM) — heavy users of Kanban — with a customizable framework to work from, saving a ton of time and providing a source of inspiration for structuring workflows. In addition, templates built on more comprehensive Kanban platforms allow cross-board communications and automation, creating even further efficiencies.

Read on to see how monday.com’s Kanban board template can significantly increase efficiency and improve workflows.

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What are Kanban board templates?

Kanban templates are customizable pre-designed Kanban boards that allow leaders and team members to set up a workflow instantly.

A Kanban template includes stages relevant to specific needs (i.e., the typical steps involved in completing digital marketing tasks). In addition, it may include preprogrammed automations such as reminders and work-in-progress limits.

example of a kanban board in monday.com

The Kanban method, popular in project management circles, is relatively straightforward.

A Kanban board has a series of columns, also called lists, representing the stages that work items must pass through to completion. Typical columns are:

  • Requested
  • Work in Progress
  • Completed

Tasks to be completed are added as task cards, systematically moved from one list to another — generally left to right — to illustrate that task’s movement through the project management pipeline.

Why use Kanban board templates?

The main reason project managers use Kanban board templates is speed. 

Creating a Kanban board can be a time-consuming process if starting from scratch. The process includes brainstorming, deciding on the stages work must pass through, setting up the various task cards, building automation rules, etc.

While templates don’t eliminate all of this work (you still need to add cards for each task to be completed and assign colleagues), they allow quick setup.

Moreover, Kanban board management templates use best practices from more experienced companies.

Example: Your team is setting up its first Kanban board to manage the regular activity needed to maintain the company website. An existing Kanban board template provides inspiration for which stages should be included — a wireframe evaluation stage that includes your client.

Some additional reasons to use Kanban board templates include:

  • Uniformity: Using the same template across multiple boards ensures consistency.
  • Familiarity: Consistency across multiple departments makes it easier to understand how work is structured, leading to more efficiency.
  • Professional: If the board is shared with contractors or clients, having a template designed in a polished and well-equipped Kanban tool provides an appearance of professionalism.

What are some examples of Kanban board templates?

Let’s explore some examples of Kanban board templates in action.

Kanban board template for digital marketing

This Kanban board template is an excellent example of how the methodology can be applied to digital marketing tasks. Note that the left-most column — Near Future — can be used to store work items that aren’t necessarily in play now and aren’t waiting for someone to pick them up.

That’s what the to-do list is for.

example of a kanban board template for digital marketing

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This template is also helpful for completing work that needs to be approved by a third party — when used by a marketing agency that needs work to be approved by a client.

Kanban board template for website management

This Kanban board template shows how simple the Kanban method can be to keep workflow management uncomplicated, as it includes just three lists:

  1. To do
  2. In progress
  3. Done

example of a kanban board template for website management

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Note how tags can be applied to demonstrate whether the task is high or low priority, and there is a progress meter showing how close the task is to completion.

Kanban board template for Scrum

Scrum is a popular project management methodology for Agile teams and one which fits nicely within the Kanban board approach to task management.

example of a kanban board template for scrum

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This Kanban board template is set up for software and tech professionals to manage new feature developments using the Scrum framework. New user “Stories” are added to the first list, moved to To Do when the work is ready to begin, and moved left to right through the Kanban board until the new feature is released.

monday.com’s Kanban board template

Most Kanban board templates available for free on the web today have one common problem: They’re standalone boards, so they lack real-time, digital collaboration functionality.

example of a Kanban board template on monday.com

The monday.com Work OS has its own Kanban board template with features like comments and automated notifications to help distributed teams collaborate in real-time across offices and borders.

Here are a few things that make this template so powerful and effective:

1. Intuitive automation

With various pre-designed and customizable automation recipes available, managing work with the Kanban method has never been so easy — or so automatic.

screenshot of an automation recipe in monday.com

Automatically move cards between Kanban columns based on their active status. Also, connect boards between projects, not having to create a single board with all work items.

2. Deep and immediate reporting

The monday.com Work OS includes a comprehensive reporting suite with the ability to build custom dashboards. It’s perfect for a daily check-in on the team’s progress and performance without getting into the nitty-gritty details.

screenshot of a reporting dashboard in monday.com

3. Kanban on the go

Where traditional Kanban board templates keep employees tethered to their computer — or worse, pen and paper — our Kanban system is accessible wherever and whenever through our beautifully designed and easy-to-use mobile apps for iOS and Android.

4. Notifications that keep you up to date

Want to notify team members when a task they’re responsible for is due? Or perhaps get a notification to follow up and investigate. monday.com makes it easy to receive the notifications you want, when you want, and how you want.

screenshot of the notification settings pane in monday.com

5. Multiple views

While Kanban is a user-friendly, visual way to get work done, it’s not for everyone.

Some prefer to work in a more traditional table view. Others like to see upcoming tasks in a Gantt chart. One of the enormous benefits of using our Kanban board template is that individual employees can visualize work the way they work best, and everyone can still collaborate on the same workflow!

choosing a new view in monday.com

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Kanban board templates – tips & tricks

Never set up a Kanban board before? Follow these tips and tricks to get the most out of our free template.

Start with what is already in place.

Start by building a board that represents the system currently in place. Don’t change the current processes for a couple of weeks, allowing time to get used to a new workflow management method.

Aim for incremental change.

As the team uses the Kanban methodology to adjust and improve business processes, look for opportunities to make small changes rather than radical ones. This will result in less internal resistance and will reduce the likelihood of significant drops in production as your team adjusts.

Respect the existing organizational structure.

Implementing the Kanban system shouldn’t require changes to job titles and responsibilities. Instead, it should reflect the current team structure.

Encourage individuals to lead.

Effective Kanban systems allow for constant improvement across the entire organization at all levels of authority. Emphasize the notion that ideas, suggestions, and changes can come from anywhere on the team.

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FAQs about Kanban board templates

How is the typical Kanban board structured?

The basic structure of a Kanban board includes three lists:

  1. To Do
  2. In Progress
  3. Done

Each list represents a different stage work tasks must pass through to be completed, under which you’ll add cards that represent each task to be done. More complex workflows built on Kanban boards can include additional stages such as:

  • Near Future
  • Stuck
  • Testing
  • Awaiting Review

Can a Kanban board be created in Excel?

Technically speaking, yes. However, this is not the kind of work Excel is designed for, so it tends to be less user-friendly. For example, there is no ability to click and drag tasks between lists. Instead, there is old-fashioned cut and paste, which often messes with the formatting.

What 4 columns should a Kanban board have?

What are the 6 rules of Kanban?

The Kanban method was designed initially by Taiichi Ohno, an industrial engineer at Toyota, and the six rules for using Kanban at Toyota are:

  1. Never pass on defective products
  2. Take only what is needed
  3. Produce the exact quantity required
  4. Level the production
  5. Fine-tune production
  6. Stabilize and rationalize the process