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Last updated on 4/27/20

Get some practice by creating a Kanban board using Trello

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It's your turn!

To get some practice, do the following exercise step by step. In this activity, you are going to create a Kanban board using Trello! In fact, you are going to create a “Personal Kanban Board”.

It is an excellent way to put Kanban into practice on a personal level before using it within your team! Although a Kanban board can have different columns to reflect the status of any given team, here are the columns (statuses) that I use for my personal kanban:

  • Backlog

  • This week

  • Tomorrow

  • Today

  • WIP

  • Pen

  • Done

These are the statuses that you are going to use in this activity for creating a personal Kanban board of your own!

Here is what those columns mean:

  • Backlog - items that I have to do at some point in the future

  • This week - items that I intend to do this week

  • Tomorrow - items that I intend to do tomorrow

  • Today - items that I intend to do today

  • WIP - Work in Progress - as soon as I start working on an item, I move it into WIP

  • Pen - If I action an item, but it is not complete until someone else gets back to me (say they reply to an email, they confirm something is done, or I need their response in some way, then the item goes into the “pen” until they reply, at which point maybe the item is “done” or maybe I have some other action to do)

  • Done - this item is now complete and I don’t have to worry about it any more.

Given that these are the ‘statuses’ of our personal Kanban, let’s create a Kanban board to reflect this - using Trello.


1. Create an account on Trello. Accounts are free to create 😊

2. Now confirm your account by clicking the link that Trello sent to your email address.

3. You will see that Trello has created a default board for you. You can use this board if you wish but you should rename it as “Personal Kanban”. Alternatively you can create a new board with this name.

4. The first step is to create 7 lists in Trello.

  • Backlog

  • This week

  • Tomorrow

  • Today

  • Work In Progress (WIP)

  • Pen

  • Done

7 lists: Backlog, This week, Tomorrow, Today, Work In Progress (WIP), Pen, Done.
Your Trello board should now look like this!

5. The next step is to add the items from this Spreadsheet to your personal Kanban board. You can do this by creating a card for each item and then adding it to the appropriate list (and make sure to add the correct label to your card)

6. Install the chrome plugin for “Kanban WIP for Trello” 

7. After all the items are added to the board - to the correct lists - and with the right labels, take a screenshot.

8. You have not yet set any limits for how many items can be in each list. But you know that Kanban limits work in progress. Rename the WIP column to “WIP[2]”. By doing so, you are telling the Kanban WIP plugin that this list in Trello has a limit of two items. Because there are three items in this list (if you filled in the board correctly from the Spreadsheet) this list now shows as red. Take another screenshot.

Check your work

Your work is correct if the following criteria are met:

  • all 7 columns have been created;

  • all the tasks present from the Google spreadsheet;

  • they are in the appropriate list;

  • they have the appropriate labels/colors;

  • the tickets in the WIP column are in red. 

Going Forward

After you have completed this exercise, why not consider creating a new board with the same columns that actually represents your own real-life to-do list?

Example of certificate of achievement
Example of certificate of achievement