Planning Templates


For all your planning needs. Manage a project kickoff, plan a vacation, or track your goals in a calendar. These templates help you get started quickly so you can focus on what’s important.

Feature Prioritization Matrix Example

This 4-box matrix is useful for prioritizing new feature ideas for a product or software application.

To get started with this board, you'll likely want to delete all the existing cards. You can do that quickly by holding down the shift key and drawing a box around the cards with your mouse. This will select multiple cards at which time you can use the LEFT card menu on any of the highlighted cards and choose "Delete Selected Cards".

Place the feature ideas into the board according to how Urgent they are and the Impact that they will have on the overall program.

Items will fall into one of four boxes, suggesting the proper next step.

High Impact, High Urgency --> INCLUDE.  Include these items in the next release, or as soon as possible.

Low Impact, High Urgency --> REVISIT.  Revisit these items at a later date to see if the Urgency has changed.

Low Impact, Low Urgency --> EXCLUDE.  No need for something that is not urgent and has low impact.

High Impact, Low Urgency --> DEBATE.  Just because things are not urgent doesn't mean they aren't important. Stakeholders like users and executives often don't place value on things like infrastructure, or refactoring and so these items may need more serious debate to determine if they should be include in the next release or product iteration.

Cardsmith Pro-tip: Use the Zoom Slider Bar to make the Feature Prioritization background image larger or smaller in order to fit your screen. 

agile scrum board example

This Current Sprint Scrum Board has:  

  1. A freeform view that allows a space to break down user stories into tasks and sub-tasks. 
  2. A grid view with a scrum board that maps tasks to user stories and tracks the work through to completion.

Once the user stories have been selected for the upcoming sprint, you can use the freeform board here to collaborate with your team in breaking down the user stories into tasks and subtasks. Once that is done, change to the grid view and place each user story into a row of the grid. You can add rows to the grid easily to make space for each user story using the row menu (hover over the row title and say add row below or above).

Next, place all the task cards related to each user story into the Backlog column. You are now ready to kick off your sprint with your team, do a daily standup and watch task cards move from left to right as they get completed.

If there are dependencies between the tasks, you can indicate that with connector lines as we have demonstrated in this examp.

Follow this link to learn more about how this board fits into an overarching agile project process see the following post.

Cardsmith Pro-tip: When you change board views, cards that were added to another view will be in the “Hidden Cards” area at the bottom on your board. Once positioned on a Freeform or Grid View, cards remain on that View. So you can always go back and for

agile product backlog board template

An example product backlog board from Scrum:

One of the first things the agile product owner, product manager or program manager must do is prioritize and scope the Sprint. Story Points can be used as a measure. We estimate that our team can deliver on six to seven story points in the two week Sprint.

This board tracks all of the user stories that we currently have yet to be completed and allows the team to prioritize and then move the user stories up to the “next sprint” row as a way to check the estimated volume of work (story points) and decide which user stories will go into the next Sprint. Once this is completed the product owner would likely copy or move these cards into a CURRENT SPRINT board for execution.

Story points are added up using the Grid Totals feature found on the board’s main menu (upper left of screen). 

Follow this link to learn more about how to design a customized product backlog and other agile boards used in Scrum:

Cardsmith Pro-tip: Once you have added fields to User Story cards, use the “Set Default Card” option so the fields are added to new cards added to that board. You can then turn on Grid Totals for this Board in the Board Menu to be able to view the total Story Points.  

project objectives strategy map example

This board is a concept map created during the sample project’s initiation phase.

Creating a map like this can help clarify the purpose of a project, linking it to key strategic initiatives.  It can be used to help understand the company’s goals and strategies, and how these things may be supported by the proposed solution.

Having a map like this later on can also be useful in controlling scope creep. Does the added scope support the high level project objectives?  Have the objectives changed?  Having a visual tool like this can help facilitate conversations with executives and other stakeholders throughout the life of a project.

OKRs example template board

OKRs stands for Objectives and Key Results. It’s a system for tracking your desired objectives and keeping yourself and your team accountable.  

OKRs are meant to set strategy and goals over a specified amount of time for an organization and teams. At the end of a work period, your OKRs provide a reference to evaluate how well you did in executing your objectives.

Objectives: Any initiative has an objective. The goal of setting an objective is to write out what you hope to accomplish such that at a later time you can easily tell if you have reached, or have a clear path to reaching, that objective.

Key Results: Assuming your Objectives are well thought through, Key Results are the secret sauce to using OKRs. Key Results are numerically-based expressions of success or progress towards an Objective.

In summary:

  • Objectives are ambitious and may feel somewhat uncomfortable
  • Key results are measurable and should be easy to grade with a number (Google uses a scale of 0 – 1.0)
  • OKRs are public so that everyone in the organization can see what others are working on
  • The “sweet spot” for an OKR grade is 60% – 70%; if someone consistently fully attains their objectives, their OKRs aren’t ambitious enough and they need to think bigger
  • Low grades should be viewed as data to help refine the next OKRs
  • OKRs are not synonymous with employee evaluations
  • OKRs are not a shared to-do list
  • Why should we use OKRs?

Studies have shown that committing to a goal can help improve employee performance. But more specifically, research reveals that setting challenging and specific goals can further enhance employee engagement in attaining those goals. Google often uses “Objectives and Key Results” (OKRs) to try to set ambitious goals and track progress.

Can you tell me more about it?

Here is a link to a Youtube video demonstrating how to use Cardsmith as your OKR tracker:

Read this article by niket on Medium. We pulled a lot of content from this article for the card. It’s a pretty quick read and goes deeper without taking forever to get to the points about OKRs.

Watch this video by Google Ventures. It’s an hour and some long, which means it’s good for a long walk or a few walks. 😀 Google Ventures Startup Lab | GV partner Rick Klau covers the value of setting objectives and key results (OKRs) and how this has been done at Google since 1999. Understand the key attributes of effective OKRs and how to apply them in your own organization.

work breakdown project example template

Breakdown project objectives into features, major deliverables, and tasks.

After your project’s objectives are defined, define the end deliverable(s) and break down the work into smaller chunks. This example board gets the process started.

Pro tip:  Make sure you keep your projects overall objectives handy either in the board or with a link to your Project Objectives board.

yearly plan IT projects

Using a board like this to visualize projects in flight, completed and planned can:

  1. help ensure capacity is not overloaded.
  2. assist management in making difficult choices about project priorities.
  3. keep a management team appraised of progress of a large portfolio of projects.

This template was inspired by an IT director who uses Cardsmith to track and communicate all the of IT projects for a year, organized by department.
Each of the cards on this board represents a project.

If a project has a more detailed board in Cardsmith – or in another project management system, you can put a link to it inside the project card – simply copy/paste the link to the Board into a text field.

sprint plan template board example

Here’s what creating a Sprint Planning Board can do for your team:  

  1. Visualize a wide variety of user stories across multiple sprints and potentially multiple teams (as in with Scaled Agile). 
  2. Maximize current team capabilities and capacity in order to deliver more valuable work to customers.

Cardsmith provides an ideal way to map out user stories across sprints because you can visualize dependencies between stories and easily arrange stories in a sequence that meets customer needs and fits the constraints of the team. To help manage capacity and plan appropriately sized sprints, a story point or swag field can be added up by row, column and cell using the Grid Totals function. Connectors are added using the “Link to” item on the card menu while in board view (card is not open).

The Sprint Planning process uses story points in order to size features or chunks of work into relative sizing. Overtime the team, and via sprint retrospectives, the team will learn how many story points they can reliably finish in a single sprint.

Pro Tip:  if you add fields to a card and want to always have those fields on new cards select Set Default Card from the card menu (see the lower right menu on this card) 

project objectives map template example

Here’s what creating a Project Objectives Board can do for your team:   

  1. Clarify project priorities such as on-time, on-budget, within scope.
  2. Keep the team and management focused on what is important about this project.
  3. Prevent scope creep.
  4. Measure the success of a project once it is delivered.

This board demonstrates how to use the Freeform View to map project objectives to strategic objectives.

The Grid View prioritizes project objectives and project priorities (e.g. budget, scope, quality, time, budget — not everything can be equally important!) 

Quick tip: did you know you can have the same cards under two different views? Switch from Freeform to Grid view and then drag some or all of the cards from Hidden Cards into the Grid cells. Switch back to the Freeform view and notice all your cards are still there.  

landscape plant catalog catalogue

Example of a Knowledge Management board for cataloging your favorite “just about anything”! 

fundraising planner example

Planning an event to raise funds for a charity, political campaign or just to make some cash?

Use this board to help you research and track ideas for venues, sponsors, decor, PR and more… simply add additional rows or columns to track additional items.

monkey mind brainstorm template

Use this 3 step exercise to calm and focus your mind, while getting control of your to-do list.

Do you have a Monkey Mind? Does your mind move from one idea, to another, to another – perhaps in a state of overwhelm?

When we get busy, or stressed, or disorganized, our brains try to take care of us by reminding us about all that they are worried about. “Don’t forget this task” your brain says, only to be quickly followed up with “Don’t forget what you told Sam you’d do for him before the next meeting”, only to quickly fly off to “I’m worried about not having time to complete my project”, and then to “I’m feeling overwhelmed by it all!”.

You feel out of control and anxious about what seems like a pile of things on your plate. Like a computer without enough memory, your brain is thrashing — jumping back and forth between multiple jobs. You can’t feel productive because you don’t really know what to work on next. When this happens is a great time to just hit pause, and do a little exercise that will both calm your brain and be a great first step into getting back on track and working on what truly matters most.

Read more here about how to do our 3 step mind taming exercise using a board like this one.  

or Watch this short video of the process here.  

calendar year vertical

Calendar view board in vertical format. Use this template to track your year.

calendar yearly horizontal

Calendar view board in horizontal format. Use this template to track your year.

weekly calendar template board example

A month calendar layout board in a weekly format. Use this template to track your month.

cardsmith master dashboard example

Dashboard Linking Board

Did you know you can link Cardsmith Boards together in a Master Dashboard?  

Every board, and every card for that matter, has a unique URL that can be used to link to and open another board.  

This board is an example of how one might use the text or link fields in Cardsmith to link a lot of different boards together. 

For example, if you have a project where there is a stakeholder register, a project milestone board, a project to company strategy board, and a kanban board, you can bring those all together for the convenience of your team and stakeholders.  

business roadmap template example

Keep your team focused on the most important goals by month and business area.

This example was designed by our CEO and is a typical roadmap for an early or launch stage startup.