Swimlanes, Analytics and More

Over the weekend, the LeanKit Kanban team updated all our beta subscribers with a set of new features, including the ability to divide lanes into horizontal sublanes, and to nest sublanes within each other several levels deep. We’d been “dogfooding” these features for some time, and had recently exposed them to a set of “alpha” users as well. Still, there’s so much new stuff in this release that we do expect to find a bug or two. Please let us know using our UserVoice forum (which is also the engine behind the built-in bug reporting within the application), and we’ll try to turn issues around quickly.

Let’s take a quick tour of all the new stuff….


Improved Layout

You’ll notice that the Board List and other administrative UI pages now stretch to fill the width of your browser window. If you’re at a lower resolution like 1024×768, you may not notice this at all, but those of you with larger high-res monitors will. We’ve added a filter and sort for kanban boards in the list, and a link to the online help documentation to the menu bar.adminui


The “Options” Tab

We’ve added a third tab to the board, above Backlog and Archive. Some of the sidebar menu icons have been moved onto this new tab, and if you open it up, you’ll see our new “Filter” feature. The Filter will allow you to search for cards by Title, Due Date and Assigned user.

When filtering the board, the cards that don’t match your search will “fade out” into the background, highlighting the cards that match. From the options tab, you can also choose to completely hide cards that don’t match. The Options tab will be highlighted when a Filter is applied to remind you that not all Cards might be showing. Your Filter setting will be remembered across all of your sessions so you don’t have to reapply them every time you access the application.

Opening the Options Tab

Opening the Options Tab

Board with Filters applied

Board with Filters applied


Horizontal Swimlanes

The largest feature that we have implemented for this release is the ability to divide the your board horizontally and vertically with the ability to nest Lanes within Lanes. We feel this will give teams tremendous flexibility in the way that they map out their value stream. (Our team internally has been absolutely loving this capability). We know that every team has a preferred method for defining their value stream and we hope that our implementation provides the flexibility to meet all these needs. Please let us know if there is a setup that you can’t seem to get working and we will be happy to help you out or work on implementing the capabilities that will allow that situation. With this capability, projects and teams can divide the Board by MMFs, by Teams, by Class of Service, or any way that benefits you. Boards can be divided horizontally across the entire board or horizontally within a certain section of the Board. Below are few examples of layouts that you could implement.

Here are some examples of how a board’s value stream might be mapped:

Board with Feature Breakout

Board with Feature Breakout

Divided By MMF

Divided By MMF

Swimlanes For Team Responsibility

Swimlanes For Team Responsibility

Project Board based on Class of Service with WIP Rollups (Includes planning Backlog)

Project Board based on Class of Service with WIP Rollups (Includes planning Backlog)

Inline Editing

As with the previous releases of LeanKit Kanban, we have maintained the ability to do inline editing of the Boards layout. This allows for a more WYSIWYG experience when defining your value stream. To support the new swimlane capabilities, we have added some new options within the edit mode. Check out our Online Documentation for a run through how to use these options.

Check out all the cool stuff you can do when editing a lane:

LaneEditHelp

Inline Editing

Inline Editing

Edit Backlog and Archive

Edit Backlog and Archive

Backlog and Archive Splitting

Not only do we allow you to split the active Board Lanes horizontally, but we also now allow the Backlog and Archive to be divided. With this capability, you can manage upcoming iterations, define long term Wish-lists, or whatever you can imagine, all within the Backlog. The Archive could be divided up to show work items that have been completed or those that have been discarded. The options are unlimited.

Here are are couple of examples that might give you some ideas:

Split Backlog

Here is an example of how a Backlog might be divided.

Split Archive

Here is an example of how an Archive might be divided.


Revamped Analytics

Along with the increased flexibility and capabilities that horizontal swimlanes provide, we have completely revamped our Board analytics to ensure the you have the right information at your fingertips to assist you in making the correct decisions and ensuring that you are getting the greatest level of throughput from your process. We have provided you with the capability to slice and dice the information from multiple viewpoints to help you extract the most value from the data. Some of the new options include the ability to include/exclude Lanes, rollup child Lanes into their parent, select the starting and ending dates for the dataset, select the start and finish Lanes for calculating Cycle Time, and the ability to calculate all statistics based on the Card’s specified size instead of number of Cards. We have also added an Efficiency Diagram show trends in how efficiently work items are being processed through your system. You can find out more by visiting our online Help Documentation. We hope to provide even more diagrams in the near future so stay tuned.

Below are some screen shots to give you a peak at a few of the capabilities:

Efficiency Diagram

Efficiency Diagram

Card Distribution By Priority

Card Distribution By Priority

Cycle Time By Type

Cycle Time By Type

Cumulative Flow Diagram

Cumulative Flow Diagram


Other Improvements…

Better Standardized Security Administration

We attempted to provide better standardization concerning security within the Organization and within the Boards. The UI does a better job of hiding the actions that can’t be performed by a user. For a security permissions matrix visit our Online Help Documentation

Many Usability Improvements

We continue to refine usability aspects of the application. Expect a lot more usability focus in the near future.

Numerous Bug Fixes

We fixed a lot of the annoying little bugs crawling around. As we mentioned before, please let us know if we introduced any new bugs so that we can address those quickly.


Thanks for your interest in LeanKit Kanban and if you haven’t already, please sign up for a free account (1 board and 5 users) to give us a test run.the LeanKit Kanban team

Chris Hefley

Chris Hefley is a co-founder of LeanKit. After years of coping with “broken” project management systems in software development, Chris helped build LeanKit as a way for teams to become more effective. He believes in building software and systems that make people’s lives better and transform their relationship with work. In 2011, he was nominated for the Lean Systems Society’s Brickell Key Award. Follow Chris on Twitter @indomitablehef.

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