Visualize your Work and Workflow with Kanban Boards in Jira Software


If you think your team could fix bugs and release builds faster, then I’d strongly recommend using Jira Kanban boards. A Kanban board is a visualization tool that enables teams to track and optimize workflows. The board tracks all work items in columns that correspond to workflow states, such as To Do, In Progress, and Done. This provides more flexibility in terms of planning and execution. Instead of sticking with time-based sprints in Scrum, your team’s work will continually be delivered in Kanban.

Why use Kanban in Jira?

Kanban is used to improve your process, it is designed for teams that are more flexible and are comfortable with tracking their own progress. It is designed for a team that is systematic and knows the roles of each member. When using Kanban in Jira you will be able to utilize the entire Atlassian suite. You can keep track of your team’s progress in Jira, keep documents in Confluence, and manage your code repository in Bitbucket. Therefore you can easily manage your projects in one ecosystem.

Creating your Kanban Project in Jira

Create Jira Project

When you log in to Jira, you can choose to create a project. In the project type selection, make sure to select the Kanban software development project. After creating the project, your team’s Kanban board will be the first thing you see. This is where your team will keep track of the work and progress.

Create Jira Kanban Board

Configuring your Jira Kanban Board

Jira Kanban board setting

The Kanban project has a standard workflow template with Backlog, Selected for Development, In Progress, and Done. You can configure your Kanban board in the board settings by clicking the ellipses in the top right of the screen. In there, you can edit the number of columns, add status, add version, change the labels, etc. Once you’re done configuring your Kanban board, you can start adding items to your Backlog.

Adding Jira Issues to your Backlog

Create Jira issue on Kanban Board

Click on the Create button then select an issue type, make sure you are on your project. Start adding Tasks, Bugs, and Stories. When creating an issue, it is best to keep the summary simple, provide comprehensive details, and descriptions. You can even attach files and video recordings for bug replication.

Things to Consider when Creating a Jira Issue:

1. Make sure the summary is easy to read and concise.

You don’t want to overwhelm your teammates with words when you can just go straight to the point.

2. Select the issue type properly, or it will cause confusion between your team.

When you create a ticket, make sure you select between Task, Bug, or Story. This is necessary for visibility, if an item is mislabeled then you would have to delete the existing ticket then create another one.

3. Describe the work or issue properly to save time,

Be as detailed as possible, this will prevent the assigned person from flooding the comments with questions.

4. Attach documents, screenshots, or videos that will speed up your process.

In Jira attaching a recorded video, attaching documents, and sending screenshots of a bug report is very easy to do. This helps the team diagnose the issues faster.

5. Assign an item to the correct person, especially when reassigning or reporting a bug.

If an item is not assigned properly then it would not notify the assigned person, therefore affecting the pace of the team.

6. Choose an appropriate priority level. This is critical for QAs to do so that developers see the issues they can immediately prioritize which bugs to fix.

When a review is needed for pending issues, priority labels are the first to look at by developers. This enables them to categorize and prioritize the issues.

Create Jira issue to backlog

After creating an issue you and your team can now start updating your Kanban tickets, whether changing the status of the ticket or reassigning them to another team member when you’re done with your chunk of the work. Your board should look similar to this when items are added to the board.

Jira Kanban board swimlanes

For more information, check out this guide to Jira swimlane best practice.

Issue Tracking in Jira

Jira Software Project view

When a team is about to release a build, it is very important to keep track of pending or new issues. Making sure bugs are fixed before a release is critical in software development. In Jira Software you can easily keep track of issues that are labeled as bugs. This increases the visibility of your workflow and raises urgency in your development team where appropriate.

Generating Reports in Jira

Jira burnup report

Team meetings are necessary for a team. This is where workmates share their work, provide updates, and give reports. In Jira Software, you can quickly generate different diagrams that show the team’s progress. This cumulative flow diagram shows the team’s progress over some time. The chart will show a bottleneck or an increase in the number of issues or backlogs that are behind. Overall this will help the team improve their progress and raise awareness to any team member that is falling behind.

Add Atlassian Marketplace Apps to Jira

Jira Atlassian Marketplace Staff Picks

If you’re looking to improve your Jira experience further, then you can integrate apps to your project. In your Jira project, click “Apps” then select “Find new apps” you will be redirected to the Atlassian Marketplace where multiple plugins are available. I suggest using “Git Integration for Jira”. This plugin allows your Jira project to track commits into your code repository. Furthermore, it will improve the tracking of Kanban tickets. Tasks can now quickly point out to a specific commit or branch, therefore improving the team’s process.

In Conclusion

Kanban boards are easy to create and use, so when do you exactly use a Kanban board? If your team has been working together for a while and is looking to improve your process and visibility then using the Kanban board in Jira will prove beneficial. The simple and easy, yet packed full of Jira features that will boost your team’s success.

Chris Cooke CEO Old Street Solutions

Although Chris was always pretty good at rugby (being in his words “f***ing massive”) he was much more comfortable hanging out with computers than jocks. After growing up watching his dad work far too hard, he decided he wanted to have his own business and do things differently.

Chris founded three successful startups in Thailand: one was a Scuba Diving School/ Eco-Tourism company dedicated to saving turtles. Once he’d saved enough turtles, he moved back to the UK to pursue his dreams in software.

It was while working for the Atlassian Platinum Solution Partner Clearvision that Chris met Jacek. The two decided there was a gap in the market for easier-to-use Atlassian tools for Jira and Confluence users who don’t have a clue how to code (of which there are many).

“If we’re not making mistakes, we’re not trying hard enough.”