kanban

Using Salesforce Kanban Boards for Project Management

10 min read6th of October 2021

In an ideal world of project management, tasks start, follow a linear progression to completion, and then are closed out so that the project team can move onto the next task. However, many tasks do not follow a linear progression to completion, but rather a more fluid approach, such as a feedback-loop, before they are completed. 

From the Japanese word meaning signboard or billboard, Kanban is now widely used in Project Management, particularly in the Agile methodology, to track the completion of the task, while following a more fluid approach to task completion. Let’s delve into the overview of Kanban and how to use it with Cloud Coach.

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What are Kanban Boards?

The Kanban board is a visual, often colorful, representation of the status of tasks that a team is working on for a project. It is sometimes referred to as a Huddle Board. While both Kanban and Huddle boards are used as visual control processes, a huddle board is more likely used in a department-level setting for improving processes for the department, rather than tracking the status of tasks. However, some people still use the two terms interchangeably. In this article and in Cloud Coach, we will be referring to the Kanban Board for managing projects and tasks.

The Kanban board has a few defining elements that it follows: Kanban Cards, Process Steps (Columns), and Board Process (Workflow).

Kanban Cards

Cards, tasks, tickets, stickies. This element has many names, but they all follow the same principle: one item per card. This item can be a task or a user story. On the card, there can be any type of information. If a physical card is being used, the amount of information on the card is limited, but a digitized version can have lots of information that can be pulled up by a single click.

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Process Steps (aka Columns)

These steps guide the overall process or the workflow. They can be as simple as “Not Started,” “In Progress,” “Review,” and “Completed.” Or they can accommodate more steps to better fit your process. These steps can be defined in greater or lesser detail, depending on the process you’re following.

Board Process (aka Workflow)

Each board can have its own process that it follows to keep track of how a task or project is progressing. The card is moved from one step to another as it completes each step, following the current process. If it needs to go back to one of the previous steps, it is simply moved to the appropriate step. For example, if a card was under review, but there were notes made to change the work done, the card is moved back to “In Progress,” and the changes are implemented accordingly.

When to use a Kanban Board

The Kanban methodology is great for tasks that follow a more fluid process or workflow, and may undergo multiple iterations of the process prior to completion. Projects that only use the Kanban method tend to be shorter in duration and have multiple, shorter iterations prior to delivering the project. The software development community frequently uses this methodology because of the amount of testing, review, and rework required to deliver the final product. 

There are hybrid approaches, such as Water-Scrum-Fall or Wagile, where the Kanban method is used for a particular task or phase of a project. The project still follows a longer, more strict timeline, but the tasks are approached with more agility and flexibility.

Setting up for Salesforce Kanban in Cloud Coach

Cloud Coach has many different standard board processes that users can use for their Kanban projects and tasks. If needed, a Cloud Coach Admin on your team can create additional board processes that best suit your workflow. 

Note: If you do not have access to the Cloud Coach Admin tab, contact your designated Cloud Coach Admin to create or edit a Board Process.

To do this, head over to the Cloud Coach Admin tab. Within the app, click the “Processes” tab. Here, you will see all of the available processes that can be edited to suit your needs, or you can create a new process (select “+ New” at the bottom of the left side panel).

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You can customize the name of the board, the business area, and the color tag set that it utilizes. 

To create process steps, go the right hand corner of the app and click the “+” icon. You’ll be able to create a grouping or a process step. Select “Process Step” and fill out the details of the step and click “Add.”

If you want to group processes visually, you can utilize groupings by selecting the color that will represent the grouping. To make the columns color coded at this time, you need to place the process steps under a grouping that has a color. Otherwise, the default color of the process step will be black.

Create or Change Kanbans on Projects

When you create a new project, you have three project methods you can base your projects on. Kanban and Water-Scrum-Fall use Kanban boards. You can select the board process you will base your project or tasks on when going through the project creation.

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If you have already created a Kanban board and it is not populated with cards yet, you can still edit the Kanban board process by clicking “Change Process” in the top right corner.

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How to use Salesforce Kanban Boards

Once you have landed on your process, you can start by creating cards through the drop down menus on any of the process steps. Populate your fields, and click “Save,” or “Save and New” if you want to create more cards under that step.

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Now that you have all of your cards, you can assign resources to the cards by going to the left side panel of the board and clicking the people logo, which will open up the board members panel. You will be able to see all of the people assigned to this board queue. If you don’t have any, you can search for members you would like to add to the board queue. 

From the queue, you can click and drag members onto cards to assign them. Their assignments will show up on their “My Day” under the “Cards” tab, where they can track and change the progress and details of their assigned cards. 

To move the cards between process steps, simply click and drag the card to the appropriate process step and you’re done!

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