Increase your team’s work quality and productivity with Kanban

Focus on doing the right job in the best possible way and deliver value to your customers.

At Enalean, we strive for excellency. To achieve it we make sure that we are actually delivering what our customers needs, not necessarily what he asks for, in the best possible way. Here a few tips and tools that help us: a couple of favorite questions and continuous delivery.

The questions are: what’s it for and why then why again and again until reaching the profound motivations and needs behind the project. Asking these questions and delivering often has several benefits, you can focus work on what really needs to be done, people are happier to work because they understand better what they are doing, the customer is satisfied and reassured because he has a product that better matches his real needs, with lower costs and faster delivery times.

 

Several advantages of using a Kanban

The adoption of Kanban enables teams to:

  • continuously deliver products
  • while continuously improving the process required to get there
  • and gets the team in a streamlined flow of productivity,
  • reducing rush and tensions.

Team well being, flexibility, focus, continuous delivery, increase productivity.

Using an online tool facilitates also synchronisation amongst distributed teams and prevents Post-it Suicide phenomena

Wow this sounds great, so how do we get there?

Translating a product idea to actionable items. Backlog epics and stories.

Once the focus is on what really has to be done, we need to understand how long it will take and how to distribute the work. To facilitate this process, the team breaks down the project into features, in agile terminology we call them epics.

To facilitate estimation of time needed, each epic has to be broken down in parts of relatively similar workload, these are called user stories. Ideally this process has to be done by the whole team that will develop the project as collectively they will know by experience and comparison to previous work how to best evaluate the effort needed for each story.

These user stories, once organised by priority form what is called the backlog.

Now we have a series of actionable items, user stories, organised by priority in a backlog, what’s next?

Here comes into play Kanban, the lean scheduling system that visually tells the team on what to work advancing in a steady flow of manageable work. The keywords here are visually, and steady flow of work.

As you can see in the Tuleap Kanban screenshot below, the Kanban is organised in a number of columns going from BACKLOG to ARCHIVE. The columns in between are free to be set as you prefer. For example, a simple and effective way is to have a TODO, ON GOING, BLOCKED and DONE. Of course, this depends on your development process and main steps of software creation.

 

open source kanban tool
 

On regular meetings, for example once a week, the team takes a look at the kanban and organises the columns. Done items, once validated are moved in the archive. Blocked are discussed and if possible unblocked. TODO and ON GOING are moved forward as needed, well not really as need and we’ll see why just now.

Notice that there are numbers on the heading of the columns. These numbers indicate how many user stories are present in each column and what is the maximum limit per column. This maximum limit is called Work In Progres WIP. This is an important factor of the kanban system as it’s what ensures steady flow of work, without overcharging the team.

A well implemented Kanban helps gather what needs to be done in a flow that can be mastered without feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work as it offers a systematic approach to identifying how to improve efficiency. Kanban also helps to continuously deliver while improving at every iteration the process required to get there.

We use this continuous improvement process for all areas of business from development to marketing with a very good adoption and positive return.

 

How Tuleap kanban works?

Tuleap allows you to organise the kanban exactly how you want, and you can have multiple kanbans with different layouts according to the way each team within your organisation works. Let’s take a quick look at how to create a Kanban.

1) Go to the Agile Dashboard menu and click on the grey button on the left “+Add a kanban” (If you get the message no tracker available look how to create tracker)

 

2) Set a name for the new kanban and click Create

 

 

3) There you go, you have created a new kanban. You can access it by clicking on the relative cardwall link.

 

 

4) Your kanban ready to use. Notice the + icons at the bottom of each column, they allow to insert new user stories directly in the kanban. Just click on the plus and you will be able to insert a new story.

 

kanban software development
 

 

 

About the Author

How great is the challenge of creating economic value for a company with a libre software. I enjoy this! It encourages me to think business and communication in a disruptive way. I believe in the core value of FLOSS and agile spirit: open minded listening, transparency and co-creation. I'm Marketing Manager at Enalean.

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