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How to prepare a Kanban

How to prepare a Kandan as a product manager.

A Kanban board, also called a taskboard, consists of various columns, representing details of tasks and workflows. The board should always be visible and accessible to all team members and management. Cards represent tasks, user stories, epics, or all of the above.

The Kanban board is very flexible and can be set up to reflect the needs/style of the team. However, columns should reflect the process the team follows and conveys the information they need.

The simplicity of Kanban is that it can be used electronically or as a physical board. However, the following needs to be present:

  • Visual signals: one task per card indicating the responsible person(s), cumulative work, and specific amount of work.
  • Columns: help to display process/workflow as team members move the cards from one column to another.
  • WIP limits: indicates the maximum number of cards that can be present in a column at any given time. The aim is to limit any bottlenecks.
  • Commitment point: also known as backlog, to-do or pending work needs to be managed carefully to prevent any delays.
  • Delivery point: signifying completed work.

Columns on the board

The columns should flow from left to right and reflect the working process of the team. A simple board might have only three columns: To-do, In Progress, and Done.

The simpler the process, the easier for teams to understand and make fewer mistakes. Depending on the project, more columns can be included. The golden rule is to keep it simple and structured to limit confusion and conflict.

Kanban cards

The secret is to keep the cards simple with limited detail. Each card should represent one task, responsible person(s), brief description, name of activity/task, priority/importance, and estimated time for completion.

Cards can also be colour coded to keep track of smaller teams within a bigger team.

Kanban tools

As mentioned earlier, Kanban boards can be electronic or physical. The important factor is that it is simple to understand, accessible, clear, and concise.

Physical boards can be on a wall, whiteboard, or poster board. Index cards or sticky notes can be used as cards. However, sticky notes tend to slip off the board when handled on a daily basis.

Various programs are available to display Kanban boards electronically. For example, Trello and Jira. Both are easy to use, have a simple user interface, and can be accessed by multiple users at once.

Over to you:
For a quick demo, watch the below video to see how Jira looks and works. [1]

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

In the comment section below, discuss with your fellow learners any questions you might have on Jira. For example:
  • Do you use it currently in your workplace?
  • Is it something you might investigate to implement in your workplace?
  • Do you use a similar but different software package?

References:

1. Atlassian. 2018. The new Jira begins now – modern software development [Video]. Atlassian; 2018 Oct 18. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQa3NFB_LRg&ab_channel=Atlassian

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