9 July 2020
How to Make the Most of Your Task Board
A task board is a great way to provide a visual of the work at hand. It facilitates team collaboration, the current state of a project and promotes productivity. Perhaps you use a Kanban board or a Scrum task board. Both are visual task board tools. Regardless of how you are set up, the objective is to plan and execute tasks to achieve your project goals.
Organizations are always evolving, so too must your task board. As the project leader, there is an opportunity to optimize how you are using this tool to work more efficiently and effectively. Here are some suggestions.
Calling out Blockers
Kanban boards display the paths followed to reach goals. Tasks display as cards in designated columns. These cards are reviewed and discussed as they progress. Kanban can be done virtually using a task board app, or your team can use a whiteboard and stickers to display cards.
Scrum boards track tasks as they are going through a Sprint. A Sprint is a timeboxed period with the expectation to complete the designated assigned work. Once a Sprint is completed, new tasks are pulled in from the backlog.
Whether you are using a Kanban or Scrum board, blockers can come in the form of dependencies on another team, task, a third party, or missing information. Any of these can cause delays.
In Kanban, the blocked card is flagged, and additional information can be added, such as:
- Root cause
- Owner of the issue
- Blocked start and end dates
- Issue resolution
Color coding can be used to identify the resolution urgency. The project leader can review the blocked cards, analyze the issue, and then create a policy. If this issue occurs again, there is a process in place for a prompt resolution.
Scrum boards rely on the assumption that all tasks within the Sprint can be completed. If a task is unexpectedly blocked, it goes back into the backlog at the end of the Sprint. It will not go into the next Sprint until whatever was blocking gets resolved.
Monitoring Your Work in Progress
Are you using the best tool to monitor the work in progress? You may rely solely on a scrum board, but sometimes using a Kanban board makes sense.
Scrum boards vs. Kanban
At the start of the project assess which method will better meet your needs. Task board templates are available in apps, making it easy to switch. They can give task board ideas on the initial setup. If you have a high-volume, low complexity project, Kanban may be the better option while relying on a scrum board for more complex projects. Being flexible and open to selecting the right method for a project, can better support the monitoring of your work in progress.
Kanban limits the number of tasks per workflow. By restricting the tasks, it forces the team to close them off and remove bottlenecks. Since the focus is on workflow, it is ideal for repetitive, sequential, and continuous tasks.
But, if you want to continue working in Kanban for a complex project, you can use Classes of Services (COS) and Swimlanes to split up your processes. COS is a policy defining how to treat specific work. For example, you can set up a parallel stream for maintenance and another steam with specifics for releasing patches to production. This prevents disrupting the standard workflow. Swimlanes are split across the board and can be used to represent teams, products, or clients.
A Scrum board online or on a whiteboard tracks the tasks committed by development for delivery. Sprints are timeboxed for the work performed per iteration. Daily Scrum meetings provide a forum to discuss scrum tasks. The Scrum Master monitors the work to ensure the pace is sustainable by the team.
Teams new to agile sometimes use Agile boards. These teams want to use a simple board with a minimalist configuration.
Using Reports and Metrics
Reports and metrics measure progress and optimize productivity. Kanban has metrics such as team performance, and Burn Up and Burn Down Charts. Burn Down Charts indicate the number of tasks completed. This metric can be used for future projects to indicate when a project can be completed assuming the tasks are completed at the same pace. Burn Up Charts display completed work.
Scrum task boards online also have Burn Down reports indicating if you will be able to release software on time. There are more reports available depending on your tool of choice. The Velocity report represents the team’s capacity to deliver within the Sprint. These reports can provide more information on team performance to maximize productivity.
Holding retrospectives, lessons learned sessions and from feedback is an opportunity to polish your processes. You can present your reports and metrics, but it also gives the team a voice to share their thoughts and ideas on the workflow or Sprint.
Maximizing Your Task Board to Deliver Business Value
As a leader, you are always looking for ways to improve processes to deliver business value faster to market. It could be from refining a policy or implementing checkpoints to control and monitor your tasks.
Kanbanchi can provide the task board visuals, and support the team in its commitment to continuous improvement. Policy adjustments can easily be made and the team can adapt to maintain productivity. Kanbanchi is the tool to use for a positive impact on your organization.