Jira Kanban Boards

Ruth Hadari
Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert
Posted on
Mar 25, 2022
Updated on
Sep 4, 2022
Table of Content

Jira is a project management tool used by software developers and project managers for issue tracking, Agile planning, and release management. The software was created by Atlassian, a company founded in 2002 by Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar. 

This tool is designed to help organizations manage and track their work from start to finish. Jira is used by teams of all sizes, from small businesses to large enterprises. One of its popular features is the Kanban board. 

However, before diving into the specific details on how to set up Kanban boards in Jira, it's essential to understand what they are and the concept behind the Kanban methodology.

What is the Kanban Methodology?

The Kanban methodology is a project management tool that helps teams visualize their work, limit the amount of work in progress (WIP), and improve their flow. The method was created by Taiichi Ohno, one of the creators of the Toyota Production System. 

The idea behind the Kanban Method is that teams should work on a fixed number of tasks at a time and then cycle through them. This limits the amount of WIP and helps improve the team's flow.

What Are Kanban Boards?

Kanban boards are a great way to visualize your work. They help you see what's being worked on, who's working on it, and how much progress is being made. These boards can be physical or digital, and you can tailor them to fit the needs of your team. 

Physical Kanban Board

A physical Kanban board can be made with a whiteboard or corkboard. You'll need to have some way to track the number of tasks in each stage of your workflows, such as post-it notes or stickers. This is ideal for teams located in the same physical space that want a visual way to track their progress.

Digital Kanban Board

A digital Kanban board is a great option for remote teams or teams with frequently traveling members. Several online tools, such as Jira, allow you to create a digital Kanban board. These boards often include task dependencies, a calendar view, and the ability to add attachments.

Benefits of Using Kanban Boards 

Using a Kanban board in your software development process has many benefits. These include:

1. Increased Transparency and Communication

Transparency and communication are vital, since they help ensure that everyone is aware of the project's status and what needs to be done. With a Kanban board, all team members can see the work in progress and what has been completed to avoid confusion.

2. Easier Tracking of Progress

Kanban boards make it easy to track the progress of a project. By visually following the status of different work items, it is easy to see which ones have or haven’t been completed. This helps ensure that tasks are not forgotten, and that progress is being made.

3. Increased Efficiency

Kanban boards display the status of tasks so that team members can see what is being worked on and how close they are to completion. This helps them prioritize their work, thereby increasing the team’s efficiency.

4. Easier to Identify and Fix Bottlenecks

Kanban boards make identifying and fixing bottlenecks easier in the development process by showing which tasks take the longest. This helps spot potential causes for holdups, so that they can be addressed immediately. Overall, it improves your team’s productivity and ensures that the quality of the project is maintained. 

How to Create a Kanban Board in Jira?

Now that you're familiar with Kanban boards, let's create one in Jira. First and foremost, it's important to consider the elements included in your board.

Elements of a Kanban Board

The five basic elements of a Jira Kanban board are:

Cards

One of the main things you'll need for creating your board is cards. Cards represent tasks or work items and can be moved across the board as they progress through the workflow. The team writes tasks on the cards and then decides what needs to be done and in what order. It helps make the process visual and easy to track.

Columns

Columns define the different states that a task can be in as it moves through the workflow. For example, typical column names might be "To Do," "In Progress," and "Done."

WIP Limits

WIP limits help ensure that tasks are moving through the board promptly. You can set a WIP limit for each column and lane, and when the limit is reached, no new tasks can be added.

Commitment Point

The commitment point occurs when a team member takes responsibility for a task or idea by moving it to the "In Progress" column.

Delivery Point

The delivery point is when the task is completed and ready for review. This could be when the card is moved to the "Done" column or when the project has been submitted to the client.

You might also want to consider other elements when creating your Kanban board, such as swim lanes, which are used to track tasks that belong to different teams or projects, or backlogs, a place where the team can place their ideas that other people can pick up.

Steps for Creating a Kanban Board in Jira

1. Create a Project

To create a Kanban board in Jira, you first need to create a project. You can do this by clicking the "Create Project" button at the top of your screen or selecting "Create Project" from the project drop-down menu on the left side of your screen.

2. Select Project Type

There are different types of projects you can create in Jira. To create a Kanban board, select Kanban under the software column. After this, you will set up the project title.

3. Configure Your Kanban Board

You can configure your Kanban board by clicking the "Board Settings" button on the top right corner of your screen. Here, you can add swimlanes and columns, change card colors, and more. 

You can also add WIP limits, which will help you manage your board and enforce the limits you set. You may also want to consider adding a filter to your board so that you can only see specific issues based on their status, assignee, labels, or other criteria.

4. Add Issues to Your Kanban Board

Now that you've configured your Jira Kanban board, it's time to add issues to it. Issues are a way to track work that needs to be done.

You can do this by clicking the "Create" button on the top right corner of your screen. Then, add a title, description, and other details to your issue. You can also add it to a specific column and swimlane on your board and continue to add more if you like.

5. Move Issues Between Columns

Once you've added issues to your Kanban board, you'll need to start moving them between columns. To do this, simply drag and drop the issue from one column to another. 

6. Track the Progress of Your Issues

After setting up your Kanban board, you'll be able to track the progress of your work. This can be done by looking at the issue's status field. The possible statuses are: To Do, In Progress, Done, and Reopened. 

The status will change as you move the issue through the different columns on your board. You can also view the history of an issue to see how it has progressed over time.

Conclusion 

A Jira Kanban board is a great way to visualize and manage your work. You can use a Kanban board to track the progress of your work, manage your tasks, and improve your productivity. With all of the information at your fingertips, you can easily see what's currently being done and what else needs to be accomplished.

With Kanban boards, you can ensure that your teams can work more efficiently and effectively, thereby helping your business achieve its goals.


About the author

Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert

Highly experienced in leading multi-organizational teams, groups, in-shore as well as off-shore. The go-to person who is able to simplify the complex. An agile advocate, experienced in all common methodologies. Responsible for the entire software development lifecycle process from development, QA, DevOps, Automation to delivery including overall planning, direction, coordination, execution, implementation, control and completion. Drives execution, and communicates on status, risks, metrics, risk-mitigation and processes across R&D.

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