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What Software Developers Need to Know: Kanban Boards in Jira

Development Process, Software Development, Atlassian, Atlassian Tools, Jira, Agile

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Jira is great!!! We all know this. It's packed full of features for teams of all shapes and sizes. I could really go on and on about different views, tricks, apps, and out-of-the-box features that help me get my work done. But perhaps the feature I use the most is my Kanban board. For the less-informed, Kanban is a manufacturing scheduling process created by Taiichi Ohno, who was an industrial engineer at Toyota. Over time, teams of all types have employed his method to become more productive and informed while at work.

Why Do I Love Kanban? 

For starters, Jira makes Kanban boards intuitive and exciting. For myself, I go to our Engineering Kanban board on the daily to see what I have going on. Obviously, the top-level philosophy of Kanban is to break down a large set of tasks into a few categories:

  • Backlog
  • To-Do
  • Ongoing
  • Done

I can quickly get a view of what I have going on.

But...it's so much more than that! All of my cards are directly linked to a Jira issue. So let's say, for example, that I need to find some documentation on where to start on an issue. Well, I can click right on the issue's card, and--more often than not--someone on the engineering team has left some documentation for me that is online, or better yet lives in our own Confluence instance. 

This is all just for planning and tracking. What about reporting on how things are going? Well, Jira has you covered there, too. I can easily add comments to an issue, and all team members associated with that issue will be notified and quickly answer any questions or concerns. During our weekly engineering meetings, my team members will pull up our Kanban board so we can talk about how the previous week went and discuss the ways we are going to tackle the next week.

The most satisfying thing about Kanban boards for me is dragging an issue card to the status "Done." It gives a visual representation of a job being completed, which feels fantastic. And the nice thing is, once one task is done, there is often another that I can hop to in the "To-Do" section, or even possibly in "Backlog." 

I spend a large part of my days working on very technical and challenging problems. But my Kanban board is refreshing because it is so simple. That's the beauty of it. The simplicity is quite possibly why it's so widely used. Personally, this is why it's my favorite feature of Jira.

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TAGS: Development Process, Software Development, Atlassian, Atlassian Tools, Jira, Agile

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