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A kanban board is a type of project organization tool, to display tasks to be done in a visual way and 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 hierarchize so many tasks. But also those tasks could changed with time as well as the project scope and orientation. So you long term planification could end up to be too rigid and not adpated to the project reality.
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 moves himself the task he is working on from one column to another allowing his team co-workers to know where he is.
In a kanban board, there are two levels of hierarchisation. First, the tasks to be done in a sprint. As a reminder, a sprint is in agile methods a short period of time 2 weeks before a deadline, a completion stage…. So in a kanban board, you need first to choose which topics to include.
Then you can order them by the level of importance. The higher in a column a topic is, the high priority it has. The importance of a topic can be relative. For example, you could decide to finish first small tasks that are not so important in value for the client (or more globally project stakeholders). But that allows to empty the board quickly and make things move forward. Or you could decide to work on more complex tasks of higher values 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 very easily.
Kanban is used while working to update a topic status for example. But it is also very useful as a visual background for stand-ups meetings. This type of quick meetings (could be compared to minute meetings more familiar in architecture & construction) have the objectives 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 do what on an architecture project. And try to optimize team efforts by assigning tasks in a collaborative and agile way.
Bricks is a project management app for architecture that follow the agile methods. So 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. In this column also you can hierarchize topics by moving more strategic tasks on top of the column.
When you decide to include atopic 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 that automatically.
Each projects member move their own tasks to the next columns while they progress in the workflow, until it reach the “DONE” column! It is possible to reorganize the columns orders, rename them to fit with you working group workflow. You can also create a new one for example to add a new step in the workflow.
Each working group has a separate kanban. Indeed it is important that all co-workers have the same visibility on all tasks. And group are specifically designed to manage 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 hand’s on an try it out. If you have any questions or suggestions to improve our agile kanban for architecture, we are very open to integrate great ideas!