Understanding Statuses in KanBo for Effective Business Process Management and Progress Monitoring

A large number of organizations often have to confront the arduous challenge of streamlining their business processes so they can monitor and track progress effectively.

In the absence of any well-defined and organized business process, progress tends to slow down because of lack of communication, subpar collaboration, and delayed identification of weaknesses, bottlenecks, and dependencies. This doesn’t only have an impact on the productivity of the business but also directly affects the bottom line.

This is the very reason why every team and department in a modern organization needs to develop and implement an adequate business process that aligns with their business goals and objectives. When you are aware of all the phases that your work has to go through, it becomes much more convenient for both the managers and team members to communicate and collaborate efficiently ensuring there are no delays. Having a business process in place also means that you can improve and tweak it over time to enhance organizational productivity and efficiency.

KanBo facilitates business process management and progress tracking through the use of statuses that highlight the phase a certain task is currently going through. When used with lists and cards, statuses allow organizations to clearly define their operational process and manage it in an effective manner.

Understanding Card Statuses in KanBo

Before we discuss how you can use statuses in KanBo, let’s first talk about their meaning and underlying principles. Keep in mind that statuses are specifically designed to help organizations define a wide variety of business processes across multiple departments and teams. This way they are in a much better position to monitor the progress of each project or task and fix any issues that might arise.

Card Statuses Are Just Names

The first thing that you should remember is that a card status is a self-explanatory name that means exactly what it sounds like. Some examples of these statuses could be Backlog, Doing, Done, In Approval, For Archive, and more. Instead of forcing you to select from pre-defined options, KanBo allows you to determine your own status names which align with your organization’s business processes and work culture.

You can choose from a diverse range of words that are either used in your business or industry. Your imagination is the only limitation. Just ensure that the names you have selected clearly convey the meaning to your team members so it’s easier for them to keep track of the progress. This also gives different teams the freedom to perform business process management their own way. For instance, it is quite obvious that the marketing and engineering team will have different types of statuses simply because of the nature of their respective work.

KanBo Allows You to Give Meaning to Your Statuses

If you want KanBo software to understand the meaning of your statuses for business process management, there is a feature that enables you to do exactly that. In KanBo, you can basically assign a meaning to every status so the software understands what it means for a card to be in a certain status. This way you can leverage other features of the software such as automatic updates, detailed data analytics, and enhanced progress tracking.

There Are Four Fundamental Status Roles in KanBo

To associate context and assign meaning to every status name, KanBo relies on four different status roles with each role having a predetermined meaning. These roles include the following:

  • Not Started – This status role can be assigned to any card that contains work that is yet to be started. A good example of that would be a Backlog list which includes all the tasks that haven’t been started.

Regardless of the status name, once you assign a status role, KanBo will know that this list consists of those tasks or projects that need to be completed in the coming days or are already overdue. Managers can also use this status to identify if they need more resources to handle the amount of work they usually have.

  • In Progress – Another self-explanatory status role that highlights all the cards or lists that feature work that’s underway. A few examples of this status would be Doing, In Approval, Quality Gate, Testing, etc.

After you assign this role, KanBo will understand that it reflects all the work that has been started but hasn’t been completed yet. For instance, once a task is in progress, KanBo will no longer take the start date into consideration as work has already been started.

  • Completed – This status role is used to highlight every card or list that contains work or tasks that have been fully completed. It could be anything from Sent to the Customer to Finished – basically whatever name you have chosen.
  • None – One more status role is “None” which is basically for all those cards that aren’t work-status related. All the cards representing this status are created for informational purposes so the team members can get back to them whenever they need to verify or learn something.

This could include cards that contain email addresses, contact numbers, basic project info, rules and processes, and more. KanBo doesn’t consider the cards marked as “None” as a part of your work.

How to Use and Manage KanBo Card Statuses

When you assign status roles to the lists or cards, you will notice that each status has its own icon. The list that contains tasks that haven’t been started yet is denoted by a stop icon while the one that includes tasks that underway use a play icon. On the other hand, the completed status is symbolized by a circular checkmark icon. Regardless of what the names are of your statuses, these icons will let you know about the progress across different business processes.

Now, let’s say you want to add another status role to your board that contains all the information about the project and the tasks it involves. Here’s how you will go about it:

  • Go to the menu and click on Settings.
  • Now to go to Card Statuses and click on the “+ Add” button.
  • You will see a new window where you can choose a name for the status.
  • For this example, let’s say it’s “Info”.
  • After that, you can choose the status role which would be “None” for this particular list since it’s not a part of the work process.
  • You also have the option to choose the color so you can quickly identify the statuses.
  • Once you have filled in the information, click on “Add”.

After you have added a new informational list or any other type of list, you can define their order by dragging and dropping the lists. Now you can create new cards and add the required information for reference.

Keep in mind that assigning a status role to your list or card will specify how KanBo perceives the information in that particular list. For instance, if you are adding a “For Approval” list to your business process, it will fall under the “In Progress” status role as the work has been started but hasn’t been finished yet.

Once again, you can choose any type of terminology to assign names to different business processes that align with your organizational culture and work ethic.

Other Useful Card Status Features in KanBo

Apart from the primary objective of business process management and progress monitoring, there are many other useful features related to card statuses and roles that can come in quite handy, especially when you are managing a large volume of work.

Automated Start & Due Dates Alert

If a particular task is in your “Backlog” or “Not Started” list and the start date is approaching, KanBo will automatically turn it into the red to notify you that this particular task needs to be taken care of. As soon as you move the card into the “In Progress” list, the start date will automatically turn grey since someone has already started working on it.

The same feature is also implemented on due dates. They turn red as the due date comes closer but once you move the task to the “Completed” list, it will be greyed out highlighting the task is no longer active.

Automatically Updated Information

Once you drop a card in the “Completed” list, you would also see a checkmark that will denote the completion of the task. Moreover, if you open the card, you will be able to view who completed the task, when they completed it, and other related information. All of this is automatically generated because assigning status roles enhances information transparency and timely communication.

Enhanced Data Analytics

If you have enabled data analytics, status roles will provide you with much more detailed information related to the tasks that are in the backlog, in progress, and those that have been completed. Visual reporting would make it easier for you to make informed decisions. For instance, if you regularly see a substantial percentage of tasks in “Not Started”, maybe it is time to hire more resources or optimize your business process management.

Essential Benefits of Using Card Statuses in KanBo

As we have already discussed, many organizations struggle to define and streamline their business processes, especially as they scale their business. As the nature of tasks and projects continues to grow more and more complex while the workload mounts, it becomes a major challenge to manage operations without having an adequate work structure and tailored business process in place. This is the problem that KanBo helps you solve.

1. Define a Tailored Business Process for Each Team

There is no one size fits all business process that can be implemented on every team. It has been shown that teams and departments function efficiently when they design and develop highly tailored operational processes for their work.

With KanBo lists, cards, and status roles, organizational teams can break down their work into logical phases and steps to create processes that are much easier and intuitive to follow.

2. Tracking Work Progress in Real-Time

With status roles for lists and cards in KanBo, you basically enable real-time notifications. Whenever you want to find out the status of a certain project, all you have to do is open the relevant board and take a glance.

If a task is moved to another list, for instance, from Not Started to In Progress, you automatically receive a notification in the card’s stream. This allows you to keep track of the progress at all times without having to engage in laborious email exchanges and meetings.

3. Reduced Reliance on Resource Hungry Collaboration Tools

It is not surprising that many organizations rely on meetings, video calls, and other types of communication channels for effective and timely collaboration. There are many companies where daily meetings end up eating hours and hours of productivity just so everyone can be brought on the same page.

With KanBo status roles, this is no longer required as everyone can see the status of the work through boards, lists, cards, and the current status they are in.


There are no two opinions about the fact that most organizations today need to come up with a robust strategy for managing their business processes effectively. The lack of any business process management leads to poor progress monitoring which can further result in reduced productivity and overall operational efficiency.

KanBo provides a unique approach for organizations to design and implement tailored business processes using its cards and lists along with status roles which don’t only categorize and break down complex processes but keep every team member updated at all times.

Do you have questions?

Maybe we have an answer!

If you have any questions regarding the topics we discussed in this blog, go ahead and send them to us.