1. Introduction to The Workflow Designer
An essential part of adopting the Kanban method is to map your unique workflow to the Kanban board. To do that you need to edit the initial board which only consists of three columns and visualize your "step-by-step" process. You can edit every board in your account. You need to be either an Account Owner or a Workspace Manager to change the design of your boards.
The configuration panel for each board is available in the “Edit Workflow” view.
Using the Workflow Designer, you can customize both the INITIATIVES workflow and the CARDS workflow by adding new columns, sub-columns, and swimlanes. With the Workflow Designer, users can fully customize the board workflow horizontally and vertically by merging columns and lanes to the specific needs of each team. Moreover, there are plenty of settings you control from that page.
In addition, you can:
(1) - Save each change you've made via the Save button.
- Undo or Redo any of the latest changes you have performed using the respective dropdown lists. The keyboard shortcuts are: CTRL + Z (undo) and CTRL +Y (redo).
- Discard changes via the respective buttons. If you discard the changes they will be lost permanently. You will not be able to apply them again using the "Redo" button.
(2) Create a new Workflow - This will take you to a window in which you can choose which type of Workflow you want to create:
- More than one Initiatives Workflow
- Add a Timeline Workflow to visualize your Initiatives in a linear calendar view
- Add Multiple team workflows (Create new Cards Workflow)
- Copy an Existing Workflow (from different board)
(3) Rename your Board
(4) Define the type of card sizes for the cards in the respective board. Select any of the following options: T-shirt sizes; Fibonacci sequence; No pattern.
(5) Control the "Work in Progress limit" system behavior for the board: allow or deny exceeding the limits.
(6)In the Limit type, you can choose if the WIP limit will be based on the number of cards in a given stage or on the basis of their size.
(7) This setting is valid if you apply a custom card ID on your cards. Using this setting, you define if the card custom ID you enter is a:
- Unique value - the system does not allow you to enter a custom ID that already exists.
If you duplicate the IDs, you will get an Error message, which informs you to use a different value.
- Repeating value - you can use the same custom Card ID in multiple cards, without any system restrictions. This supports the clustering of items based on their classifications.
By default, the Custom Card ID configuration option is set for repeating values.
* Open the image in a new tab for a closer view.
The board "dissection" below shows the settings and board elements that you can configure from the edit page of the selected Board.
2. How to customize your Board Workflows?
Using the Workflow Designer, you can customize, enable and disable the different types of Workflows.
The CARDS WORKFLOW
You can customize the CARDS WORKFLOW to reflect the working process of your teams.
The Cards Workflow has the following configuration options:
1. Configure Cycle time - each workflow has a separate Cycle time panel.
Customize the CARDS WORKFLOW to create new columns and lanes
Create new COLUMNS
- Hovering on the top cells (Backlog/Requested/In Progress/Done), the three-plus buttons appear to the left, right, and bottom of the box. You can create multiple complex column structures within your lane that allow you to customize any board to any process.
You can name columns anything you like just click on the title and it instantly turns into an editable text box. Similarly, you can easily set up the limit and the number of cards per row.
Important: Don't forget to save the changes you made -> click the Save button located at the upper right corner of the screen.
Note: You can divide cells into sub-column structures for even more refined visualization.
Every new column that you create has the following settings:
(1) Use the pallet icon to change the background color of the column.
(2) Use the drag & drop column to changes its position across the Kanban sections.
(3) Use the gear icon* to edit column details - please, check the detailed description of the gear icon capabilities below.
(4) Configure SLE
(5) Use the trash icon to delete the column
* The Gear icon capabilities (3)
From the gear icon, users can do the following actions:
- Column name - name the column as it will appear on the board.
- Column Limit - set up the column limit to define the total number of cards allowed in the column.
- Cards Per Row - define how many cards will be displayed horizontally in the column. The default number is 1.
- Column description - type instructions for your team regarding the intended usage of this column.
a) The description will open up from the Column Policies window when any of the users click on the information icon next to the column header. This makes it easier to work on boards, where you are not familiar with the process.
b) If you move cards using the Position Control View in Card Details, just hover on any of the stages to read the description.
- Use the Gear icon to select the type of column: Activity or Queue. This helps project managers to track the process efficiency.
- Activity column: All columns where cards are being worked on should be marked as ACTIVITY. E.g. "Development" is an activity column; "Verification" is an activity column.
- Queue column: All columns where cards are waiting to be processed should be marked as QUEUE. E.g. "Ready for Verification" is a queue column; "To be Approved" is a queue column. All columns defined as "queue" are marked yellow at the upper right corner. Hovering over it produces a tooltip reminding the team members that cards should not stay too long in this column i.e. must be processed faster to the next stage in order to decrease the non-value adding the time of delivering an item.
Create new SWIMLANES
The swimlanes in the Cards workflows separate different types of work activities and classes of service. You may have as many swimlanes as you want in order to organize your tasks. To create a new swimlane, hover on the New Swimlane cell and click the plus icon.
Important: The system allows you to add more than one Cards Workflows.
- To create a multilayer board structure, click the "Create New Workflow" button at the top left corner of the page and select Cards workflow.
The INITIATIVE WORKFLOW
Similarly, you can customize the INITIATIVES WORKFLOW in accordance with your use-case scenario.
The Initiatives Workflow has the following configuration options:
1. Built-in rules - allows more fine-grained control over the Initiatives' behavior in the respective workflow. You have full control to configure the automated movement of Initiatives in accordance with your use cases and preferences.
2. Configure Cycle time - each workflow has a separate Cycle time panel.
Important: The system allows you to add more than one Initiatives Workflows.
3. Flexible customization of your workflows
You can merge cells across lanes/columns to fuse work process stages and classes of work.
Click the merge icon and use the rectangle tool to draw out the cells you want to merge/unmerge in the section. Use the corner cursor to drag diagonally across nearby columns and lanes. Use the side arrow in order to merge vertically aligned cells.
Use the downward arrow to merge cells horizontally. Arrows highlighted in grey indicate that merging is blocked in the respective direction.
You can only merge columns from the same section (Backlog section only, Requested section only; In Progress section only, Done section only;). You cannot merge columns across different sections.
When you merge two adjacent columns, the system prompts you to select a primary column (1), which will reflect the state of the cards in the merged cells in terms of board positioning.
Select the primary column from the dropdown list and take into consideration that the WIP limit that is set for the primary column will dominate.
Each cell in the board has a cell limit (2) that is set up by the Account Owner/Workspace Manager.
Cell limit is the total number of cards allowed in the cell. Whether the limit can be exceeded or not is controlled by the board setting "Allow exceeding the limits", which is available on the top side of the board layout.
There are a few ways to set up a cell limit:
- Use the "Cell Limit" field that automatically appears when merging cells and input the limit for the merged cells.
- Click on the "limit" icon at the top of each cell to turn it into an editable text box and input the number.
- use the gear icon that appears when you click on the cell itself and fill in the number in the cell properties panel
4. Delete an existing column or a swimlane
Very often the workflow changes as columns are added or deleted and this impacts the cycle time of the cards that go through affected stages.
When deleting a column, the system first prompts you to choose where you want to move the cards to (1). You have to select any of the columns in your flow, which you consider appropriate.
To avoid losing the cycle time data associated with the column you deleted, select where you want to move it to (2). Choosing any of the available columns, for example, "In progress" might lead to further confusion, because the cycle time data from the two columns will be summed up.
However, if you select "Discard the data", the card cycle time for the deleted column will be stored in a separate section in the Metrics tab (check p.5 of the dedicated article).
Note: Metrics data by column is lost when a swimlane is deleted. Only the metrics about the time the card has spent in the swimlane is recorded.