What are Planning, Task and Kanban boards?

When you have set up your planning folders and teams, you have four views available to work with them: List, Plan, Track and Kanban.

TeamForge user roles and permissions that are in place for planning folders apply to all the four views.

Planning Board

The Planning Board is an important tool for your TeamForge project's Agile planning activities. It enables you to plan and monitor the features that are required in each sprint (or iteration), and assign them from the product backlog to specific sprints. The planning board view complements the list view. While the latter offers you capabilities to accomplish various actions such as create, edit, and delete artifacts, planning folders and teams, the former offers product owners (or similar users) the ability to view, rank and move artifacts across the three planning folders (swimlanes) in a physical board-like user interface. In the Planning Board, planning folders are represented as swimlanes. In each swimlane, the tracker artifacts for the selected planning folders are represented as cards. You can also have a team's view of artifacts (backlogs and tasks), which is a swimlane representation of artifact cards for the selected team in the selected planning folder.

Task Board

The Task Board is an important tool in the Agile process. It helps the team to focus on the work at hand in the current sprint and feed progress data back into the system. Unlike the list view and planning board view, which can be used for agile project planning, the task board view is for tracking tasks in a sprint. TeamForge project administrators can configure the Task Board. Once that's done, projects members can use the Task Board to break down the stories into tasks and then progress the tasks, and the story, towards completion.

The Task Board can have at least two and up to seven swimlanes depending on how your project administrator configures it. Every swimlane in the Task Board represents a task status. Once configured, team members can use the Task Board to view tasks in a selected planning folder or filter tasks for a specific team within the selected planning folder, add new tasks for a backlog item (epic, story, etc) and move tasks from one swimlane to the other as tasks progress from one status to the other.

Kanban Board

The Kanban Board is an agile project management tool, which gives you a snapshot of the statuses of work items within a planning folder, how your project teams are placed in terms of work distribution and directs you to re-distribute the tasks to ensure optimal resource utilization.

Kanban Board uses the kanban method for project implementation. Kanban is built on two basic concepts: value stream mapping and WIP (work-in-progress) limits.
  • Value stream map: A value stream, as defined in the APICS (American Production and Inventory Control Society) dictionary, comprises "the processes of creating, producing, and delivering a good or service to the market". In software development, a value stream map is an end-to-end mapping of the flow of activities (tasks/work items) from one state to another, starting from conceptualization to delivering the product to the customer.
  • WIP limits: These are constraints (minimum and maximum) applied on each point or state (Planning, In Progress, etc.,) in the value stream to ensure optimal WIP. This defines the minimum and maximum artifact count that ought to be present in each state so that if these constraints are violated, Kanban Board flags the issue for you to fix the bottleneck.

    For example, let us assume that you want to view the status of the work items for a planning folder called 'Iteration 1' and assess the distribution of work between teams, Team A and Team B within this planning folder. You want to see a maximum of 8 artifacts in the 'In Progress' state and you configure your Kanban Board accordingly. When you go to your Kanban Board and view the artifacts for the selected planning folder, you see a constraint violation because there are 14 artifacts in this status. In addition, when you see the work split-up between the teams, Team A has 14 artifacts whereas Team B has none. This is clearly an indication that not only is the overall count of artifacts more than the maximum constraint, but even between the teams, Team A is overloaded and Team B is underutilized; this calls for re-distribution of work items to avoid any delay in the development process.

You can configure the Kanban Board based on your project activities and you can configure as many boards as you require.

List, Plan, Track and Kanban views

You can click the LIST, PLAN, TRACK and KANBAN buttons to toggle between these views.

When you make a planning folder or team selection in the respective list view, (either from the planning folder/team tree or through the Jump to ID box), the selection is retained when you move to the task board or kanban board view. Similarly, when you select a planning folder or team in the task board or kanban board view, the selection is retained as well when you move to the list view. These selections are retained across browser sessions as well.
Note: An exception to this case is when you select the root planning folder or team ('Project Teams') in the list view, this selection is not retained when you move to the task or kanban board view; instead, the selection of a specific planning folder or team you had made prior to this one is retained.

In the Planning Board, multiple planning folder and team selections are retained when you navigate to other pages in TeamForge and return to your planning board.