How to use project boards - tips and examples

Project boards are a flexible way to manage multiple projects and tasks. They’re not just for software development. In fact they can be applied to any industry and personal workflows.

For example, marketing teams can use boards to brainstorm campaign ideas, track social media content and manage deadlines. Accounting teams can use them to organize invoices, collaborate on client projects and streamline financial processes.

Even everyday tasks can benefit from project boards. Whether you’re making a grocery list, planning a holiday or tackling a home renovation project, visualising your workflow with lists and cards will make you more organized and efficient.

It’s all about breaking down your work into smaller tasks and using the board to track progress. By visualising your workflow project boards can help you streamline your work, collaborate with others and achieve your goals.

Here are some examples that show you how you can set up your projects.

A simple project board

For those seeking a straightforward method to manage tasks and enhance accountability, consider implementing a basic board. Functioning similarly to a digital sticky note wall, project boards provide a clear visual representation of your workload.

Here’s how you can use it with an online tool or a piece of paper. This simple board system is a visual and organized way to manage your tasks. It has three columns for different stages of completion:

  • To-Do: This column functions as a holding area for all upcoming tasks. Think of it as your master list of things that need to be done.
  • Doing: Once you've begun working on a task, move it to this column. This section acts as a visual indicator of your current workload and helps you track progress on active tasks.
  • Done: As tasks are completed, move them to this final column. The "Done" section provides a sense of accomplishment and serves as a visual record of your completed tasks.
Simple project board with tasks, comments, to-dos, files - a Kanban board.

You can always extend it with lists like "On Hold" or "Ideas". This simple board helps you to be transparent with your goals and accountable.

A time driven project board

A time driven board prioritizes tasks by day. It's a variation on the basic board system is designed to manage tasks with specific deadlines. It uses four columns to represent different points in time:

  • To-do: Similar to the basic board, this is your master list for all upcoming tasks.
  • Today: Move tasks planned for completion on the current day to this column. This section helps you prioritize your immediate workload and focus on what needs to be accomplished today.
  • Tomorrow: Tasks planned for the next day reside in this column. This allows you to schedule work in advance and ensure a smooth transition to the following day's tasks.
  • Done: Completed tasks are moved to this final column for record-keeping and to provide a visual overview of your daily achievements.

This time-driven approach offers a clear structure for managing tasks with daily deadlines, promoting focus and improved time management.

Time driven project board with tasks, comments, to-dos, files - a Kanban board.

You can also extend the timeline by using weeks instead of days. Use it to divide your work into weekly doses. Keep an ongoing list of future projects on the left side. Have a list for this week’s tasks, a list for dones, and a list for the week ahead.

Weekly retrospective board

Project boards can be used to conduct effective team retrospectives, especially for geographically dispersed teams. This collaborative approach allows team members to reflect on past tasks and events.

Here's a breakdown of a simple board setup to get you started:

  • Went Well: Wins - capture successful approaches, positive experiences, and areas where the team excelled. This helps identify strengths and inform future strategies.
  • Needs to Change: Room for improvement - identify challenges faced, areas needing improvement, and roadblocks encountered. This allows for proactive problem-solving and smoother workflows.
  • Questions & Discussions: Create a space for team members to ask questions and propose topics for further discussion. This encourages open communication and ensures everyone's voice is heard.
  • Action Items: Outline specific steps to address issues raised during the retrospective. This ensures the team translates discussions into real-world improvements.
Weekly retrospective project board with tasks, comments, to-dos, files - a Kanban board.

Before the Meeting: Share the board with your team and encourage them to anonymously contribute to the "Went Well" and "Needs to Change" lists beforehand.

During the Meeting: Use the board to guide the discussion. Review each list, discuss key points, and ensure everyone feels comfortable participating.

Moving Forward: Prioritize action items and assign ownership to ensure identified improvements are implemented.

This approach keeps retrospectives collaborative and transparent, leading to better communication and a more effective team.

Hiring funnel board

Breeze project boards can be a valuable tool for managing the hiring process, which often involves multiple stages. Here's how you can adapt a project board to streamline your hiring workflow:

  • Visualize the Pipeline: Create a board with columns representing distinct stages in your hiring process, such as "New Applications", "Interview Scheduled", "Homework Assignment", "Final Interview", "Offer Stage", and "Hired". This visual representation provides a clear overview of candidate progress and helps identify bottlenecks.
  • Organize and Track: Move candidate profiles through the board columns as they progress through the hiring stages. This allows you to easily track the status of each candidate and ensure timely communication.
  • Customizable Workflow: Adapt the board structure to your specific hiring process. You can add or remove columns as needed to reflect your company's unique requirements.
Hiring funnel project board with tasks, comments, to-dos, files - a Kanban board.

By using a project board for hiring, you can streamline communication, improve candidate experience, and make better hiring decisions.

Software and product development board

Project development, whether building a new product or custom software, involves numerous tasks your team needs to track and complete. It's a continuous cycle of planning, execution, and feedback.

Project boards can help keep everyone informed and accountable with clear lists reflecting different stages:

  • Ideas: Capture initial thoughts, suggestions, and feature requests in this list.
  • To-do: Prioritize promising ideas and move them to this list for actionable planning.
  • Doing: Track tasks currently being worked on. This provides a visual snapshot of your team's workload and helps identify potential bottlenecks.
  • QA (Quality Assurance): Once tasks are completed, move them here for testing and final approval.
  • Done: Celebrate completed and approved work by moving it to this list. This tracks progress and serves as a record of finished tasks.
Software and product development project board with tasks, comments, to-dos, files - a Kanban board.

This visual structure fosters transparency and collaboration. Everyone can see the project's stage, who's responsible for what, and ensure tasks are completed on time.

Product roadmap board

Product roadmaps provide a high-level overview of your product's evolution, complementing your daily project board's focus on current tasks. They help you plan short-term goals and long-term business goals for your product.

Here's how a product roadmap can be structured:

  • Break Down the Product: Divide your product into its core components, such as features, functionalities, or user interfaces. This helps visualize the bigger picture and identify areas for development.
  • Component Lists: Create separate lists for each component on your roadmap. Examples might include "Web App", "Backend Services", "Mobile App", or "API." This categorization allows you to prioritize initiatives and visualize the development roadmap for each product component.
Product roadmap project board with tasks, comments, to-dos, files - a Kanban board.

By using a roadmap alongside your project board, you can ensure your daily tasks align with your overall product vision and strategic goals. This promotes a cohesive development process and keeps everyone focused on delivering the right features at the right time.

Company overview board

A company overview board is a helpful tool to track your high-level business objectives and goals in one central location. This fosters transparency and ensures your team prioritizes tasks that align with those goals.

Here's how to set up a board to visualize departmental alignment:

Swimlanes by Department: Divide the board into horizontal sections called "swimlanes." Dedicate each swimlane to a specific team or department, such as Management, Marketing, Development, Support, and Operations. This provides a clear visual representation of each department's contribution to overall goals.

Actionable Lists Within Swimlanes: Create further organization within each swimlane using lists. Some common list titles include:

  • Priorities: Outline the most critical tasks for each department, ensuring everyone focuses on what matters most.
  • Current Projects: List ongoing projects within each department, promoting visibility into current efforts.
  • Completed Projects: Track completed projects for each department, fostering a sense of accomplishment and showcasing progress.
  • Issues: Identify and track any roadblocks or challenges faced by each department.
Company overview project board with tasks, comments, to-dos, files - a Kanban board.

A company overview board with swimlanes and lists can be a powerful tool for promoting departmental alignment, transparency, and collaborative teamwork. By visualizing each department's priorities, projects, and challenges on a single board, you can identify areas for collaboration, address potential roadblocks proactively, and ensure everyone is working towards achieving the company's goals.

Looking at other project boards can be a great source of inspiration for yours. Looking at different board layouts can give you ideas for your team’s workflow and board setup.

The key is to balance the project management process with the work itself. Go for clear and simple boards that don’t overcomplicate things. Simpler boards are more usable and adopted by the team.