Miniatures

Tools of the Trade – Kanban

Kanban-650

 

We all use different tools in the hobby, most of them are most likely the same or just variations, like different materials for your paint brushes, different manufacturers for your paint and so on. We’ve been using more or less the same types of tools for a long time. There’s some tools that are quite new in the miniature gaming world (like some Weathering products) but have been used by the scale model, model train crews and display modelers for quite some time.

There’s a ton of different tools that’s starting to make the move over to the gaming scene, everything between using air brushes, pigment powders to oil paints.

There’s one type of tools that, from my observation at least, is slowly getting more common in the hobby, as it’s getting more popular within workplaces (and in private). I’m talking about different types of project management services and specifically Kanban, which is what I use myself.

 

So what exactly is Kanban?

Kanban is originally a method of manage software development but it’s quite effective for managing all kinds of projects no matter if it’s a one person project or a collaboration. The system is based on cards that symbolizes a task or a group of tasks and a board (physical or digital) which is divided up in vertical and horizontal lanes were the vertical ones usually represent the development process, for an example Idea-Research-Development-Testing-Done and the horizontal lanes (swim lanes) can be special types of projects or divided between people.

Over this year I’ve been testing a couple of kanban tools and while non of the free ones I’ve tried have been perfect, it has helped me to organize both my hobby “work” and this blog.

When I first started using kanban it felt like it didn’t have any real positive effect but after using it for a month or two I started to see more and more positive effects and now I’m sold on it. My setup is quite simple. I (this far) only have two boards, one for hobby projects and one for this blog. The blog board is very simple with just 4 lanes and the hobby one is a bit more complex but still easy to use.

 

Which Kanban service do I use and which would I recommend?

I started with Trello, which is a pretty good system but it felt like it was lacking something and after reading some reviews I moved on to kanbanflow which felt more at home. As I was leaning more about it I wanted to add some more features, like swim lanes which kanbanflow didn’t offer in their free package and they are quite vague with the details of their premium account. So back to reading reviews yet again. This time I settled on kanbanize which offers what I want in their free account and feel like a more solid product.
All three that I’ve tried are good products but before you commit to one, check what features they offer in the different plans and what it would cost you if you ever want to expand.

 

How my hobby board is set up:

Click for bigger picture
Kanban

It doesn’t have that much data in it yet since I moved provider but it should give you some idea on how it works

 

Links

Wikipedia
Kanbanflow
Kanbanize/
Trello/

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