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Kanban in Software Development 3: Stage Notifications

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Our summary and key takeaways

The Issue:

Derick Bailey has been wondering about the possible ways of letting the team members know when an item has reached a certain point in the development process, so that the team members responsible for the next stage know that it is available to be worked on.

Solution 1:

An easy way to resolve this is dividing each process stage into two further columns (in progress and done), so that when looking at it, it is instantly clear which items are ready to be pulled, and which are not. On top of this, each of these "pipeline" steps is kept limited by the WIP maximum number. This way the work remains transparent, and the Kanban principle of elimination of multi-tasking adds value further still.


This solution, however successful, needs not to be applied to absolutely every column of the process. The backlog, for instance, doesn't need to have a pipeline, as the importance and validity of the specific items will be decided by the product owner himself, as he places items in the backlog. The same will go for many delivery (completed) columns, since there isn't any particular work to be done (other than sending the package to the client). If however, the delivery process had consisted of more steps, then there is no reason why the addition of that extra step wouldn't be beneficial, just to make it clear which items were send and which are in the process.

Solution 2, 3 and more:

One other, very simple way to approach this is creating an extra "queue" column between the "ready for development" and "in progress of being developed" stages. Also, the division between these two stages of one step (waiting - doing) could easily be done in a way of a horizontal split (items ready to pull at the top and those still in progress at the bottom). You can also find a way in which this information is displayed on the card itself (a sign, a note, an additional sticker etc.). Whichever way suits you best, or any other method unmentioned here will be a good solution.

The overall point is, perfect the visualization of the process in a way which makes it most helpful to you.

Read our article on Visual Management Boards »