InfoQ Article: Lean Kanban Boards for Agile Tracking

| by Deborah Hartmann Preuss Follow 0 Followers on Aug 25, 2007. Estimated reading time: 1 minute |

Agile projects are not the only ones to use “big visible charts” - Lean manufacturing, for example has its Kanban Boards. In Japanese "Kanban" means, loosely translated, 'card or sign'. In a Lean production system, each Kanban card is "pulled" into the system only when the work represented by an "in progress" card is retired.  In this InfoQ article, Visualizing Agile Projects using Kanban Boards, Kenji Hiranabe explore visualizations currently used in Agile, then proposes using Kanban Boards to organize three viewpoints (Time, Task, and Team) to track project status and enhance collaboration.

The visualization tools he talks about are:

  • Kanban Boards. Use a card as a token (Kanban) of a task, story, feature and stick them to a timeline (board). There are several levels of granularities, in three main combinations:
    • Release-Feature,
    • Iteration-Story and
    • Daily-Task
  • Burndown Charts. Count the number of Kanbans (backlog tasks) and track it in a timebox to show the trend of work accomplished. There are also several levels of granularities.
  • Parking lot Charts. Summarize the top-level project status.
  • Calendars. There are a lot of variations of using calendars to show project status or plan.

In the article, Hiranebe introduces a uniquely Japanese addition to status tracking: the Niko-Niko Calendar, on which team members track their mood from day to day.

Hiranabe also mentions his software tool “TRICHORD” that implements Kanban Boards to realize project visualization from the three viewpoints.

Kenji Hiranabe is a frequent blogger and has translated a number of English Agile and XP books into the Japanese language.

Read the InfoQ article: Visualizing Agile Projects using Kanban Boards by Kenji Hiranabe.

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Tracking relative to budgeted/available hours by John Rusk

Burndown (or burn up) charts can easily be suplemented to add tracking against budgeted hours. That way, they track not just the work completed, but also the effort required to complete it. Details here:

Kanban Yahoo Group by HIRANABE Kenji

David Andersen gave me a comment on Parking Lot.

Hi Kenji,

I liked the paper you gave me to read. I wanted to make a comment about the parking lot diagram. It was first introduced on the original FDD project in Singapore and was first documented in Peter Coad's 1999 book, UML Modeling in Color in Chapter 6, the chapter written by Jeff De Luca.


And he started up a new Yahoo Group about Kanban Boards.

Re: Kanban Yahoo Group by Deborah Hartmann

Looks like there's significant interest in Anderson's Kanban yahoo group, his site says "it's acquired members 80 members in only a few days," and he's looking for leads on who else is doing this kind of work.

TRICHORD has been released English Available Version. by Kondo Hiroki

Hi, I'm a member of TRICHORD Team.
We have released English Available Version on Sep.11,2007.
If you are interested in TRICHORD,Please visit our Site.

Re: TRICHORD has been released English Available Version. by HIRANABE Kenji

The above URL is wrong, should be;

Excellent article by Bonnie Aumann

I realize I am demonstrating confirmation bias here, but I really like this article's description of the connection between release, iteration and task boards. I look forward to testing out the TRICHORD software - the biggest problem I've had with existing solutions was this lack of hierarchy and association.

Kanban should be real,touchable by yongji zhang

Real kanban carry much information。I prefer its exposure. It is also a furniture for your team.

Re: Kanban should be real,touchable by Alen Balja

Ha ha ha, first time I hear about this Kanban and I just realized I've been doing this all along. To Do, Doing, Done - I had three color stickies Red, Yellow, Green. When green was pasted on the feature, that meant - SHIP! Smileys, another thing, I had thumbs up, thumbs down and neutral to emotionally tag events. Good stuff.

a board based on a sharepoint blog by Bogdan Nedelcu

A blog could be a easy storage for kanban cards, as posts. Categories can be used as areas of Kanban. Add some javascript and a visual representation is also available. Find here some inspiration

Re: Kanban Yahoo Group by David David

Not only Kanban Group but also KanbanTool is gaining popularity extremely fast. For me, it's exactly what I was looking for :)

Online Kanban Tools by Sergei Podbereschi

For online Kanban tools check the upcoming kanban tool - smartQ ( ). Designed to fit any industry.
Works well when you have distributed teams, need history records, conversations recorded, etc.

Kanban Tools by Sudheer Raju

Great article. Glad to have come across this ever after 2 years of publish.

Here comes all Kanban tools list....

Parking Lot Charts, WIP and Parking Lot Charts by Stephen Palmer

I can confirm that Jeff De Luca ( adopted and adapted the parking lot chart from another more traditional waterfall project for the first FDD project at United Overseas Bank in Singapore in 1997. I was the development lead on that project (David Anderson was the User Interaction designer). The parking lot chart did first appear in print the Peter Coad and Jeff's book, the correct title of which is Java Modeling in Color with UML and I describe it in greater detail in A Practical Guide to Feature-Driven Development and on my website,

It is interesting to note the hierarchy of feature and user story. FDD has always used a three-level feature-list hierarchy of feature or subject areas containing sets of features for each activity containing features. In FDD features are defined at a level of granularity close to that of a typical user story IME. Features are broken down into tasks during iterations but task progress itself is not reported in any formal way; feature milestones are tracked instead ... but then FDD was designed from the beginning for a larger project and team than the typical Scum/XP 7+/-2 project teams. See also

One important concept for a Kanban board is work-in-progress limits. IMHO, it is this that makes it a true Kanban board. Otherwise, the board is little more, and probably less informative, than the old FDD feature milestone chart.

Stephen R. Palmer

Great post! by Setawut Phannara

Kenji, it's a pleasure to read your amazing post.
You introduced many tools that I never heard. I believe that many people have done something similar to Kanban Boards; however, Burndown Chart is my new visualization method. It is such a good tool to show your current status and demonstrate the rate of progress through the actual path. I have also done things called "How'd your day go?", it composes of 3 easy questions to get members' feedbacks after the day's work. I think it is similar sort of a smiley calendar. Lastly, I agree with you that graphical methods can encourage collaborative and fun among teams.

Setawut Phannara

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