Are you a first-timer with Kanbanize? This guide will assist you to get started quickly in just 7 steps.
STEP 1: Set up your Dashboard
The Dashboard is the entry point of your account. This is the place where all your Workspaces and boards are located.
*Open the image in a new tab to get a closer view.
1. The Workspace (1) is represented by a blue or green ribbon on the left side of the window.
Think of a Workspace as the environment that collects the Boards of different departments in your organization. To create a new Workspace-> click the Retractable menu (4) -> select "Add Workspace".
There are two types of Workspaces: the Тeam Workspace and the Management Workspace.
Each Workspace has its own settings -> just click on the three dots icon that belongs to the right of the Workspace ribbon.
2. The Kanban board (2) is the tool for mapping and visualizing each step of your process in the flow.
To create a board use the "Add Board" icon to the right of the Workspace name. There is no limit for the number of boards you can create under a Workspace.
3. The right side of the Dashboard is designed to visualize widgets (3). They provide summarized information from your account directly on your dashboard, so you don't have to navigate to different screens to track your most important metrics or cards. Each user can create their own widgets.
Examples for predefined widgets are: "Cards Assigned to me"; "Boards Flow Metrics" and many others.
4. The Retractable Menu (4) gives access to the following functionalities:
- View Reports - generate Timesheet reports to track the logged time spent on each task or a group of tasks.
- Add Workspace - use it to create a new Workspace on your Dashboard.
- Add Widget - add a predefined or custom widget.
- Add Background - add a background or color your dashboard.
- Manage Workspace Templates - save your Workspace and Boards as Workspace templates. Re-use and apply them to the same account or external account associated with your email address registered in Kanbanize.
STEP 2: Design and Manage your Board
The initial Kanban board view has three main columns: "Requested"(To Do), "In Progress" and "Done" to illustrate where each task is on the workflow. Use the "Backlog" to store cards for future implementation. To keep your board clean, don't forget to archive cards.
The horizontal swimlanes are used to differentiate the type of work (design, bugs, technical debt, etc.).
Each board is editable and you can adjust it to any process and team. To visualize the steps of your process flow, use the workflow designer via the "Edit Workflow" icon that is available on every board.
To learn more about the Kanban concept, please check the dedicated article.
Note: By default, your Kanban Board consists of Initiatives Workflow and Cards Workflow.
You can set the board to display either flow or both.
(1) The Initiatives Workflow is the home of automated portfolio lanes, designed for Senior team members/Project managers to easily track the progress of bigger tasks or projects. The work items in this workflow are called Initiatives. The Initiative represents a Project/Feature/Epic, etc., that you have to break down into smaller work items that get created (child cards) on the Card workflow. This way you visualize the complex work and all its components on separate workflows.
How does it work? When all child cards linked to the Initiative are moved to "Done", the whole Initiative will automatically move to "Done". For more information, please watch the short video.
(2) The Cards Workflow is where all of the Kanban cards that your team works on living.
Mapping your team process helps you implementing a pull system and limiting the Work In Progress (WIP).
The Kanban card is a representation of a work item. It carries information and details about the task itself, e.g. who is responsible for the task, title, description, task priority, deadline, relevant attachments, etc. There are many ways to create cards in Kanbanize.
Important: Adding the Timeline Workflow at the top of your board allows you to visualize your past, present, and future Initiatives in a linear calendar view. In this way, you can see all planned Initiatives in a roadmap style layout that you can set to display by Days/Months/Weeks/Quarters/Tertiels/Years on an uninterrupted timeline. You can add the Timeline from the Edit Workflow mode of the respective board. To learn more about the Timeline Workflow concept, please, check the dedicated article.
*Open the image in a new tab for a better view.
STEP 3: Design your Cards
You can use the default card fields/properties to input details about the respective tasks such as deadline, size, assignee, etc. The system allows you to design your card and add extra card fields (custom fields) to match your needs. Moreover, you can create card types, templates, tags, blockers & stickers to streamline your process management.
- Custom Fields - to learn how to create and manage custom fields check the following dedicated articles:
- manage custom fields from the Board
- manage custom fields from the Workspace and Board settings
- Card Templates - users apply them to the Kanban cards in order to quickly create complex card structures with predefined properties (card fields) and subtasks. To learn how to create card templates, check this article.
- Card Types - custom card types to categorize different types of work in your process e.g. "Defect", "Customer Request", "Meeting", etc. To learn how to create and apply card types, follow this link.
- Card Tags - adding tags help users to group together cards and make information visible at first sight. Learn how to create and manage tags here.
- Card Tokens - The card tokens allow you to block cards or additionally mark them with a certain label for categorization. There are two types of tokens: Blockers and Stickers. Learn how to create tokens for your team here.
STEP 4: Configure your Cycle time and analyze your Kanban metrics
The Cycle time is configured per board and it helps senior team members and Project managers to further analyze their processes and team performance. By definition "Cycle time begins at the moment when the new task enters “in progress” stage and somebody is actually working on it until it's ready for delivery". To learn more about lead time and cycle time, please check the following Kanban resource.
To configure your Cycle time → click the “Edit Workflow” icon of the respective Board.
Both the INITIATIVES WORKFLOW and the CARDS WORKFLOW may have separate cycle time configuration (img.1).
Note: In case that your Board consists of multiple Team Workflows, each workflow may have a separate cycle time setup too.
There are various metrics that teams use to measure performance and process efficiency. Kanbanize collects historical data for your workflow automatically. Other important metrics that you can track apart from cycle time are as follows:
- Logged time indicates the pure time spend on a certain task. Users log time manually against each task or a subtask.
- Blocked time shows how long a card has been blocked, respectively how much time it takes for a blocker to get resolved.
STEP 5 - Kanbanize Analytics
You will get the most of your Kanban software with the analytics module that helps you identify bottlenecks and track your progress. Kanbanize provides access to advanced analytics charts and forecasting models. You only have to include Analytics to your subscription plan.
The Analytics works per board and presents 5 categories: Cycle Time, Throughput, WIP, Flow, Forecasting, each available as a tab item on the page. Click on a tab button to view the charts for each of the respective metrics. The greatest advantage of this feature is the option to display combined Analytics for multiple Workflows on a certain board. The system supports flexible filtering, which allows focusing on a smaller portion of data for in-depth analysis.
Here is the distribution of charts in the 5 categories:
(2) Track your Throughput metric using a standard Throughput Histogram or use the Run Chart if you prefer data values displayed like this.
(3) Control your Work in Progress (WIP) via Aging WIP chart or find trends and patterns using the Run Chart visualization.
(4) Check the stability of your flow and measure flow efficiency using, respectively the Cumulative Flow Diagram and the Flow Efficiency chart.
(5) Use the two Monte Carlo simulations ("How many" and "When") to anticipate how many tasks your team can finish during a predetermined time frame or when a certain number of tasks might be completed.
STEP 6: Automate your Process via Business Rules
The Business rules are automations that trigger an action that you define (create a card, move a card, update a card, send a notification, call web service, etc.) when a certain event occurs.
A typical example would be to automatically move a card to a particular column or to send an email notification when the card's deadline is this week. Using Business rules is an easy way to automate your processеs. To see more examples, please follow this link.
All Business Rules are available under the Administration Panel of your account.
STEP 7: Invite your team members and manage existing users
When you are ready with the initial Kanbanize setup, you can start inviting your team members to join the account. The User Management tab in The Administration panel is the area where Account Owners manage new and existing users and their roles and privileges.
From the Administration panel, you control not only user management but also:
- Business rules (described in step 6)
- Integrations, which includes:
- Email integrations with Kanbanize. With the email integration, you can transform your Kanban Board into a ticketing system and get all your emails as cards.
- Integrations with other systems.
- Card Management (blockers, stickers, tags)
- Security & Audit
If you need any help, you can find more guides in our Knowledge base or get in touch with our support and customer success teams. If you are on a trial and you need a demo, please fill in the form and request it. To get more information about the Kanban concept, please visit our resource page.