Using Kanban Boards to Stay Organized and to Stay Motivated

I often work with Trello or Notion as Kanban boards. I maintain tasks for everything that I do. This helps me keep organized when I'm working on a large number of tasks, or especially if I have ideas for tasks that I am not actively working on. It creates a clear, constant document of the state of the tasks I'm working on. And more than anything, it shows to me what I've accomplished and lives on as a constant motivator for me.

Why Kanban Boards Matter for You and Your Team

One best practice that anyone working on a large project should adopt is to have at least one Kanban board task they're working on at any given time. Kanban boards are a visual way to track progress on tasks, enabling you to see the status of each task and its associated details. By consistently updating your tasks on a Kanban board, you'll reap several benefits:

  1. Greater personal efficiency: As you wrap up your day or put a project on hold, having detailed information on your Kanban board task helps you quickly regain context when you return to the task. Knowing exactly where you left off saves time and allows you to maintain momentum.

  2. Better communication: Providing comprehensive information about your tasks, including PR links and screenshots, makes it easier to communicate with teammates who may be assisting you on the project or simply need updates on your progress.

  3. Increased motivation: Seeing a list of closed issues and details showing up in a place you can look to at any time is a powerful motivator, pushing you to move forward and complete even more tasks.

  4. Avoid the void: When a project's completion goes unnoticed, it can be demoralizing for the person who poured time and effort into it. Keeping your Kanban board updated prevents projects from "falling into the void" and ensures your hard work gets recognized.

Implementing Technical Features with Kanban Boards

Now that we've established the importance of using a Kanban board, let's dive into some technical features you can use to maximize its benefits.

  • Break down tasks into subtasks: Splitting a larger task into smaller, manageable chunks helps you stay organized and focused. Trello allows you to create checklists within each card, making it easy to track your progress on subtasks.

  • Use labels and tags: Organizing your tasks with labels and tags adds an extra layer of visual clarity. Categorize tasks by priority, project, or any other relevant criteria to make it simple to identify what needs your attention.

Example: Adding Emoji Support to Chat

To illustrate how a task might move through the Kanban board and gain additional documentation, let's consider an example: adding emoji support to a chat application.

  1. Create the task: Create a new card on the Kanban board, titled "Add emoji support to chat," and place it in the "To Do" column. Assign yourself to the card and add relevant labels, such as "Feature" and "Priority: High."

  2. Break down the task: Within the card, create a checklist to break down the task into smaller subtasks. For example:

    • Research available emoji libraries
    • Implement emoji parsing in chat input
    • Display emojis in chat messages
    • Test the feature across different devices and browsers
  3. Update progress: As you work on the task, move the card through the appropriate columns on the Kanban board (e.g., "In Progress," "In Review," and "Done"). Update the checklist to mark off completed subtasks, and add comments to the card detailing your progress, challenges, and solutions.

  4. Document technical decisions: If you encounter any trade-offs or make critical decisions during implementation, note them in the card's description or comments. For instance, explain why you chose a specific emoji library or how you optimized the feature for performance.

  5. Include PR links and screenshots: When the task is complete, add a link to the pull request (PR) containing the changes, as well as any relevant screenshots demonstrating the new functionality. This will make it easier for team members to review your work and provide feedback.

  6. Communicate with your team: Keep your team informed about your progress by mentioning them in comments or sharing updates in team meetings. This promotes transparency and makes it easier for others to offer assistance or collaboration as needed.

  7. Celebrate completion: Once the task is successfully completed and merged, move the card to the "Done" column. Celebrate your accomplishment and use the momentum to tackle your next task.

By implementing these features and adhering to best practices, you'll not only improve your own productivity but also make it easier for your team to collaborate effectively. A well-maintained Kanban board ensures that everyone is on the same page, making it simpler to communicate about progress and celebrate completed projects. So, go ahead and embrace the power of Kanban boards -- it will remind you of your constant progress and help motivate you and your team.


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