Visual task boards are a great alternative for those looking to replace their to-do lists or endless Excel sheets. Easy to use, fun to look at, and a gateway for open communication.
Learn how to set yours up below!
A task board is a tool used in project management to visualize the tasks of a team, project, or company. It is usually composed of 3 main sections:
And the tasks themselves are visualized with the help of cards, which are then moved from one column to the next.
Depending on the tooling and the process of the team, the task boards can be as simple as the one above, or more complex and filled with additional features like Kanban swimlanes, secondary workflows, scope limits, dependency management, and more.
Compared to other task management systems, task boards present a more visual and collaborative way to prioritize and complete work. Everything is visualized in one place, making it easy to always see what is the most important towards the shared goal.
As mentioned above, most task boards differ from one another. The composition, features, and uses depend greatly on the team that is using them. However, they can still be categorized into 2 main types – physical and online task boards.
Physical task boards are just that – a physical visualization of your work. For this, teams usually use a large sheet of paper or a physical board. And to visualize tasks, most choose sticky notes as they can be moved around quite easily.
A physical task board is quite easy to implement, you simply use what you have in the office to create a visualization of the process for the team. As such, they work great for small co-located teams that all have access to the location of the task board.
In most cases, physical task boards are used as an entryway into visual project management. They allow to experience the benefits of visualization before committing to an online task board solution.
If you are looking to get a little extra from your task board, the online or electronic option is the way to go. These task boards offer all the same functionality of the physical boards and then some.
Firstly, you can easily and quickly change the board composition. Add more columns or rows, introduce a secondary process, or create another task board that is directly linked to the first one. Changing the look and functionality of your task board is much easier with an electronic solution.
Second, you can add much more information directly to your task board. Besides the traditional information fields like task name, due date, and assignee, online task boards can hold any amount of data related to your tasks. Add detailed descriptions, tags, child items, attach files, and then collaborate by leaving comments directly on the task. With such functionality, the task board becomes a place for information and collaboration.
Lastly, online task boards give you the ability to analyze the process with live reports. Most online task board tools are equipped with various reporting capabilities. Thus, such task boards become a tool for both – managing tasks and improving your processes. Review such information as tracked time, team workload, project timeline, and quick dashboards that summarize the most important points.
it goes without saying, that online tasks boards are preferred by teams working remotely as they offer easy access to the most important information.
By now, you are probably wondering how do visual task boards look in real life. So, let’s look at them. Below, you will find several examples portraying different task board applications.
Fisrt up, is the most simple adaptation of a visual task board. This example contains just three columns to visualize planned, in progress and completed tasks. Such boards are most often used by individuals or very small teams that run uncomplicated processes.
As teams grow, such task boards are usually expanded with additional columns to visualize different process steps and rows to categorize items easily.
For larger teams with more complex processes, just adding more columns and rows is not always sufficient. In such cases, task boards can be enhanced with an additional process. This means, that any column on the task board can have a secondary process (set of columns) to track the child item progress. In the example below, you can see that the ‘In progress’ column has a secondary process to track the child item completion.
Such task boards are especially useful for teams that use a lot of child items and want to have more accurate progress visualization.
Lastly, while online task boards are often used to replace task lists, they do offer the option to view all tasks in a list view. This allows to quickly compare all the tasks, despite their progress on the task board. Moreover, you can pick and choose which item details to show and filter out unnecessary information to perform quick analysis.
Such task list board is often used for planning or prioritization.
Find more examples targeted at specific industries and teams – Kanban board examples.
Visual task boards are powerful tools that allows to visualize and analyze data in order to improve your processes. Use them to ease communication within the team, report progress to the stakeholders and share information more easily.