How to monitor project details on a Jira Kanban board


27 August 2019 • 13 min read

    One of the most popular project management tools on the market, Jira helps teams achieve their goals, boost productivity, and enhance collaboration with a rich array of tools. One of them is the Kanban board. This board helps teams following the Kanban agile methodology that promotes continuous delivery work. 

    For Kanban teams, it makes more sense not to plan iterations but still ensure the steady flow of work and make sure that the team is always working on the right tasks. Kanban boards come in handy to teams that focus on managing and constraining work in progress to deliver the best results possible. 

    In this article, I will show you how to monitor project details on that your Kanban board easily and make the most of Jira for your team.

    Kanban boards – here’s how they work

    A Kanban board is an agile project management tool that helps teams to visualize work, maximize efficiency, and limit work in progress (WIP). Kanban boards are made of cards and columns to ensure continuous improvement and help teams commit to the right amount of work – and then get it done. 

    If your team works in technology or services, work may often be invisible or intangible. A Kanban board helps to make all the tasks visible to all the project stakeholders and keep everyone on the same page.

    A team following the Kanban method will add all of the work items to the board as cards, usually defining one task per card. For sample, agile teams can use a card to add a user story. Once all the cards are displayed on the board, they help team members and project stakeholders to quickly understand what the team is working on right now and what the next tasks in line are. 

    Another important element of Kanban boards is columns. Each column represents a status that together compose the workflow. The idea here is keeping the cards flowing through the workflow until their completion. One of the simplest examples of a workflow are three columns titled “To do,” “In progress,” and “Done.” 

    The greatest advantage of the Kanban method is setting the work in progress (WIP) limits. Using Jira Software, you can limit the maximum number of cards that can be in one column at a given time. For example, if you set the WIP limit to 3, it means that a given column can’t have more than three cards in it. If that column is maxed out, the team needs to work on the cards and move them forward before moving new parts into that workflow stage. 

    These limits are essential for showing bottlenecks in your workflow and maximizing the process of your team. Also, work in progress limits may serve as early warning signs if your team commits to too much work than it can deliver. 

    Create and configure your board

    Before implementing a Kanban board for your team, you need to consider the columns that will be part of your board. When doing that, remember to assign a specific function to each state represented by the column in your development process. Examples of such functions are “In progress,” “Testing,” “Under review,” or “Awaiting merge.” 

    Then it’s essential that you also configure the appropriate constraints for these columns. Remember that different functionalities on the Kanban boards will require different permissions. For example, only the project administrator for the project that a given version belongs to can create a new version. Setting the right permissions on your board is critical to ensuring full control of the project board.

    Key things you need to know about Jira Kanban boards

    Here are some key facts about Kanban boards and Jira that will help you take full advantage of this incredibly productive strategy for your team. 

    Remember that an issue will only be visible on your board if it’s not a subtask, it matches the board’s saved filter, or the issue’s status maps to one of the board’s columns (but not the Done column). 

    Also, if there’s at least a status mapped to the rightmost column – for instance, if you have the following columns on your board: “Selected for development,” “In progress,” and “Done,” you need to make sure that you have a status mapped at least to the “In progress” status. If you map all your statuses to the first column, “Selected for development,” you won’t be able to see any of your issues on the company board. 

    Now that you know the basics of how Kanban boards work in Jira, it’s time to create your own board. Go to your Kanban project and, in the project menu, click on board – this is where you will see your company board.

    Here’s how your team can use a Kanban board

    Add new issues to your Kanban board

    By clicking the plus sign button on your sidebar ,you can create a new issue. Make sure to fill in all the issue details and then click “Create.” That issue will be added to the bottom of your Kanban board. If you check the “Create another” box in the create screen, you can keep it open in case you’re creating multiple issues at the same time.

    View and edit issue details 

    To open the issue detail view and edit details, select an issue and then right-click on the issue key. That’s how you will open that issue in a separate tab. To view all the details of an epic issue, you need to click the epic lozenge on the issue itself.

    Prioritize the Kanban board 

    You can prioritize an issue by dragging and dropping it within the column. That’s how you will rank it. Another way to do that is by right-clicking the issue to open a menu that allows sending it to the top or bottom of your column.

    Create issues subtasks

    To create a subtask, select an issue and click the square with a checkmark on it. Subtasks come in handy for breaking an issue into smaller chunks that can be implemented by your team in a linear fashion or serve as dependencies. 

    Release issues

    To release completed issues all it takes is clicking “Release.” When you do that, these issues will no longer be part of your Kanban column. Also, Jira creates a release which you can view in the releases tab of your project.

    Key takeaway

    Monitoring project details on a Kanban board is easy if you know how to make the most of it in Jira. Your team will have full transparency of the project and be aware of which team member is responsible for which tasks. That way, organizing teamwork and managing the project will be much easier. Jira’s Kanban functionalities offer a wealth of features that bring tangible value to any team that wants to boost its productivity. 

    Do you have any questions about how Kanban works in Jira? Get in touch with our consultants; we help companies take full advantage of Jira’s capabilities for implementing agile methodologies.

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