Agile PM Process Grid-3.16 Kanban Boards


In John Stenbeck’s book “PMI-ACP and Certified Scrum Professional Exam Prep and Desk Reference”, he creates an “agile project management process grid” which describes 87 processes used in agile project management.   These processes are divided into five process groups (Initiate, Plan, Iterate, Control, and Close), which are analogous to the five process groups in traditional project management, and seven knowledge areas which can be mapped, more or less, onto the ten knowledge areas in traditional project management.

I am now covering a group of agile processes that support the “adaptive planning” knowledge area that are completed during each iteration of the project.   Process 3.17 is Task/Kanban Boards, and I am splitting up the discussion of this process into two parts; yesterday’s post was about Task Boards, and today’s post will cover Kanban Boards.

In yesterday’s description of a Task Board, there were four categories represented by vertical columns that the stories are placed in.   Each of the three categories after the initial backlog represents a “value stream”, where value is added at each stage of the stream.

  • Backlog
  • Development
  • Test
  • Completed
The Kanban board adds a “queue” column after the first component of the value stream called “Development”, and after the second and third component of the value stream called “Test” and “Completed”.
The purpose of the Kanban board is to limit WIP (those stories are being worked on) and to increase throughput, the number of stories that the team can complete in a day.   How this is done is to take each “value stream” column and to put a “WIP Limit” on it.   Then the Kanban board can be monitored to see if there are any components of the value stream that have more stories in it than the “WIP Limit” allows.   This shows where the bottlenecks are and shows where the team needs to focus its resources on in order to overcome them.   The Kanban board doesn’t tell HOW to shift the resources; that is up to the team.
A crucial component of the Kanban boards is the “Test” column, which is where the quality of the feature is tested internally before being shipped to the customer for validation.   The process that helps with the flow of work in this “Test” area is 3.16 Test-Driven Practices, and that is the subject of the next post.
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