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

  • You must connect to a project. If you don't have a project yet, create one.
  • You must be added to a project as a member of the Contributors or Project Administrators security group. To get added, Add users to a project or team.
  • To add work items and exercise all board features, you must be granted Basic access or higher. For details, see About access levels.
  • To view or modify work items, you must have 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.

Note

Users with Stakeholder access for a private project can't exercise these board features: add work items, drag-and-drop work items to update status, 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. For details, see About access levels.

  • You must connect to a project. If you don't have a project yet, create one.
  • You must be added to a project as a member of the Contributors or Project Administrators security group. To get added, Add users to a project or team.
  • To add work items and exercise all board features, you must be granted Basic access or higher. For details, see About access levels.
  • To view or modify work items, you must have 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.

Note

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.

  • You must connect to a project. If you don't have a project yet, create one.
  • You must be added to a project as a member of the Contributors or Project Administrators security group. To get added, Add users to a project or team.
  • To add work items and exercise all board features, you must be granted Basic access or higher. For details, see About access levels.
  • To view or modify work items, you must have 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.

Note

Users with Stakeholder access can't exercise these board features: add work items, drag-and-drop work items to update status or move to another sprint, update fields displayed on cards. They can add tasks and change task status.

Add a Kanban board

Each Kanban board is associated with a team and a work item type. For the Agile process, the three boards are Stories, Features, and Epics.

When you add a team, you add a number of 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, add a team.

To add a board to support an additional portfolio backlog, see Customize your backlogs or boards.

To add a board to support an additional portfolio backlog level, see Add a portfolio backlog level.

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. 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

  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 from the project menu

    Your Kanban board appears.

    TFS 2015, Kanban board, Agile template

Add work items

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

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

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.

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

Update status by dragging

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

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

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

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.