What is a kanban board?
A kanban board is a type of project organization tool. display tasks to be done in a more visual way. It is also generally used in the agile method.
Kanban boards can be as simple as drawing columns on a wall with headers like “TO DO”, “DOING”, “DONE”.Then on this mural physical kanban board, you can write tasks on Posts-it or other types of small size cards. Each task needs to be completed during a short period of time, typically 2 weeks, the most common duration of an agile sprint.
It is important not to put too many pending tasks on a project, as it will be impossible to follow up so many tasks. Those same tasks could have changed and evolved with time along with the project scope and orientation. The long term proposal could end up to be too rigid and unsustainable to the project reality.
What are the main benefits of a kanban board?
To display progress visually
Displaying tasks to be done in a kanban board is a great way to visualize the tasks to be done and the overall progress of the team. When someone works on a project, he will move his task from one column to another as he completed them. This makes it easier for the rest of the team to know if he is making headway.
To prioritize the tasks
In a kanban board, there are two levels of hierarchy. First, the tasks to be done in a sprint. As a reminder, a sprint in agile method is a short period of time, that 2 weeks before a deadline or, a completion stage.
In a kanban board, the first thing you do is to choose which topics or tasks to include.Then you can order them by level of importance. The higher in a column a topic is, the higher priority it is. The importance of a topic can be relative. For example, you could decide to finish the small tasks that are not so important in value for the client (or more globally project stakeholders). Working on such tasks first allows you to empty the board and make things move forward faster. Or you could decide to work on more complex tasks of higher values early on to secure the next meeting.
Reordering task priorities are as simple as drag-and-dropping. It is one of the great benefits of kanban boards to be able to edit them easily.
To assign tasks to the team
Kanban is used while working to update a topic status for example. But it is also very useful as a visual background for stand-up meetings. This type of quick meetings (could be compared to minute meetings more familiar in architecture & construction) have the objective to know where team members are in their tasks, give a quick help if they are stuck because of a coordination problem, and assign tasks.
In a kanban board, you can visually see who does what in an architecture project and try to optimize team efforts by assigning tasks in a collaborative and agile way.
Kanban board in Bricks
Bricks is a project management app for architecture that follow the agile methods. We have integrated the kanban at a central place of the application.
Each project you create in Bricks has a kanban, one per working group actually.
Each time you create a topic, this topic is visible in a special column of the kanban, the “backlog”. The backlog is the “reverse log” of all tasks to be done. You can also prioritize topics by moving more strategic tasks on top of the column.
When you decide to include a topic in the current working sprint, you simply drag the topic to the “TO DO” column. You can then assign this task to a project team member, who will get notified of the new assignment automatically.
Each project member move their own tasks to the appropriate columns as they progress in the workflow, until the task is completed and can then be moved to the “DONE” column! It is possible to reorganize the columns order, rename them to fit your working group workflow andcreate a new one such as when adding a new step in the workflow.
Each working group has a separate kanban and team members must be given visibility to tasks and projects that they are part of. Each kanban is specifically designed so that you canmanage project permission in a simple but efficient way.
Now you know everything about kanban. You know more about Bricks kanban too. It’s time to get hands-on and try it out for yourself. If you have any questions or suggestions to improve our agile kanban for architecture, we are very open to great ideas!
This post is also available in: Français (French)
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