Kanban Blog

6 months ago

New Feature: Continuous Team Workflows for teams collaborating in sequence

At Targetprocess, we strongly believe that your project management tool should adapt and grow together with your company; it should be easy to adjust the tool’s configuration to fit your current process, and to update it later when your company process is changed. That is why we try hard to enable you to follow your target process.

Previously we introduced the Team Workflow feature which allows teams to create and use their custom workflows for all the entities in Targetprocess which do not affect other teams. However, there are many other possible scenarios for organizing the collaboration of multiple teams in your company. For example, several teams might need to work on the same entity. Until now, they used different workarounds for this purpose: they might have created duplicate entities or used relations to link several teams to one item.

We are proud to announce our new feature: Workflow Management for Functional Teams.

The new functionality will be interesting for companies who have teams working sequentially. Accounting, Marketing, Designers, Development are examples of such teams. They are often called functional teams.

From now on, several teams can work on the same item - e.g. a feature or a user story - one after another. So, the final state of the item in the workflow of one team is its first state in the workflow for another team.

For example, you might have Analysts, Development and Delivery teams working sequentially on a user story in a project:Functional Teams

The work is started by the Analysts. When the Analysts move a user story to the state which is final for their team, the Development team takes the responsibility for it.

The “Done” state of the Analyst team’s workflow is mapped to the initial state of the Development team workflow. This enables passing a work item from one team to another automatically. Below here is an example of the team workflows setup:

Team Workflow Sequential case

When we open a user story assigned to the Analyst, Development and DevOps teams we will see these teams’ states under the corresponding project states:

Team States Selector

Any team can create their own view by choosing the Team State for the vertical lanes in order to see this team’s part of work only.

When the Analytics team moves a user story to the "Done" team state, it automatically goes to the Development’s "Open" team state (as they are mapped to the same project state) and disappears from the Analysts’ Kanban board:

Functional done states

For more use cases and FAQ, please visit https://www.targetprocess.com/guide/settings/states-workflows/multiple-teams-use-cases/ or contact our Support team.

By default, the new functionality is enabled:

  • for all new Targetprocess accounts created after January 19, 2016
  • for all the existing accounts where at least one Team Workflow has already been set up

If you would like to check out this functionality for your teams, don’t hesitate to email support@targetprocess.com with a request to enable this feature for your account.

We’d love for you to try it and let us know what you think!

11 months ago

Agile Software Development Process: 90 Months of Evolution

Three years ago I wrote an article that describes the changes in our Agile software development processes from 2008 to 2012. Three more years have passed by and our processes were not set in stone. Here I want to provide you with 90 months of changes in our product development practices, company culture, structure and engineering practices. Hope you will find it interesting and learn from our mistakes.

Read the article: Agile Software Development Process: 90 Months of Evolution

Teams structure evolution

1 year ago

Visual Encoding

Custom Rules

You can highlight cards on the Views using your own rules. It works for all View zoom levels except the smallest level.

Visual Encoding tab looks like this:

visualEncodingSetup_1

To specify rules use the same syntax as for Filters.

If you have several rules applicable to the card, it will be highlighted with the color of the first applicable rule. For example, you have two filters: ?Tags.Contains('Urgent') and ?Iteration is Current.

visualEncodingRules

In this case, cards that contain Tag “Urgent” and are in the current Iterations will be colored with the red color because the Tag rule is set before the Iteration rule.

You can also prioritize rules via drag-n-drop to determine the rules' order of importance.

Examples

You can specify different color saturation to highlight cards by property in order of importance. For example, you can use the following rules for Business Value. The greater the Importance, the more saturated color will be applied.

VisualEncodingSample1

You can also use color saturation to highlight some intervals of property. For example, for Effort property you can use the following set of rules. And it shows which Feature has User Stories with greater Effort.

VisualEncodingSample2

Another use case is highlighting by Tags:

VisualEncodingSample3

You can highlight cards that have too long of a Cycle Time:

VisualEncodingSample4

People who work a lot, have more than 10 items and have Allocation greater than 100%:

VisualEncodingSample5

User Stories with a few Bugs and with a lot of Bugs:

VisualEncodingSample6

You can highlight a specific card by Name or by Id:

VisualEncodingSample7

Highlight Requests by Email and Phone source types:

VisualEncodingSample8_1

And, of course, you can mix all the rules:

VisualEncodingSample9_1

It also works at Timelines:

VisualEncodingSample11_2

And it works for Lists (only on the cards level, not hierarchy levels yet):

VisualEncodingSample10_2

 

Some theory about Visual Encoding.

(Multicolor support is available since 3.7.0)

2 years ago

How It Works: Kanban+Timeline

If you're using Kanban board as a process tool in software development, you must know that Kanban is mainly about letting the work flow through the production states.

Pull some work from backlog, get it through the pipeline and on it goes.

Kanban is great, but it desperately lacks one thing which matters a lot in this world plagued by time constraints. This thing is called a sense of time. If a team does some cross-project work, as they pull smaller items from a support requests backlog, they will likely want to be informed not only of a current state of a work item. They will want to know when it is safe to assume that this work item will be done, or passed over to another department, etc. Trying a workaround to include this sense of time to a physical Kanban board on a wall might be a cumbersome task. Take a look:

Kanban with time

This board has a mention of a milestone, Nov 9. The stickers are to-do items. This workaround just informs of a fixed milestone, and doesn't take the production dynamics into account. There's no way to give a forecast from this board, if the team will complete whatever their work is by November 9, judging by the pace with which they progress. Not to mention that there's no way to see at which pace are they progressing. There are some Kanban reports that can help predict that, but they will not be available in a whiteboard, obviously. This might work for this team, but some other hypothetical team will want their Kanban board tailored to their time-sensitive objectives in a different way. And they would need to sweat and invent specific workarounds, if they need more than just a date written on a board.

We've always wanted to help our brothers sweat less at work :) .. and we've been well aware of this need, that timelines should be somehow intertwined with Kanban boards. The project management tool that we develop supports Kanban along with other dev processes, and our on-going goal is to make the tool still more convenient. That's why we've implemented timelines that can now be used in combination with a digital Kanban board.  We used to have a paper timeline on the wall, too, but this visual roadmap is more of a thing that creates the spirit of common purpose, than a hands-on tool. The Kanban+timelines combination can be used to see how teams are doing with their work, and in what time they expect to complete it. That's how this Kanban+timeline board might look (click to enlarge):

Timelines tracking for many projects

There are two projects on this board, and there's a backlog for each of them. Alternatively, there can be a shared backlog (our tool supports that as well). What goes next are work items laid over a stretch of time. Where the strips end is the current forecast for "Done".  The timeline can accompany the traditional Open-In Progress states on a Kanban board as well, if that's what someone needs. Again, no sweat here, one can quickly set up a custom timeline+Kanban combination in our tool.

Having a timeline available as another option on top, or instead of a Kanban board, helps make sense of what's going on with the projects in less time, pun intended. Besides, timelines keep the sense of time always present with a team (which they might be missing if they only look at a plain Kanban board). It surely is less hassle to maintain the digital Kanban+timeline board, and any stakeholder who is not immediately involved with the team's work will quickly get an idea of what's going on with the projects. There's no limit to this digital timeline, and as to how it can be fit into a screen. Just make sure your screen is big enough for it :) For smaller screens, the scroller — at the bottom right on the screen above — will navigate you through unlimited sands of time.

It looks to me that adding a timeline to Kanban board is more of a burning need, than a luxury. If you want to try timelines combined with the Kanban board, click on the circle on the right.

Related articles:

Visual Management Software

How Timelines Help Project Managers Track Progress

How Visualize: Board, List or Timeline?

Take 5 Visual Reports for Kanban

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