The Benefits Of Kanban board (even) outside an agile project.

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My company uses IBM DOORS connector for JIRA to simplify requirements tracking process. However, the way requirements are transferred to JIRA from DOORS makes it hard to say what the requirement is about. So when I was looking for a way to view the actual requirement my project manager told me about a possibility to create a Kanban board in JIRA.

It took me a moment to actually pick up the tool – I used the old way coz I’ve got no idea how to set up the board, then I waited for permission from JIRA admin… The regular corporate way… But when I finally set up my first Kanban board I instantly fell in love. Really… (James, if you’ll ever read this: thanks a bunch!)

So why to use a Kanban board even outside any agile methodology?

Even though the main purpose of Kanban was to view the requirements without opening them in a new tab the first thing I’ve noticed is that it’s extremely easy to read and helps me manage my tasks without them going awry.

If you are interested what Kanban board can do for you (even outside the agile process and without JIRA) here are the pros of Kanban board:

  • Kanban board is based on a very simple idea. Its shows the workflow in an easy to read, visual way
  • Kanban enhances just-in-time management system (JIT) of producing only what is required, exactly when it is required and delivered exactly where it is required on time.
  • The board gives you a visual sign indicating you can start new work.
  • It helps you remember to start with what you do now and focus on tasks at hand.
  • It limits work in progress, so it keeps you from working on too many tasks at once.
  • When you look at properly set up kanban board you know the context of the task i.e. the deadline, project, dependencies, etc:
    • You can add as many columns as you want (The easiest is well-known SCRUM flow: TODO, In Progress, Done) but you can add fields such as review, integration, closed etc 😉 Whatever you feel is needed so you can see what’s in what stage of work.
    • You can divide vertical columns into swimlanes indicating, for example, the due date, story, project or whatever else you want so that you have your work divided into meaningful chunks instead of a long list of TODO tasks without the context.
    • You can customize task cards by adding colors to them – for whatever purpose you want 😉

640px-kanban_board

Kanban board can be easily applied in any management system in the world of software development. I believe it helps you avoid mind wrestling with remembering what to do first and helps concentrate on important tasks so if you have a possibility try it, even if you’re not a part of a SCRUM or Kanban team 😉

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