Kanban Cards: Definition, Benefits and Tips

What are Kanban Cards? – Agile Coach (2019)

Benefits of kanban cards

Some of the benefits of using kanban cards include:

Increasing collaboration

The use of kanban cards encourages team members to communicate with one another. You can go over the cards with the other team members and go over each person’s daily responsibilities. You can also talk about which procedures are effective right now and which ones could use improvement.

Providing time for the team to focus

A WIP (work in progress) limit is used in Kanban to limit the number of cards a team can have moving through the board at once. For instance, only eight cards can be in the “in-progress” column if a team decides that their WIP limit is eight items. A team member must complete the task so that it appears in the “completed” column before they can add another card to the board. They can concentrate on the work they’re doing by having a WIP limit rather than trying to complete too many tasks at once.

Improving efficiency

Teams can assess progress on the board when an organization employs the kanban method to identify potential improvement areas. The cards give team members a visual tool to identify which columns are effective and which can be changed to work more efficiently. The entire workflow can move more quickly and the number of work items they complete may increase once a team has improved a particular column.

What are kanban cards?

Kanban cards are the visual representations used to display a card’s current status as it progresses through the board’s workflow. They can be virtual representations on a digital board or physical cards like sticky notes.

There are many reasons to use kanban cards. They enable the team to view information about the task they are working on quickly as it moves from one column to the next. For instance, the card is moved to the development category if a team member has finished the design phase of the process. The group can consult the card to determine who will assume ownership next and what should be done next. Finally, by monitoring the time it takes to complete a task from preproduction to completion, kanban cards can aid in increasing overall productivity.

Physical vs. digital kanban cards

There are some similarities between physical and digital kanban cards. They share similar fundamental traits, such as having a front and back side with crucial details about each card’s task. Additionally, throughout the card’s workflow, all team members have access to information such as a member’s role, general work details, and the item’s due date. They also make it simple to move from one column to the next.

Physical and digital kanban cards differ in a few other ways as well. Some of them include:


When the entire team is present, physical kanban cards are helpful. Everyone has access to the board whenever they require information regarding the status of particular cards. When team members are dispersed, digital cards are useful because they can be accessed from anywhere there is an internet connection. All team members can access them by storing them on a cloud service, computer program, or app.


Physical and digital cards can both be useful, but different tools are needed for each to function properly. To create a basic kanban board, all you need is a board, a marker, and some sticky notes. As they move through the workflow, team members can easily update the board by moving and adding sticky notes.

Digital cards are also simple to use if you have a computer program that generates Kanban boards. You can enter the data into the program, update each task’s status, and make small adjustments that immediately notify the team of the changes.


Because team members must stand up to move cards from one column to the next, physical cards encourage greater team communication. This provides them with an opportunity to get up from their desks, interact with others, and work together to advance the tasks. Physical interaction is not as necessary when using digital kanban cards. To check for status updates on the cards, team members use their computers or mobile devices. If they need to ask someone a question, they can also use email.

Contents of a kanban card

A kanban card contains a number of components that update team members on all aspects of the task they are working on. Some of the basic content includes:

Tips for using kanban cards

Here are some pointers for using kanban cards that you might want to keep in mind:


What are two types of kanban cards?

A kanban card is a crucial part of the kanban framework for work management, which helps you visualize your projects, reduce work in progress (WIP), and increase productivity (or flow).

What are the components of a kanban card?

The two most important types of kanbans are:
  • Production (P) Kanban: Upon receipt, a P-kanban permits the workstation to produce a specific number of products.
  • T-kanban for transportation: A T-kanban permits the delivery of the entire container to the downstream workstation.

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