KanBo User Quick Guide
KanBo uses a form of digital Kanban to visualize information and to enable collaboration with co-workers in context of their current tasks. KanBo is an instantly usable solution with a flat learning curve that also allows you to work as a team on mobile devices.
No task is too difficult if you disassemble it into smaller steps and track them with KanBo.
This quick reference guide will help you with your first steps in the world of KanBo.
2. KanBo StructureKanBo consist of a collection of Boards that can be accessed from the KanBo Home. Boards typically represent projects, work groups or departments. For example there could be one board for Controlling, two boards for current projects and one board for company news.
A Board consist of Lists where you create cards that will be moved from list to list when tasks are processed. Lists are used to create and monitor (task) workflows but can also be used as containers to store ideas and information within a context. In the most simple case a board consists of just three lists, „To Do“, „Doing“ and „Done“. By placing and moving cards from list to list cards are indicated as work to do, work in progress or work done. That way all members of the board can see the progress of the project with a quick glance – KanBo is updating in real time. Regardless of the device you are using KanBo on, every kind of interaction is instantly visible.
Cards typically represent tasks, questions or pieces of information. A card, in turn, can hold Notes, Checklists, Card Statuses, Labels and Comments plus Documents can be attached. Further functionalities like assigning responsible person and due dates, start dates, custom dates are subject to cards only.
3. Creating a board
1. Now it is time to create your first KanBo board and to pin the first tasks. The screen below shows you all Boards you can access – this is basically Your entry point to KanBo. The colorful Sqares represent Boards. They are grouped in so called “Board Groups” that help to organize Boards into logical groups.
2. On the Landing Page click „Add Board” in a Board Group of your choice.
You can later move Boards between Board Groups by dragging and dropping them.
Pick a color, choose a board's type (private or public) and enter a title for your new board. Depending on the project the title could be for example “Sales pipe” or “CeBit 2015 Conference”. Don’t worry too much about the name, you can change the title later, so it could better fit the purpose.
After the board is created you will be the only person that has access to this board.
3. Now it is time to breathe some life into your board. Click on the square tile of the freshly created board in order to enter it. It already contains three standard lists. You can rename lists and add descriptions to them (just click their name on the headers), you can create new ones and you can move them per drag&drop by holding the headers.
4. Now add your first card to a list. Click “+“ in any list, give your card an appropriate name and click “Add“ or press „Enter“ on your keyboard. Cards can be moved per drag&drop between lists too.
5. In order to grant other persons' access to your board, click “Users“ in the panel to the left and then add users to one of the three permission levels. Here is what they stand for:
- Owners can use all functionalities of the board.
- Members can use all features related to cards but they don‘t have any administrative powers like adding new users to the board or creating new lists.
- Visitors can see and open all elements but they cannot create or edit anything. They are able to write comments, though.
Congratulations! Your journey in the digital working environment has begun.
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4. Working with cards
Of course tasks and ideas consist of more than just a clever title of a card. That’s why cards can be customized so that they bear a lot of useful information and tools that make collaboration and communication easier for everybody involved. The card lets you focus on the concrete topic/task the card represents. Click on a card to see its content.
1. Actions – A card can be moved to another list or board or it can be copied to it. Cards that you consider finished can be archived. Don’t worry; an archived card can be brought back to the board later. Additionally you can add attachments from local drives or SharePoint libraries.
2. Main area – In this area you can view and add information that are most important to its context.
- Add due date and start date to visualize the importance of a deadline or next mile stone.
- Add custom date and personal reminder to set custom dates important to you.
- Add users – here the big one is the one who is responsible and additional users are co-working. You can change the role of responsible by promoting to a co-worker that is on that card. Involved users will get notified about assignments and role changes instantly.
- Add labels to describe your cards in tags.
- Add card statuses to mark progress of your tasks.
- You can add the card to your MyBoard, a private board where you can plan and track your personal work load across all Boards you have access to.
3. Comments and Activity Stream – It consist of two types of elements: Comments – this is when you write a message and Activities that are done on the card like card has been moved to another list or a user was removed from the card. When you are writing messages (i.e. comments or questions) you can drag other people into the conversation by mentioning them. You mention other people using @ and type their name (i.e. @joh… for John Mayers). Once you send a message that contains mentions the people that were mentioned are notified.
The Activity Stream shows the logbook of this card and creates a time line of changes and comments. Clicking “Show more” will list a detailed history of every action related to this card since its creation.
4. Content area – The area to the right allows you to add structured or unstructured content.
- Notes can contain a description of the card or some other information like links or lose thought fragments. (i.e. task description or an idea). It is also possible to mention people using @ like when you write messages.
- To Do lists are mostly used to list sub tasks or just to structure some mini todo lists of things to be completed. Tasks can be ticked off (checked). You can create many of them and move their Tasks between Task lists or change the order of the Task lists and Notes. You can give Task lists names to give them more context. Sometimes To Do lists are used to list links, people, options, milestones, etc.
- Documents section contains all files attached to a Card.
- Subcards are cards related to your card. In a scenario where a single Card is complex and covers a set of activities which need to be completed i.e. by other departments that have its own Boards, you can use a Subcard functionality. Subcards are cards which are related as a child to the Parent Card and keep all Subcards divided into Subcard groups, which can have business related names for better grouping of Subcards.
5. Board settings
The default settings are sufficient for most of the common purposes but some Boards require further adjustments. At this point KanBo offers the following options:
You can change the Board color. This helps to identify the project on the Landing Page in case you have a large number of boards.
You can specify Language of your board: English, German, Spanish or Polish.
You can specify what the Home Button in the left upper corner will be linked with when click on it.
This option activates the Board chat. This is an additional discussion channel for people that have access to the Board. It can be used to make announcements related with the topic of the board.
You can activate the Time Line that will be displayed above the lists. It shows you all upcoming due dates as a line of time.
You can determine whether users are allowed to delete cards. If not, cards can be closed only and data never gets lost.
KanBo notifies you when:
- Somebody mentions you via @ in a card or chat.
- A card you are assigned to or you are following is moved or its content is updated (comments, documents, notes, checklists).
- You are added to or removed from a card or a board.
There is an orange indicator for your notifications in the top right corner next to your avatar. It tells you how many unread notifications you have, in this example six. Clicking the symbol will open your notification stream.
Each notification will tell you what happened in which card of which board as well as who initiated the change and when the change happened.
All elements that are indicated in the blue color are clickable – for example if you click on the name of card, that card will open.
The orange rectangle markers indicate the notifications that are unread. Opening a card will mark them as read automatically.
Changes to cards that affect you (because you are assigned to the card or you are following it) are also indicated in the cards when you are in the Board View with
icon and number of changes.
In the example above, card "Paper jam on HP ML20166" has updates that you have not seen since the last time you have viewed it.
If you think you get too many notifications or the topics that you get notified about are not of interest anymore, just unfollow those cards by clicking the eye symbol Unfollow in the menu on the left side of a Card: