Kanban Tasks

In the previous entry, I wrote about the task board in Kanban. Now I will add some words about tasks and task cards.

Kanban tasks are specified by means of a card. Many people prefer cards on a physical board. Others like electronic boards. Both processes are good.

What matters here is the content of the card.

Kanban tasks are cards, which should include:

  • New tasks
  • Task description
  • ID from electronic systems (e.g.: JIRA)
  • Deadline
  • Who works on the task
  • Task type.

Obviously, these are sample attributes. The team should determine itself what attributes it needs.

Sample kanban card:

It is worth adding a tag on the board, e.g. error. Tags help us differentiate standard tasks from tasks resulting from a service error. Such an additional description will allow for the determination of the task status and for taking up a discussion on the subsequent procedures.

Basically, the card should facilitate taking a decision and show a task type. A task must be fulfilled by a team whose result is the change in the position of the task on the board. This is important because when one task does not move, it is necessary to find the underlying causes.

A task should have a short name and a short description. This description, which is the content of the task, is one or more statements. I prefer one statement. A user’s story is perfect for a single statement task.

Task descriptions must be practical, concrete, understandable and possible verify. This is important so that during tests and also other activities it is possible to determine clearly whether the task was completed. It will also aid the testing process.

As I have already mentioned, deadlines are also important. A deadline on the card may specify an anticipated date of completion.  In order to determine clearly when the work must be completed, a deadline must be written directly on the task card. It must be noticeable for the team members. There must be a deadline for the unconditional completion of the task.  It is worth specifying whether such a deadline is for the completion of a stage or the entire process.

The fulfilment of tasks from Kanban does not mean that there will be no problems at all. Sometimes tasks must be stopped.  In such a case, a task must be underlined and it must be clearly communicated that it is blocked. You will have a reason for focusing on the blockade (e.g. in the daily meeting). A reason for withholding a task should be also provided. It will facilitate the talks concerning the elimination of the blockade. Apart from such information, it is good to provide a progress indicator on the card, which will inform about the progress of the task. This indicator and task transferring between columns makes up the task flow. One of the progress indicators may be the date of the column change. Owing to this information it will be easier in the future to estimate the statistical time for task fulfilment.

Basically, everyday work consists in shifting cards representing orders so that their localisation reflects (visualises) the current status of the order. Although the workflow should go from left to right some cards may be withdrawn to one of the previous process steps (e.g. from software to analysis), if needed.

The board must also present the limits of work in progress at each active stage (apart from buffers and queues). I will discuss the partial work and limits in the next part of this cycle.

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