Join us in building the future Tuleap Agile Kanban

Currently, in the context of our Open Roadmap service, we are brainstorming with our customers about a Kanban feature in Tuleap. Since Tuleap 6, we’ve began to provide agile tools with Scrum features (product backlog management, release and sprint planning, dashboard, stand-up cardwall, burdown chart…). In the 7 version of Tuleap, we improved them with a new UI.

Now we would like to offer something for agile people working with Kanban.

Here’s a quick reminder on Kanban and the difference with Scrum.

What is Kanban?

Kanban is a method for managing production with an emphasis on just-in-time delivery while not overloading the workers.
At the origin, Kanban (literally signboard in Japanese) was a Lean scheduling system that was first deployed at Toyota.
In the context of software development, Kanban is an agile approach aiming at keeping everyone focused on the incoming queue. Kanban is also very useful for helpdesk activities and support management where the challenge is to deal with all the submitted tickets and their priority.

Kanban for development is rooted in 3 basic principles:

  • Visualize the workflow: the work has to be split into small pieces, each one corrsponds to a card on the wall. The wall is divided into columns (status) and the passing of a card from one column to another constitues a workflow.
  • Limit work in progress -WIP-: limits are set as to how many items may be in each state of the workflow
  • Measure time and improve the flow : measure how much time is needded on average to complete one item. Then, analyse and optimize the process to make completion time as small and predicatble as possible
Example of a simple Kanban wall

What’s the differences between Kanban and Scrum?

Kanban and Scrum are both lean and agile approaches. They focus on delivering quality software with incremental development. Both are based on self-directed teams promoting collaboration and continuous optimization.
Kanban imposes less constraints than Scrum. With Scrum there are more parameters to think about. But both are very adaptable to your team and can evolve according to your experimentation.
Here is now a summary of the differences between the two methods:



Kanban Scrum
No recommended roles Recommended roles : Scrum Master, Product Owner and Team Member
Continuous Process Timeboxed Iterations
Limit WIP per workflow state Limit WIP per iterations
Changes can be made at any time Changes can be made during sprint planning. Ideally, aim for no changes during the sprint
Evaluation of the average time spent by column/ items or velocity User story estimations and capacity predictions



Kanban in Tuleap now

Now that you are more confortable with the Kanban principles, let’s come back on how using Tuleap as an open source agile tool. At the moment, you can create card views in each tracker. For instance you can create tasks board and track the progress easily, updating the state of each artifact by drag’n drop. You can do this with a bug tracker, for example.

On each board you can :

    • set the artifacts’ workflow and transitions
    • specify who is authorized to change the status
    • choose what information to display on the cards : assignment, priority, escalation…
    • customize column colors

When your Kanban board is created, you can add it to your personal dashboard or the project dashboard if you are an adminitrator of the project workspace.


Example of an agile Kanban board for managing bugs in Tuleap

For more information about how creating card boards, check the documentation here.

Kanban in Tuleap: on-going discussions

There are several elements we would like to improve to make the Kanban view even more efficient. We are brainstorming with interested Tuleap Community members and customers who have subscribed to the Open Roadmap to understand what final users need.
We will then prioritise the must-have features for a first version (MVP).

These are the MVP user stories so far:

      • “Be able to limit the number of items in each column
      • “Be able to prioritise the cards in each column
      • “Be able to create a critical streamline and be able to stop all the other work”
      • “Be able to know the date of entrance of each card”

To make this dream come true, we ‘ve created mock-ups. They are the basis of discussions and enable everyone to project into the future.

Mock-up: Kanban board in Tuleap


Mock-up: Kanban administration

What do you think about these mock-ups? How do you imagine your Kanban board? In what context would you use a Kanban?

You are invited to share feedback and suggestions of improvements by adding comments below.

If you want to accelerate the developments of the Kanban tools, you can also join the companies members of the Open Roadmap. The more people help us to build and finance the features, the early they are provided.

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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