10X: Kanban Teams Overview (Jira Align Labs)

For teams that don’t use sprint timeboxes as part of their development practices, we offer a new type of team in Jira Align: Kanban teams.

Kanban differs from scrum practices in that sprints are not used. Instead, work is developed and released continuously. The team meets regularly to set priorities, and the next top-ranked item is pulled into development as soon as the current work is done. Larger program increment containers are still used to coordinate development with Agile teams that use scrum or other sprint-based methodologies. Jira Align supports a mix of scrum and kanban teams working together in the same PI.

Create a Kanban team

Kanban teams are created in the same way that Agile teams are created. Navigate to the Teams page and select the Add Team button. Once you’re in the new team slide-out panel, set the Type drop-down to Kanban.

Understand Kanban team settings and measurements

There are a few settings and values unique to Kanban teams.

Throughput

Throughput represents the average number of stories a team moves into the Accepted state each week. Throughput is used to group items in the backlog into weekly buckets on the Team Room page, plot out estimated deliveries on the Roadmap, and more.

When creating or editing a Kanban team, you can choose automatic calculation — based on the most recent 5 weeks of performance — or override the calculation and enter a value manually.

Override is useful for mature teams that known their current output, but are new to Jira Align.

Automatic Estimates

Enable the Auto-populate Estimate toggle in a team’s details slide-out panel to automatically apply the specified value to stories created by or assigned to the team.

Kanban teams are generally more concerned with story count completed, and not number of points or size. The automatic estimate ensures all stories are sized the same.

Other key terms

These terms display on team and program pages that Kanban teams access:

  • Cycle Time: The average number of days for a team to complete a story; from the In-Progress to the Accepted state.
  • WIP: Stands for Work-In-Progress. The number of stories and defects currently being worked on.

Understand page and work item differences

When you’re working with a Kanban team, there will be some different results in common team rooms, program views, and reports:

Team Room

The sprint selection drop-down has been removed from the page. If a sprint is selected for filtering in the Configuration bar, that choice will be ignored.

If no program increment is selected, or if multiple program increments are selected in the Configuration bar, a drop-down will display with the list of available PIs, filtered by the kanban team’s program. You must select a valid PI to view data on the page.

The list of work items in the center of the page displays work grouped by status: Accepted, In-Process, and Week of weekly buckets. Future work is put into each weekly bucket based on the team’s throughput, in priority order. New teams will see a general section named Backlog until their throughput is set or calculated.

The Metrics card on the page displays Kanban metrics:

  • Cycle Time
  • WIP
  • Throughput
  • Number of accepted stories, instead of story points.

The Objectives, Impediments, Dependencies, Chat, and Defects sections display data by program increment instead of sprint.

The burndown chart found at the top of the main work section has been replaced by a cumulative flow chart. This chart shows the flow of work through states for the entirety of the PI.

The Start Sprint, Complete Sprint, and Reports buttons are removed from the page.

Program Room

When viewing all teams in the Program Room, some areas may not include Kanban team data. These areas will display a warning icon when excluding Kanban teams.

When viewing a Kanban team, the Progress card will display the team’s throughput. Completed story data will also display as story count instead of points.

Sprint-specific cards have been removed from the display and available configuration:

  • Team Progress
  • Runway
  • Program Increment Load
  • Team Load
  • Iterations

Program Board

Warnings for Planning Issues correctly take into account stories associated to Kanban teams. For example, you would not receive a warning that a story associated with a Kanban team needs to be assigned to a sprint.

When viewing a feature quick view slide-out panel, related stories with Kanban teams will show a Target Completion date instead of a sprint. This target date is derived from the team’s throughput and story priority.

Dependencies related to Kanban teams will display on the board in the sprint column that best matches the needed by date.

Backlog

All work items are filtered by program increment instead of sprint. Any sprint filters set in the Configuration bar are ignored.

The Sprint field has been removed from the Choose Columns menu.

Roadmap

Kanban team stories will render on the Roadmap page based on the team’s throughput and story prioritization.

Stories

Stories cannot be assigned to a sprint once they are associated with a Kanban team.

Stories assigned to Kanban teams cannot be split or dropped. Previously split stories may be assigned to a Kanban team.

If selected in team settings, stories assigned to a Kanban team will be given a default estimate value. If a story has previously been estimated, that original estimate will persist.

Dependencies

When a Kanban team is associated with a dependency, the Needed By and Committed By fields support the entry of a date instead of a sprint.

Impediments

When a Kanban team is assigned to an impediment, the Sprint field in the details panel will change to Program Increment.

Meetings

Kanban teams do not have access to sprint meetings and are not selectable from the Team Meetings page. This includes the Daily Standup.

Tasks

When entering time worked for a task, the range of available dates corresponds to the program increment related to the task.

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