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Agile / Learn kanban with Jira Software

TUTORIAL

Learn kanban with Jira software


Step-by-step instructions on how to drive a kanban project with Jira Software

BY CLAIRE MAYNARD

Kanban Tutorial
In this tutori l, we'll give you step-by-step instructions on how to
drive K nb n project, prioritize your work, visu lize your workflow,
nd minimize work-in-progress to prevent your te m from being
overlo ded, ll within Jir Softw re.

Time:

10 minute re d. Complete over few weeks

Audience:

You re new to k nb n softw re development nd/or Jir Softw re

Prerequisite:

You h ve cre ted Jir Softw re ccount

Try it free

WHAT IS KANBAN?
K nb n is simil r to Scrum, in th t it helps te ms rele se softw re
e rly nd often. However, K nb n gives more
Learnflexibility
how to use
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inEpics
termsin of

Jira
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pl nning nd execution. Inste d of working in time-b sed sprints,
work is continuously delivered in K nb n, nd your te m pulls
single pieces of work from the b cklog, nd then moves them to
done.

Step 1: Create a kanban project


Once you login to Jir Softw re, you will h ve the option to cre te
project. When you get the project type selection, ensure you select
K nb n softw re development project.

Your new K nb n softw re development project will lso include


K nb n bo rd. Once you've cre ted your project, your te m's K nb n
bo rd is the first thing you'll see. This is where your te m will
eventu lly keep tr ck of their work.

Step 2: Configure your workflow


In Jir Softw re, the K nb n project gives you n out-of-the-box
workflow with B cklog, Selected for Development, In Progress, nd
Done. This lets the product owner dd t sks to the b cklog, nd move
them to "re dy for development" once the t sk or user story is fully
b ked. Te m members c n then select from th t column nd move to
in-progress nd to done. If your development workflow is different, it's
e sy to dd or remove workflow st te. M ny te ms w nt to dd
QA or reviewing st ge in their workflow, for ex mple.

To configure your columns nd workflow, click Bo rd in the top-right


corner of the b cklog, then select Configure.
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Once you're in the bo rd configur tion p ge, select Columns from the
sideb r. You c n either dd st tus or column with the buttons on
the right, or hit the tr sh icon to remove column. Once you h ve the
workflow columns you w nt, hit B ck to bo rd in the top-right corner.

Step 3: Add tasks, bugs, or user stories to the backlog


Use the Cre te button to st rt dding t sks, bugs or user stories to
your b cklog. In K nb n, this is the first column of your bo rd. If you
don't h ve project or fe ture in mind, try cre ting some s mple
t sks to get st rted nd see how it works.

WHAT ARE USER STORIES?

In n gile fr mework, user stories re the sm llest units of work.


As {type of user} , I w nt { go l} so th t I { receive benefit}.

Let's use website s simple ex mple to cre te user story.

As customer, I w nt to be ble to cre te n ccount so th t I c n


see the purch ses I m de in the l st ye r to help me budget for
next ye r.

User stories re sketched out by the product owner, nd then the


entire product te m collectively determines det iled requirements.

Step 4: Prioritize the backlog


To r nk or prioritize the items in the b cklog, dr g nd drop cUprds up
or down on the first column b sed on their priority.
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PRIORITIZATION IN KANBAN:

A K nb n te m is only focused on the work th t's ctively in


progress. Once the te m completes work item, they pick up the
next work item. The product owner is free to re-prioritize work in
the b cklog without disrupting the te m, bec use ny ch nges
outside the current work items don't imp ct the te m. As long s
the product owner keeps the most import nt work items on top of
the b cklog, the development te m is ssured they re delivering
m ximum v lue b ck to the business. So there's no need for the
fixed-length iter tions you find in Scrum.

It m y be helpful to use the priority key when dding issues to the


bo rd so th t it's e sy to visu lize when prioritizing. The def ult
settings in K nb n will dd swiml nes to your bo rd, one for high
priority items, which is l beled "Expedite," nd one for everything else.
You c n lso use tools like l bels or fe tures within e ch issue to
help you c tegorize pieces of work.

WHAT ARE SWIMLANES?

A swiml ne lets you c tegorize issues so th t gile te ms c n see


which issues they should work on next. To edit the def ult
swiml nes, go to bo rd configur tion in the upper right corner of
your b cklog nd select Swiml nes from the sideb r. You c n dd
swiml nes on this screen by c tegorizing your issues with JQL.
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Step 5: Select work from the backlog


In K nb n, te m members t ke items from the B cklog or Selected
for Development column nd move them to In Progress.

We recommended limiting the work th t is in-progress. To m ke this


e sier, you might consider dding limits to your columns. Doing this
will c use w rning to show if your te m moves too m ny t sks to
column.

WHY LIMIT WORK IN PROGRESS?

You c n set limits for your work in progress (WIP), which b sic lly
lets you set the minimum nd m ximum mount of work th t lives
in e ch column on the bo rd. WIP limits reduce the mount of work
ne rly done by forcing the te m to focus on sm ller set of t sks —
essenti lly improving how your te m works ll throughout. WIP
limits lso highlight bottlenecks in te m's delivery
Learn
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how topipeline
use Epicsbefore
in Jira

Software
situ tion becomes dire. These benefits gu r ntee increments of
v lue to the customer sooner, m king WIP limits v lu ble tool in
gile development. More here.

In Jir Softw re, you c n dd minimum or m ximum limits for e ch


column in the Columns section of the Bo rd configur tion.

Step 6: hold team meetings


In K nb n, d ily st nd-ups nd retrospectives re option l. However,
we recommend th t you nd your te m decide on the c dence of
meetings. A d ily st nd-up c n still be benefici l for the te m to
highlight where there re blockers in their work. It m y lso be
helpful for the product owner to sh re wh t he or she h s prioritized
nd why. Figure out wh t works for your te m nd try it out — you c n
lw ys djust s you go.

WHAT IS THE DAILY STAND-UP MEETING?

Attendees Required: development te m nd product owner

Option l: te m st keholders

When: Once per d y, typic lly in the morning

Dur tion: No more th n 15 minutes. Don't book conference room


nd conduct the st nd-up sitting down. St nding up helps keep the
meeting short!

Agile Fr mework: Scrum nd K nb n.

Purpose: The d ily st nd-up is designed to inform everyone quickly


of wh t's going on cross the te m. It's not full st tus meeting.
The tone should be light nd fun, but inform tive. H ve e ch te m
member nswer the following questions:
Wh t did I complete yesterd y? Up Next

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Wh t will I work on tod y? Software

Am I blocked by nything?

There's n implicit ccount bility in reporting wh t work you


completed yesterd y in front of your peers. No one w nts to be the
te m member who is const ntly doing the s me thing nd not
m king progress.

ProTip: Some te ms use timers to keep everyone on tr ck. Others


toss b ll cross the te m to m ke sure everyone's p ying
ttention. M ny distributed te ms use video-conferencing or group
ch t to close the dist nce g p. Your te m is unique — your st nd-up
should be, too!

Step 7: Using the Control Chart


At regul r interv ls, you might t ke look t the Control Ch rt to
monitor your te m's progress.

WHAT IS THE CONTROL CHART?

The Control Ch rt shows the following inform tion:


How long e ch issue sits in p rticul r st tus before moving on.

Your te m's cycle time, which is the ver ge length of time it


t kes to complete e ch issue. You c n see the cycle time for your
product, version.
A rolling ver ge of your te m's cycle time. As your te m gets
more efficient, you should see this number decre se.

The Control Ch rt is useful bec use it helps you n lyze how your
te m works. Some questions you might sk re:

Are cert in types of issues t king too long to complete? This m y


me n th t the issues re too complex, or they keep getting
bumped for higher-priority work.
Are issues t king too long to tr nsition from p rticul r stUptus?
This m y indic te bottleneck in your te Learn
m's process.
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Wh t's your te m's rolling ver ge? Is your te m getting more
efficient? Why or why not?

Step 8: Using Kanban backlog (optional)


M ny te ms love the flexibility of K nb n, but they m y st rt to feel
th t the first column of their bo rd — the b cklog — becomes long nd
unm n ge ble. Th t's why we've dded b cklog in K nb n
softw re development projects.

The K nb n b cklog gives you b cklog for your bo rd, which is on


different t b in your project. The K nb n b cklog essenti lly gives
product m n gers bigger nd dedic ted sp ce to freely build nd
prioritize the b cklog, without distr cting the te m from their current
work. The product m n ger c n then move work from the b cklog
into "re dy for dev" to let the te m know the work th t's upcoming.

Check out Using your K nb n b cklog nd En bling the K nb n


b cklog for more det ils.
HOW TO TURN ON KANBAN BACKLOG

Log in s user with the 'Jir AdministrLearn


tors'how
globto luse
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permission.

Epics in Jira
Software
Select Jir Administr tion from the top b r > Applic tions, then
scroll down the p ge to the Jir Softw re section.
Under Jir Softw re L bs, select the fe tures th t re of interest
to you.
Burnup Ch rt

K nb n b cklog

Advanced practices
By now, you m y h ve lre dy re lized just how extremely
customiz ble Jir Softw re c n be. Re d on for some dv nced tips
nd tricks th t your te m c n use, to unle sh their potenti l, nd
finish off work-in-progress f ster nd more efficiently.

Step 9: Using column constraints


In step 5, we've lre dy discussed the import nce of limiting work in
progress. In this section, we'll focus on th t more, especi lly since
limits ctu lly highlight ny bottlenecks th t your te m m y be
experiencing. By highlighting these e rly on, your te m c n reshuffle
priorities nd figure out re listic pl n of ction.

You c n configure the column constr ints of your bo rd by going to


the Columns section of Bo rd configur tion. From there, set minimum
nd m ximum constr ints for e ch column.
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If you h ve more th n 10 issues in either the Selected for


Development or In Progress columns, the columns would be colored
red t the top:

Note th t your bo rd m y ppe r differently if you've en bled the


K nb n b cklog for your bo rd.

Depending on your te m's needs, you c n go step further nd


configure your column constr ints to exclude sub-t sks from the
count.

For more det ils on how to do this, go to Configuring columns.


Step 10: Using the Cumulative Flow Diagram Up Next

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The Cumul tive Flow Di gr m is one of the import nt reports you c
n
Software

ever use when working in K nb n methodologies. The Cumul tive


Flow Di gr m lets your te m quickly visu lize their effort, nd m tch
it g inst the over ll progress of the project.

In Jir Softw re, the Cumul tive Flow Di gr m shows the st tuses of
your te m's issues over period of time:

Any bottlenecks will ppe r s sudden ch nge of the issue st tuses


in the di gr m — whether the ch nge is sudden rise or f ll, it is
definitely worth looking into the issues involved.

When predicting potenti l bottlenecks, the Cumul tive Flow


Di gr m is indeed tool your te m should consider using.
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CLAIRE MAYNARD
Claire Maynard is Head of Product Marketing for Bitbucket Cloud at Atlassian. She has been working
in the software development space for over seven years and with Atlassian for the last four. By
helping Atlassian tell compelling stories behind their products, they attract new customers and keeps
existing ones loyal. In her spare time, she loves to travel, surf, and try new restaurants.

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Try this tutorial

ARTICLE

Kanplan: where your backlog meets kanban


Kanplan adds the backlog and backlog grooming concepts of scrum to kanban, using
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