It’s the Little Things that Count!
One of the core Kanban principles is working with small batch sizes for achieving greater flow and output. In the context of software, this means small and continuous releases where you shorten the release cycle for faster time to market.
As a development manager, it means that you need to continuously keep track of work being completed against the cards on the board and look for card updates from time to time. For any reasonable sized team, that can mean tracking a lot of cards on the board at any time. In spite of the visual nature of a Kanban board and the ability to track card movement, one can have their hands full trying to see what changed, what got updated, what code got checked in, etc.
At Digité, we have done a number of things to make it easier for distributed teams to track work and updates and changes on the Kanban board!
Tracking the Chatter!
We introduced a feature to highlight newly added (in the past 24 hours) comments on a card by turning the Comments icon green in color. Older comments are shown in orange.
Highlighting the Board Changes
To help with this task, we have built a feature called ‘Board Activity (log)’ shown below (click on the image to enlarge).
The Board Activity log captures the daily card updates/ movements on the board and helps you highlight the cards that were updated or moved in a specified time period, listing them on the right side of the Kanban board. This helps the Dev Manager understand work completion details from say Development to Automation or Automation to Review.
It not only lists the cards on the right, where you can look at individual changes/ updates to the card in a step-wise fashion, it also greys out the Kanban board and only highlights the cards that appear in the Activity log window.
Hooked on SVN!
If you use Subversion (SVN) as your code management repository, we have another neat trick for you. We implemented a small piece of code where using an SVN hook, we can update the card comments when anyone does an SVN commit. All they need to do is simply mention the Project Id and Card Id in the check-in comments as shown below:
The comments shown above, as well as the file details, get pushed into the card’s comments as shown below. The Card comments icon turns green in color and all you need to do is mouse-over such comments to get all the code commit details, as shown below:
This feature is so useful during the Daily Standup! Right before the call, the development manager can get to know in just one glance whether there are any updates on the card! Saves you all the time of going into SVN, navigating to each file and checking the details and comments of each of the changed files.
In summary, there is a lot happening in a product development team every day – and you need to stay on top of them to make sure you are one step ahead. These little features of SwiftKanban help me keep track of the important stuff!
So, how does SwiftKanban helps you manage your team’s work? Do share your stories below in the comments section, we’d love to know!
If you would like to try SwiftKanban, signup for a FREE 30 Day Trial.