26 January 2012

Kanban Task Manager For Outlook - New Development Project

Today I am happy to tell you that Business Solutions has begun developing a totally new product: a Kanban board inside Outlook, for work with Outlook Tasks. In the images below you first see a traditional Kanban board and then a mockup of the Outlook plugin.
Old Kanban board
Kanban board visualizes the work process
Kanban is a Japanese word for "visual card", and it refers to a way of visualizing work, to make it flow and reduce waste. The traditional Kanban board has cards that tell what and how much should be produced and when it should be done. When managers get such a visual picture of the work process they can quickly reveal bottlenecks and blockers. Less time is spent on trying to sort out how projects are coming along, because everything is visible on the Kanban board.

Kanban integrated in Outlook
If we move the Kanban board into Outlook we get several advantages. We can give a nice, colorful user interface where it is easy to drag and drop tasks between different phases of a project. And you will have it all in front of you in the computer! No cards or pieces of paper are lost because they fall to the floor or someone takes them away to make a note. Tasks are synchronized automatically within the workgroup, so everything is up to date and everyone can see what is happening.
Kanban Task Manager in Outlook
Easy to learn
In many organizations, and certainly in all Member organizations, the staff is already using Outlook for various kinds of work. With a Kanban board in Outlook they will not have to learn another system. The Kanban Task Manager will use as much standard Outlook features as possible, and therefore it will be easy to understand and use.

Design idea for Kaban Task Manager
Kanban Task Manager will work in an Outlook folder, and when a user opens that folder he can reach the workgroup’s different projects. The project he worked with last time will be open by default. New projects and tasks can be created with a few simple steps.

Sharing Projects, Phases and Tasks
Kanban Task Manager will have three Microsoft options for sharing: an Access database, an SQL Server database and a SharePoint site. If the Access option is selected, none of the users must have Access installed, because the ability to read and write to an Access databases is included in Office. With the SharePoint alternative the workgroup can be geographically dispersed, so this option is great if you for example are working on projects that require specialist competence that might not be accessible within the office or even in the company.

The development of Kanban Task Manager has just started, and it will take some months before we can release the finished product. We are all excited about our new Outlook-addon, and I will of course come back with more news and images later. Welcome to contact us if you have suggestions or comments on the Outlook Kanban plugin. We are always grateful for constructive input!

UPDATE: Kanban Task Manager for Outlook was published in June 2012. More info at:


  1. Hi Kate,

    This sounds like a great idea! Looking forward to it. Any idea when you'll be finished? Need a beta tester?


  2. Thanks for the offer Matt, but we have no beta! I have good news for you: Kanban Task Manager is already released. Please refer to later blog posts and