Kanbanara

A Kanban-Based Project Management System

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Kanban Board

  • Developed as a Kanban system from the outset. Its kanban board is not a bolt-on to an existing non-agile PM tool.
  • Supports 57 different kanban board formats.
  • All outstanding cards for a release, regardless of owner, can be seen on the single kanban board.
  • Tabbed dialog kanban board defaults to showing Status tab allowing you to clearly see the latest status for a card.
  • Individual card can be isolated on the kanban board, showing just itself and any children it may possess.

At Kanbanara's heart is its kanban board. This possesses the user-defined states/columns that cards pass through from inception to completion.

Saying Kanbanara has one Kanban board is a little simplistic as in fact the cards that get displayed in the columns can be in one of 57 different formats depending on which aspect of a card you wish to zero in on. The available card formats are Tabbed, Absenteeism, Activity, AffectsVersion, Attachments, Attributes, Avatar, Blockages, Bypass Reviews, Capitals, Children, Class Of Service, Comments, Co-Owner, Co-Reviewer, Cost, Creator, CRM Cases, Customer, Days In State, Deadline, Deferrals, Difficulty, Emotions, Escalation, External Reference, FixVersion, Focus, Hashtags, Identifier, Iteration, Last Changed, Last Touched, New, Owner Unassigned, Questions, Reassignments, Recidivism, Recurring, Release, Reopened, Resolution, Reviewer, Rules, Scope Creep, Search, Severity, Similars, Status, Subteam, Test Cases, Time, Today, Velocity, Votes, Yesterday and Internals.

Releases and Iterations

  • A project can support multiple releases.
  • A release may consist of multiple iterations.

Although Kanban was primarily developed for continuous delivery, Kanbanara has borrowed sprints, implemented as releases and iterations, from scrum.

Cards

  • Cards can be of type Epic, Feature, Story, SubStory, Enhancement, Defect, Task, Test, Bug and Untracked.
  • All cards or just those of a particular type can be shown.
  • Cards can be hierarchically chained together.
  • Context of a card's title retained due to grandparent and parent title also being displayed.
  • Details of a particular card can be reached via unique URL based on card ID (i.e. Kanbanara-12345), thereby allowing a direct link.
  • Attachments can be made to a card.
  • Partial inline editing.

A card placed on the kanban board can be of any one of nine types - epic, feature, story, enhancement, defect, task, test, bug or untracked. Such cards can be chained together with a simple parent-child relationship. Although a parent can have many children, a child can have only one parent.

Placeholder

  • Cards not participating on a particular kanban board are shown as placeholders.

Where a card is missing an attribute so as to fail to display any useful information on a particular kanban board format, the card will still appear but as a placeholder, thereby reminding the team member to not forget about such a card!

Font Size

  • Font size on cards can be altered thereby allowing board to be read from back of room during Standup.

To cope with its use on small screens or at standup, the font size of each card on the kanban board can be changed from minute through normal to huge.

Global Filter

  • Simple navigation via savable global filter.
  • Easy to switch between projects.
  • Easy to switch between previous, current and next release.

In addition to the kanban board itself, Kanbanara has also been developed around a global filter bar that allows you to select what cards actually get displayed on your kanban board, be they for a particular project, team member, release, iteration or card type, to mention just a subset of the available options. Should you see a number above a particular filter setting, this tells you how many cards are being filtered out as a result of this setting.

Metastates

  • Kanbanara supports the addition of user-definable metastates, mapped onto one of the built-in states.

States

  • Kanbanara supports a totally user-definable workflow, allowing you to define states such as Untriaged, Triaged, Backlog, Defined, Analysis, Analysed, Development, Developed, Unit Testing, Unit Testing Accepted, Integration Testing, Integration Testing Accepted, System Testing, System Testing Accepted, Acceptance Testing, Acceptance Testing Accepted, Completed and Closed to your heart's content. Such workflow can be modified later as circumstances change with any displaced cards placed to one side thereby allowing you to drag them to their new column.
  • A step, of which 12 are catered for, may consist of a main, a counterpart and a buffer state.
  • Supports buffer states such as Defined, Analysed, Developed, Unit Testing Accepted, Integration Testing Accepted and System Testing Accepted.
  • A state can be declared as being owner- or reviewer-centric, thereby allowing its behaviour on the kanban board to be switched appropriately.
  • Filter bar allows a subset of the states to be shown allowing you, for example, to hide Backlog and Closed as required.
  • Card can't be moved to a new state if its children forbid it.

Even though you have the full width of the screen at your disposal, the filter bar additionally allows you to select a range of states to be displayed, allowing you, for example, to hide Backlog and Closed as required, thus giving more room to those columns containing cards you are actually interested in.

Should a card be owned by two owners or under review by two reviewers, Kanbanara supports a staggered state where one of the owners or reviewers has moved the card forward in the workflow and is now waiting for the other to follow suit - Such cards will appear in a special waiting section within a kanban board column.

Projects

  • Supports multiple and fully isolated projects.
  • Users only see those projects they are a member of.
  • Only a project manager or deputy project manager can update a project's settings.

Kanbanara is SAAS-ready in supporting fully isolated projects. An individual user can be a team member in any number of projects and they will only ever be able to see those projects which they created or to which they have been invited.

Alternative Visualisations

  • Cards can be viewed as a list as required.

In addition to the Kanban board itself (including projections), your cards can be visualised in a number of ways such as list view, standup, backlog sorter, timeline, activity stream, diary, time sheet, wallboard, release kickoff and retrospective.

Classes Of Service

  • A class of service may be allocated to a card.

Votes

  • Votes may be allocated to any card on the backlog.

Next Action and Deadline

  • Date for next action can be individually set per card. Visual notification/warning will be given when date is approaching or has passed. Such cards can be viewed on mass on the Today or Tomorrow kanban board.
  • Due date for completion (deadline) can be individually set per card. Visual notification/warning will be given when date is approaching or has passed. Such cards can be viewed on mass on the Deadline kanban board.

Next action or deadline dates can be individually assigned to a card. The Today kanban board is particularly useful in isolating those cards requiring your attention today (or indeed yesterday). The Tomorrow kanban board is equally useful in highlighting those cards requiring attention tomorrow and during the next few days. Such cards can also be displayed per day on the Diary page.

Drag and Drop

  • Drag and drop between state columns and priorities fully implemented.

Drag and drop is fully implemented on both the kanban board and the backlog sorter, allowing you to not only drag a card from one state to another, but also changing its priority, and in the case of the backlog sorter, a card's severity also, as required.

Search Facility

  • Search facility and corresponding Search kanban board implemented.

Kanbanara features an extensive search facility that not only allows you to search within a particular card attribute but will also automatically ignore certain filter bar settings to maximise the chances of finding a match. There is even a search-specific kanban board that allows highlighting of the current search phrase, should a match be found, on any card displayed.

Owners and Reviewers

  • Supports Owner and Co-Owner, thereby allowing a card to be owned by the current Service Support person and co-owned by one of your fellow team members.
  • When a card is in, say, the QA/Testing state, its owner will only get a placeholder card to indicate another is reviewing it. The Reviewer role comes to the fore only in a reviewer-centric column such as QA/Testing.

Each card can be assigned up to two owners and up to two reviewers, thereby assisting with either pair programming or pseudo team members such as the current incumbent of the service support liason role.

As all cards will eventually end up in the closed state one way or another, unless of course deleted, the number of cards displayed can be restricted to those cards closed in the last five years right down to those closed within the last hour.

The filter bar makes it easy to switch between releases and/or iterations, be it the previous, current or next one.

Time and Cost

  • Estimated/actual time fully implemented.
  • Estimated/actual cost fully implemented.

Expedite

One card per project can be assigned expedite status, whereupon it will appear in its own expedite swimlane at the very top of your kanban board. Its progress across the board will also be assisted by avoiding going into any buffer columns!

Roles

    The settings for a given project can be restricted by allocating one of four roles - project manager, deputy project manager, team member or guest - to a given team member.

    Work-In-Progress

    • Work-In-Progress (WIP) limits fully implemented.

    Global Work-In-Progress limits can be assigned to a project, easily overridden by personal ones (if allowed by the project) should a user wish. Should your Work-In-Progress limit for a particular state be reached, the system may automatically hold a card in a buffer state until spare capacity allows it to be moved forward. Your personal Work-In-Progress limits can be easily amended via the buttons at the top of each kanban board state column, either being set to a specific value or to unlimited. Should a state's Work-In-Progress limit be reached, a message to that effect will be shown between the cards at the appropriate point.

    Team Members

    • New team members must be invited to join team by existing team members.
    • Ability to see the corresponding kanban board for anyone else on your team.
    • With the ability to add a pseudo user as a Team Member and as an owner of a card, the handover from one real Service Support person to the next will be greatly simplified.
    • Your own avatar can be uploaded.

    Priority and Severity

    • Card can be assigned Critical, High, Medium or Low priority.
    • Card can be assigned Critical, High, Medium or Low severity.
    • Higher priority cards are shown towards the top of each state column.

    Kanbanara supports both priority and severity, each to four levels, thus giving one of sixteen levels of urgency and importance to an individual card ranging from critical-critical, through high and medium, down to low-low.

    The most important cards in any state, those with critical or high priority, are automatically shown towards the top of the kanban board. Within each block grouping cards together of the same priority, such cards are additionally sorted by severity with the critical and high ones again towards the top.

    Reviewer

    • Up to two reviewers can be assigned to a card.
    • Warning given if in reviewer-centric column such as QA/Testing but no reviewer assigned.

    When assigning a reviewer to a card, the reviewer's names are placed in order of least busy to most busy, with a card count after their name, thereby allowing the least busy team member to be more likely chosen. When a card reaches the QA/Testing state, the owner and reviewer effectively switch roles, with the reviewer requested to work on the card and the owner a passive observer. As a reviewer, you can see what work is heading your way as such cards appear as ghost cards - greyed out in the states preceding QA/Testing.

    JSON

      Any card can be viewed in JSON format, not to mention a project itself, your session or your personal filter settings.

      Hidden Cards

        Any card on your kanban board can be hidden for up to seven days into the future. Such cards will then no longer appear on today's kanban board. However, you can project your kanban board upto seven days into the future, whereupon any hidden cards normally visible by that date will reappear.

        Metrics

        • Limited metrics ranging from Cumulative Flow Diagram.
        • Cumulative Flow Diagram implemented showing CFD status for all or individual team member over the last 30 days.

        With regard to metrics, Kanbanara possesses quite a few such charts - Abandoned, Bugs and Defects, Burndown Chart, Completed, Cumulative Flow Diagram, Division of Labour, Emotions, Recidivism Rate, Tags and Throughput.

        Standup

          The Standup page features a cut down version of the kanban board and allows the person in charge to either step through each team member or each significant card in turn. Each card selected is then displayed towards the bottom of the screen, in both kanban board and list view formats, along with its children if any.

          Review Bypass

            Should you wish to use Kanbanara as your personal kanban tool, setting a card's bypassreview attribute allows a card to bypass the reviewer-centric columns (if any).

            Blocked Cards

            • Parent card is automatically blocked by one or more of its children if their states have got out of step.

            A card can be blocked by a team member explicitly setting it as such. To such a block can be additionally added a date upon which the card will be automatically unblocked. A card can also be automatically blocked by its children if the parent and children get out of step as regards their states.

            Deferred Cards

            Should you decide not to work on a particular card for a short while, it can be deferred at any point in your workflow. It will then appear in the Deferred section towards the bottom of the column it is currently in. Its state will be unaffected.

            Stuck

            • Ability to flag up that you are stuck on a particular card. Such card will then appear on others' kanban boards prompting them to come to your aid.

            Should a team member get absolutely stuck with a particular card, a stuck setting can be enabled by entering text describing how they are stuck and what assistance they require, whereupon such a card will appear on everyone else's kanban board in the same project thus allowing help from a colleague in the shortest possible time.

            Wallboard

            • Partial wallboard implemented.

            Absenteeism

              Each team member has the ability to enter the next date range that they will be on holiday, thereby alerting their absence to the owners of cards to which they are a reviewer.

              Categories

              • Allows a user-defined category to be assigned to a card. All cards of one category can be shown on mass on the kanban board via the global filter's Category field.

              External Reference

              • External reference and/or hyperlinks can be individually assigned to a card. Such references can be viewed on mass on the ExtRef Kanban board - Especially useful if selecting Service Support person as team member in the global filter.

              Emotions

              • An emotion can be assigned to a card allowing a Project Manager to view all such emotions on the Emotions kanban board thereby getting a feel for the moral within their team.

              Closure and Resolution

              • The final state in your workflow, whatever its name, takes on the role of the closed state.
              • Resolution (Released, Abandoned, etc.) for a closed card can be separately assigned.
              • Users can limit the number of cards in the closed state that appear simply by setting a time period during which the cards must have been closed.

              Reports

              • Custom reports can be created.
              • Partial Status Report facility implemented.

              Import/Export

              • All data can be viewed and/or exported in JSON format.
              • Partial JIRA CSV import facility implemented.

              Disaster Recovery

              • Database incrementally saved in JSON format as data is added or updated.
              • Database (members, projects and cards) can be fully and identically rebuilt at any time from JSON files.

              Admin

              • Only Admin user can delete and/or rebuild database.

              Underlying Technology

              • Kanbanara is written in Python 3.6.
              • Utilises Python-based CherryPy web server.
              • Uses underlying NoSQL MongoDB database system.