Agile Team working from a KanBan Board

Credit to Atlassian for the KanBan Board

Before we explore the elements that make up a KanBan Board, let’s start by looking at the connection between a KanBan Board and a workflow design.

David Anderson was instrumental in the creation of the KanBan methodology, which later evolved into the principles which support Software Development and other Product Development initiatives.

The thing to remember is that workflow is the logic that is placed in the back-end of your team processes, while the KanBan Board is the interface used daily by the team to engage the workflow. Check out our previous article on Building an Agile Product Workflow.

A Kanban Board is an agile tool designed to visualize work on a single dashboard. It consists of cards and columns to help your team collaborate and communicate more effectively on the status of a project.

Kanban is the Japanese translation for visual signal”

Elements of a Kanban Board:

Cards

An activity card represents a unit of work to be done.You may notice additional attributes such as Assignee, Status, title, and description. Typically, for Software development, a card represents a Task, User story, and bugs.

Columns

These are the core structure of the Kanban Board. It comprises a series of cards in which labels are customizable based on the team workflow. It allows for the easy transition of activity from one status to another by moving cards from one column into another. There can be several columns to a single board. The basic Kanban Board column layout is Define, In-progress and Complete. However, there can be many more columns added, such as Code Review, QA Review, etc.

Basic Kanban Board

The basic Kanban Board can serve just about everyone and should not be restricted to the software developer’s life. All tasks created are initially set up as a “to do”. Tasks by tasks as work transitions it goes into the In-progress phase. Whenever that task meets the acceptance criteria to be Completed it moves into Done.

Optimized Kanban Board

The inability to connect with the various transitions within a product life cycle, is a disadvantage of the Basic Kanban board. To truly optimize a Kanban Board for development, additional steps need to be included, such columns to test and a feedback loop that aligns with the development workflow, which undergoes constant optimization. The Kanban Board should be a reflection of how the team works.

Physical Kanban Board

What started out as sticky notes on a physical white board has now evolved., Some teams still use physical boards to manage their team’s activities and we can see why! There are many pros to having a physical Kanban board in the space that your team works. It keeps everyone up to date on the progress as well as the motivation and stimulation associated with seeing sticky notes (cards) move from one column into the next.

Digital KanBan Board

Kanban Board supports technology development in solving more and more everyday life. As such it’s no surprise that it is a part of developers’ life that it too got a digital facelift.The increase in remote access teams across the world is a global trend which brought about the necessary digital facelift that developer’s desired. A physical board would limit the teams’ interaction. Further, a single index card could not suffice to keep all the information organized for the team with the increase of supporting artifacts, UML diagrams, test cases, etc Therefore the need to transition to digital was always ideal.

There are currently many digital products out there that have now digitised Kanban Boards to allow for an even better experience for many teams.

Software Consultant | Project Manager | Certified Scrum Master | Agile Enthusiast | Digital Nomad| Blogger