People perpetually look for ways to streamline their processes, maximize their productivity and manage their workflows. Kanban is one popular process that does all of those things.
Developed by a Toyota engineer, it originated in the manufacturing sector. However, many tech firms now use Kanban to meet development goals.
How Does Kanban Work?
Task prioritizing is one of Kanban’s main concepts. Think about the constant influx of user requests after a software release. In that scenario, people who use Kanban visualize the workflow on Kanban boards. They also take a team approach to assigning priorities for each user request or other responsibility. Since Kanban is flexible, there are no set deadlines for task completion. Plus, reprioritization often occurs.
There are many benefits associated with Kanban. They include increased productivity for entire teams and reduced incidences of wasted resources. Individuals also report increased focus. Sounds great, right?
Below, we’ll look at several Chrome extensions to help you understand Kanban. They’ll facilitate making Kanban part of your everyday life.
Tired of sorting through a perpetually chaotic Gmail inbox? Kanban reveals the most viable priorities.
Drag is an app that lets you apply organizational principles to Gmail. Its developers believe there’s a close relationship between emails and to-do lists. In fact, many of your assigned tasks might originate in emails. Turn those duties into a Kanban board in Gmail.
The app also offers Drag Team Boards, otherwise known as team inboxes. While using them, you can collaborate with others. Put tasks into groups, make comments and reply to emails. A free version of this Chrome extension offers drag and drop functionality and one board. This version allows a board with up to three columns.
There are also paid versions of Drag. They let you add tasks to Gmail, create checklists, and build unlimited boards without column restrictions.
Download: Drag for Chrome (Free, Premium starting at $4/user/month)
Besides working with Chrome, this Kanban-based app enhances G-Suite, the version of Gmail and Google Drive for businesses. Depended on by teams at major brands like eBay and Netflix, this app maximizes teamwork. Make boards with Kanban lists and cards to manage tasks visually. A built-in time-tracking feature lets you gauge time spent on getting things done.
Like the apps above, Trello lets you create Kanban boards with lists and cards for a visual workflow. Add comments and files to each card to provide more details or discuss a topic. To cut down on lengthy project meetings, designate boards for project updates. They let people on a team see what’s going on in an organization as it happens.
After adding the Trello extension to the Chrome browser, there’s no need to go into Trello to write new cards. Just stay in the browser. Need to access a board? Do it in the address bar as if you’re performing a Google search.
Download: Trello for Chrome (Free, Premium starting at $9.99/user/month)
4. Kanban Tool
This extension has a nondescript name, but it’s the preferred tool for brands like Expedia and Xerox. Colorful cards on a virtual Kanban board let you plan your processes. Choose between drag-and-drop functionality with your mouse or use a touch-sensitive tablet. Put limitations on work in progress to prevent bottlenecks too.
Integrated analytics let you monitor and improve efficiency. Track multiple projects on one board as needed. Based on data from past work, the tool predicts completion dates for current tasks in progress. This analytical feature is useful if you have many similar or repetitive routines.
In addition to Chrome compatibility, Kanban Tool works with Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, and Box.
Download: Kanban Tool for Chrome (Free trial, Premium starting at $5/user/month)
You might know this app and its supplementary Chrome extension as tools for salespeople. However, it has benefits to enjoy regardless of your line of work. It’s another possibility that brings Kanban to Gmail.
Drag and drop emails into themed lists categorized by priority level. Then, you can tackle them quickly and get closer to Inbox Zero. Can’t respond to an email right away? No worries. Drag it to a to-do list and remind yourself to write back later.
Sortd features an intelligent layer, also known as a Smart Skin. Turn it on and off as needed, depending on your workday and what it entails. You can even edit the subject lines of emails, giving them task-oriented titles. The app also offers a follow-up list. Add items to it so you won’t forget to reach out to people. You might follow-up with them to strengthen relationships, request advice, or both.
Download: Sortd for Chrome (Free, Premium for $2 and $5)
Like many people, you may find it difficult to visualize progress on multiple projects at once. Breeze makes that necessity easier by letting you swiftly create boards that break down specifics.
For example, you can make Kanban cards for each step of a process and assign tasks to numerous people. Plus, see the length of time between assignment distribution and completion.
Are you a freelancer or someone who has a business with a few employees? Let Breeze take the uncertainty out of doing what’s required to work through a growing to-do list. Internal metrics let you spot tasks that took too much time, then make positive changes.
While working with the Chrome extension, try out helpful tools like the calendar and time-tracking functionality. Then, you can meet deadlines and ensure smart and effective use of your workdays.
Download: Breeze for Chrome (Free, Breeze app from $29 to $249)
The Kerika task boards let you find out several things about a project with one glance. See the date of the latest modification, plus the number and names of users with access.
In addition to providing a place for tasks, Kerika has virtual whiteboards that simplify brainstorming sessions. It also gives built-in chat boxes for all ideas and responsibilities. Then, weighing in on something specific is a painless process.
What about file attachments for projects? Kerika has those covered too. Compatible with Google Drive and Box, Kerika automatically uploads project attachments to those services for you. All team members who receive them get read and write privileges.
While using the Chrome extension, you see chats as emails. Reply from your inbox and see how the input appears on a Kerika board. You can also set smart notifications. They keep you abreast of progress without sending irrelevant content.
When dealing with Kanban boards containing hundreds of cards, use the tagging and search features to find what you need in seconds. You can even export Kanban boards from Chrome to Excel.
Download: Kerika for Chrome (Free, Premium starting at $7/user/month)
How Will You Use Kanban This Week?
These feature-rich Chrome extensions (and apps) are ideal for wrapping your head and workflow around Kanban concepts.
Give them a try if you’ve planned to incorporate Kanban into your routine for a while. They’re also great if you only learned about Kanban recently. In either case, they satisfy your curiosity and let you see how Kanban could maximize productivity.
Will you try it this week? Which tool will you use? Tell us in the comments below.