Start using your Kanban board

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Your Kanban board turns your backlog into an interactive signboard, which provides a visual flow of work. As work progresses from idea to completion, you update the items on the board. Each column represents a work stage. Each card represents a backlog item, user story, or bug at that stage of work.

Kanban board

User stories and bugs correspond to types of work items. You use work items to share information, assign work to team members, update status, track dependencies, and more.

Prerequisites

Boards are automatically created when you create a project or add a team. Each team has access to their own product and portfolio boards as described in About teams and Agile tools.

  • You must connect to a project. If you don't have a project yet, create one.
  • You must be added to a team or project.
  • To add work items and exercise all board features, you must be granted Basic access or higher.
  • To view or modify work items, your View work items in this node and Edit work items in this node permissions set to Allow. By default, the Contributors group has this permission set. To learn more, see Set permissions and access for work tracking.
  • Users with Stakeholder access for a private project can add work items and update status through drag-and-drop, but cannot update fields displayed on cards. They can add tasks and change task status.
  • Users with Stakeholder access for a public project have full access to board features just like users with Basic access.
  • You must connect to a project. If you don't have a project yet, create one.
  • You must be added to a team or project.
  • To add work items and exercise all board features, you must be granted Basic access or higher.
  • To view or modify work items, your View work items in this node and Edit work items in this node permissions set to Allow. By default, the Contributors group has this permission set. To learn more, see Set permissions and access for work tracking.
  • Users with Stakeholder access can't exercise these board features: add work items, drag-and-drop work items to update status, or update fields displayed on cards. They can add tasks and change task status.

Add a Kanban board

If you have a project, you have a Kanban board. Each project defines a default team and set of boards for that team. You only need to add a Kanban board when you want to support a new team. When you add a team, you add many team assets. A team admin can configure the assets to support the way the team works. To add a set of Kanban boards to support a new team, see Add a team.

Each team's Kanban boards are associated with one or more work item types. The association depends on the process selected when the project was created, team configurations, and process customizations. The boards defined for each process are:

  • Agile: Stories, Features, and Epics
  • Basic: Issues and Epics
  • Scrum: Backlog items, Features, and Epics
  • CMMI: Requirements, Features, and Epics
  • Agile: Stories, Features, and Epics
  • Scrum: Backlog items, Features, and Epics
  • CMMI: Requirements, Features, and Epics

You choose the board from the backlog selector as shown in the following image.

Choose board level, Backlog items, Stories, or Requirements.

To customize your Kanban boards to add custom work item types, add portfolio backlogs, or other supported options, see the following articles, depending on the process your project uses:

To customize your Kanban boards to add custom work item types, add portfolio backlogs, or other supported options, see On-premises XML process model.

Note

Both Kanban boards and Taskboards support visualizing the flow of work and monitoring metrics to optimize that flow. Kanban boards track requirements, are sprint-independent, and provide a cumulative flow chart for monitoring progress. Each sprint is associated with a Taskboard that supports tracking tasks defined for the sprint. You can monitor progress through capacity charts and the sprint burndown chart. For guidance on using the Taskboard, see Update and monitor your Taskboard.

Open your Kanban board from the web portal

Your Kanban board is one of two types of boards available to you. The other is the sprint Taskboard. Kanban boards track requirements, are sprint-independent, and provide a cumulative flow chart for monitoring progress. Each sprint is associated with a Taskboard that supports tracking tasks defined for the sprint. You can monitor progress through capacity charts and the sprint burndown chart. For guidance on using the Taskboard, see Update and monitor your Taskboard. For an overview of the features supported on each backlog and board, see Backlogs, boards, and plans.

  1. Check that you selected the right project, and select Boards > Boards. Then select the correct team from the team selector menu.

    Open your Kanban board

    To select another team's board, open the selector. Then select a different team, or select the home icon Browse all team boards option. Or, you can enter a keyword in the search box to filter the list of team backlogs for the project.

    Select another team's board

    Tip

    Select the star icon to make a team board a favorite. Favorite artifacts ( favorite icon) appear at the top of the team selector list.

  2. Check that you selected Backlog items for Scrum, Stories for Agile, or Requirements for CMMI as the backlog level.

    Select product backlog level, Backlog items, Stories, or Requirements

To switch to the product backlog, select Stories backlog. To switch to a Taskboard, see Update and monitor your Taskboard.

  1. Check that you selected the right project, and select Boards > Boards. Then select the correct team from the team selector menu.

    Open your Kanban board

    To select another team's board, open the selector. Then select a different team, or select the home icon Browse all team boards option. Or, you can enter a keyword in the search box to filter the list of team backlogs for the project.

    Select another team's board

    Tip

    Select the star icon to make a team board a favorite. Favorite artifacts ( favorite icon) appear at the top of the team selector list.

  2. Check that you selected Backlog items for Scrum, Stories for Agile, or Requirements for CMMI as the backlog level.

    Select product backlog level, Backlog items, Stories, or Requirements

To switch to the product backlog, select Stories backlog. To switch to a Taskboard, see Update and monitor your Taskboard.

  1. To view your Kanban board, open your project from a web browser. Select Work > Backlogs > Stories, and then select Board.

    Open Portfolio Kanban board, features

    If you don't see Work, your screen size might be reduced. Select the three dots ( ) icon. Then select Work > Backlogs > Board.

    Open Work when screen size is reduced

  2. To select another team, open the project and team selector. Select a different team, or select the Browse option.

    Select another team

    Your Kanban board appears.

    Kanban board, Agile template

Add work items

To add a work item, select the plus sign, enter a title, and then press Enter.

Add a new item on Kanban board, new nav

Add a new item on Kanban board, new nav

The system automatically saves the work item with the title you entered. You can add as many work items you want by using this method.

To add a work item, select the plus sign, enter a title, and then press Enter.

Add a new item on Kanban board, prev nav

The system automatically saves the work item with the title you entered. You can add as many work items you want by using this method.

To add details to any work item, select the title. Or, you can directly modify any field that displays. For example, you can reassign a work item by selecting Assigned To. For a description of each field, see Create your backlog, Add details and estimates.

Note

You can only assign work to a single user. If you need to assign work to more than one user, add a work item for each user and distinguish the work to be done by title and description. The Assigned To field only accepts user accounts that have been added to a project or team.

To customize the set of fields displayed on the card, see Customize cards.

Update the status of a work item

As work completes in one stage, update the status of an item by dragging it to a downstream stage.

Note

Completed or closed work items don't display on the backlogs and boards once their Changed Date is greater than 183 days (about a half a year). You can still list these items using a query. If you want them to show up on a backlog or board, then you can make a minor change to them which resets the clock.

Note

Completed or closed work items don't display on the backlogs and boards once their Changed Date is greater than a year old. You can still list these items using a query. If you want them to show up on a backlog or board, then you can make a minor change to them which resets the clock.

Note

Users assigned Stakeholder access aren't about to use the drag-and-drop feature to update status.

Kanban board, Agile template, update status of work item

Update fields from the card

You can quickly update a field or reassign ownership directly from the board. If the field you want to update isn't showing, then customize the card to show it.

Kanban, assign items

Filter your board using keywords, field values, or tags

You can apply filters interactively to focus on a subset of work. For example, you can filter the board to focus on work assigned to at team member for a specific sprint. To start filtering, choose Filter . To learn more about applying filters, see Interactively filter your backlogs, boards, and plans.

Enable kanban field-based filtering, earlier versions

For example, here we filter for all items assigned to Jamal and Raisa.

Kanban board, Filter on assignment field

Kanban board, Filter on assignment field, earlier versions

Invite others to work on your Kanban board

All members of a project can view and contribute to your Kanban board. To invite users to contribute, copy the URL of your Kanban board and email it to people you want to invite to your project.

Browser URL for the Kanban board

Browser URL for the Kanban board

Browser URL for the Kanban board

To add users to your project, see Add users to a project.

Try this next

To get the full power of the Kanban board, configure it to map the flow of work and set WIP limits for your team. To configure the Kanban board, you must be added as a team administrator or be a member of the Project Administrators group. If you're the organization owner or creator of the project, then you have these permissions.