These whiteboards with handdrawn swimlanes and lots of apparently randomly placed sticky notes are present nowadays in most developers’ offices.
Kanban (Japanese for “signboard”) is however not just a visualization strategy. It originated as a method for production planning, first used at Toyota, and its ideas were adopted for software development 15 years ago. A Kanban board visualizes the workflow of tasks, described on Post-it notes. Each column of the board represents a state of the development process, typically backlog, analysis, development and testing, or some variations of these. Each column can have a work in progress limit: there is a maximum number of tasks that can be in this state. For example, the testing phase might have a limit of 5. Once this column is full, the developers need to help with testing before proceeding with development. In this way, the method helps to balance demands with available capacity, and to identify and handle bottlenecks.
The EriZone Kanban board, developed with a partner company, provides a simple yet effective visualization of tickets in different states. The visualized states and their order can be defined individually for each queue, together with a “work in progress limit”. Using drag-and-drop, cards can be moved between the states.
Each card visualizes a ticket with its title, number, customer, owner, and assignee. The cards can be prioritized easily by clicking on up/down arrows and are always shown ordered by priority, from highest(red) to lowest(blue). With one click you can also visualize the ticket, or open a dialog, such as “additional fields” or “priority and service”. SLA escalation information for open tickets is shown prominently in colored boxes, and the pending time is shown for pending tickets.
The Kanban board can be purchased as a paid add-on, and can be installed starting with EriZone 5.7.