How to Use Kanban Boards to Track Enterprise Agility Workflow

By Doug Rose

When you have your Kanban board and cards ready, you can use them to start tracking and managing your enterprise agility workflow. To start tracking workflow, take the following steps:

  1. Place the Kanban cards in the leftmost queue to create a prioritized list of tasks that must be completed.

    This queue is typically labeled “Backlog.”

  2. Have teams draw cards from the top of the queue to the left of theirs and add the cards to the bottom of their queue as their WIP limits allow.

    Always move items from the top of the previous queue to the bottom of your team’s queue, so the highest priority item is always at the top of the queue. For example, if you have the first three items in your queue and you draw another item from the top of the previous queue, you push the existing three items to the top of your queue and add the fourth item below those three.

    This is a pull system. Teams don’t push items to the next team; they pull items from the previous team when the previous team has completed its work.

  3. Repeat Step 2 to continue moving items from the Backlog through the process, until all items that were in the Backlog are completed.

While these steps make the process appear linear, more can be going on. Teams may be adding notes to the Kanban cards, adding blockers to indicate when progress on a work item comes to a standstill, communicating with one another to coordinate their efforts, and so on. Although you can certainly run a Kanban board like an assembly line, it’s most valuable when it’s used as a communication and collaboration tool as well.