Kanbanier is a great entry-level kanban app for managing projects and tasks on macOS

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I’m a big fan of kanban boards. If you’ve never used or been introduced to kanban boards before, they’re an easy way to visualize all tasks related to a project and allow you to drag and drop tasks along a timeline so you can see exactly how close this task is to being completed.

Here’s a great example of how you can use kanban boards. With my fiction writing, I break it all down in the following ways:

  • Idea
  • First try
  • Beta
  • Amendments
  • Proof
  • Published

Each lane gets its own column. When I have a new book idea, I add a map to the ideas track. When I start writing this book, I drag the map of this book from Idea to First Draft. When the first draft is done and I’ve sent it to beta readers, I drag the map to the next lane. This action continues until the card is in the Published lane and I know it is complete.

This system is very practical when I have many books in preparation, because it gives me an overview of the progress of each book.

You can use a similar system for any type of project and having the right software is key to making it easy. On macOS there is the free Kanbanier app which is a very basic kanban board that anyone can use. Kanbanier can be used on both macOS and iOS and blends seamlessly into the look of both environments. This app is fully localized, so you don’t have to worry about sharing your data with any server or service. You can also share your boards via email, AirDrop, or Notes. And, if the free version doesn’t give you enough features, you can upgrade ($14.00 one-time fee) and add things like:

  • Several horizontal corridors (lines).
  • Lines of authority.
  • Track and background colors.
  • List card view.
  • Archiving of maps.
  • Analytic.
  • Printing support.
  • Zoom.
  • Text format.
  • More beacon types.
  • Export to multiple formats.
  • Dark theme.

If this is your first time using a kanban board, I suggest you use the free version and then, if you need to, upgrade using the in-app purchase.

Install Kanbanier

Installing Kanbanier is quite simple. Open the App Store and search for kanbanier. When the application list appears (Figure 1), click GET.

Figure 1

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The Kanbanier list in the Apple App Store.

Next, click INSTALL and then (when prompted) authenticate with your user password or fingerprint. Once the installation is complete, you will find the Kanbanier app in Launchpad. Open the app and you can start adding new routes and maps.

Adding corridors

By default, you will only find a few routes added. As you can see (in Figure 2), I have already added my routes and some maps to Kanbanier.

Figure 2

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My current Kanbanier kanban board for books.

To add a new lane, click Add Lane. You will be prompted to give the channel a name (picture 3).

picture 3

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Added a new lane to my Kanbanier kanban board.

You will also notice the wip option in the lane creation popup. This stands for Work In Progress and allows you to set a limit on the number of cards that can be added to a track. If you want unlimited cards in your lanes, leave this option blank.

Add cards

Once you’ve added all of your lanes, you can start adding maps. It’s just as simple. Click Add Card and then, in the resulting pop-up window (Figure 4), give the map a name and, if necessary, a description.

Figure 4

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Added a new one-lane map in Kanbanier.

You can also add color to the map to coordinate the tasks. For example, you can use color coding for priority. Additionally, you can add labels to each card. To add a tag, click on the Tags tab in the map creation popup and, in the resulting window (Figure 5), enter the tags you want to associate with the map.

Figure 5

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Add tags to a map to make it easier to find.

When a task is complete, click on it and drag it to the next lane. Keep doing this until the task is complete.

And that’s all there is to creating a handy kanban board with this brilliant little macOS app. Once you master the use of kanban, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.

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