Manage daily tasks successfully with Kanban in Backlog

Kanban-style boards in Backlog is a handy feature to help you visualize and organize your team’s work. But, do you know what type of work is Kanban most suited for? Well, read on for the answer  (hint: it’s also in our title), and we’ll share recommendations for using Backlog boards and Kanban to manage tasks successfully.

Wait, what is Kanban?

In case you’re not familiar, Kanban is an Agile project management approach for organizing work, and its best known and defining trait is the Kanban board.

Kanban board templates from Cacoo diagramming tool.

The Kanban board provides a visual representation of work tasks and their statuses. Generally, the statuses are ‘To Do,’ ‘In Progress,’ and ‘Done.’ However, you can also add additional statuses (or stages) like ‘In Review’ or ‘Testing,’ based on the team’s workflow.

Similar to Scrum, Kanban relies on a ‘pull’ method of working. Each task (represented by a card) is pulled from the ‘To Do’ column to be worked on, and its status is updated by progressing the card through the columns until it’s ‘Done.’ This process is repeated for all tasks/cards.

The Kanban board is useful for keeping everyone updated about pending tasks, work progress, and if there are any bottlenecks — indicated by overcrowding of cards at a particular stage. If you find this to be a problem, your team members can regroup to help resolve the issue.

In a nutshell, that’s Kanban. If you’d like to learn more, check out these useful articles:

Project work vs. operational work

Let’s discuss the kind of work that’s best suited for the Kanban method. In general, we can classify work into two types: project work and operational work. 

Project work refers to project-related work like building a new software application or new features. This work should take place within a time period that has been set aside, usually at least a few months. For this type of work, the Scrum method of working in sprints on the product backlog is usually the better approach.

On the other hand, operational work refers to tasks like answering technical inquiries from users, troubleshooting bugs, or supporting requests from other departments. The work may also involve programming or development, but it occurs on a smaller scale compared to building a new feature. This kind of work occurs ad hoc in everyday operations and may even be handled by a rotating team.

Operational tasks usually change from day to day and their time involvement is relatively unpredictable compared to project work. For example, a developer may have to troubleshoot several bugs within one day but may have no bugs to deal with the next day. Thus, it may be impractical to schedule operational work on a sprint basis. For such tasks, the Kanban method will be best because it offers more flexibility for members to work.

Tips for using Kanban in Backlog

Backlog’s Kanban board is intuitive to use and efficient for managing operational tasks. To help you further, here are some tips for using Kanban in Backlog:

Organize and prioritize work issues as they come in

Because there are a lot of different operational work issues coming in daily, it’s advisable to classify and organize them accordingly. Ask yourself some questions: Is it a task? A bug? A request? How urgent

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